In 2020, about one in six people in the United States was aged 65 or older.2 As the “boomer” generation, those born from 1946 to 1964, reach their golden years, some may wonder if older generations will be left to foot the bill a little longer than expected. And, with the threat of recession still looming, what are realistic financial expectations when weathering a cost-of-living increase?
“Boomers are kind of in charge at the moment,” says Dhar. “We’ve been earning quite a lot so we’re reasonably well-off.”
In “rich” countries the older demographic had significantly more savings in 2020 – over triple what younger demographics hold. They are forecast to hold the vast proportion of savings in 2030. However, Dhar estimates there will be a transition of wealth and control of resources in the next 20 years.
“The boomer generation is going to stop working soon (if they haven’t already),” explains Dhar. “When that happens there will be a switch from saving to spending.”
For those in the boomer generation that have worked hard in the expectation of a breezy retirement, Dhar says they may be in for a nasty surprise.
Dhar stresses that as the world ages and evolves, currently unknown solutions could reduce these problems. One possible solution Dhar highlights is the advancement of technology.
“We may get robotic care workers or artificial intelligence (AI) travel agents; when there aren’t enough people domestically to provide these services, maybe AI could be better utilized in the future,” he says. “Though it’s important to remember that many tech jobs, even those in AI require young, human input.”
A rainy recession?
Alongside a cost-of-living crisis plaguing the news, many economists agree a recession is likely to materialize following the lasting ramifications of Covid-19.
“We misdiagnosed what was happening at the end of the pandemic, in terms of its impact on the economy,” explains Dhar. “We left interest rates too low for too long and in 2023, we’re having to jack them up.”
“The only way we can get inflation down is to entertain the economy a bit and that might mean pushing into recession. So, I think a recession is still more likely than not.”
While recessions undoubtedly prompt financial concerns, Dhar expects the US will likely face a shallow recession. With regards to investments that maybe resilient in a recessionary environment, Dhar highlights fixed income assets such as bonds.
“Typically, the boomer generation will likely have portfolios heavily weighted towards bonds already,” says Dhar. “Even if they don’t return a lot of money, they will not lose a huge amount and investors will likely see an income return.”
Furthermore, Dhar believes investors may have already passed the eye of the storm.
“Portfolios really declined in value in 2022, because both bonds and equities fell. That’s not likely to happen again,” explains Dhar. “Once we are through this impending recession, I think it’s going to be a better world for investing. It’s going to be a more rational, sensible world for investment performance.”
1 Macrobond, OECD, United Nations Department, May 2023
2 United States Census Bureau. May 25, 2023
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