The world has changed in the last five years and millions of baby boomers find themselves faced with financial uncertainty, no matter how well they planned for the future. Coping with financial uncertainty is difficult but it is possible to be hopeful in, Jesus while living in hopeless times.
The economics woes we are experiencing now are hard on most everyone but baby boomers are particularly vulnerable to the changes that the collapse in the housing market made in the economy. Many boomers lost a great deal of money in the stock market and also, lost value invested in their homes. Small businesses, historically the foundation of the American economy, are vanishing in scores. Five years ago, it seem that most of us had everything under control, with a comfortable retirement on the horizon. That promising view of the future has changed for most baby boomers, who find themselves living daily, with financial uncertainty.
Record low housing prices are great news for first-time-home-buyers who can get financing to buy a house but it is devastating for baby boomers who invested heavily in their homes. I read headlines every day, telling me where I can buy a house for the same price as a car. In fact, some cars cost more. The news is presented as a positive but it is anything but positive for people who are at or near retirement age. Those who were thinking of selling their home for a profit and down-sizing, will have to think again. Anyone who was considering a reverse mortgage as a cushion for retirement will also, have to reconsider. Millions of boomers have worked hard, saved for the future, done all the right things, only, to have the economic rug pulled out from under them. As it now stands, 75% of baby boomers won’t be able to fully retire and many won’t be able to retire at all.
American baby boomers have enjoyed great prosperity for most of their lives. The economy was bad in the ’70′s but the problems were much different from those we are currently facing. It is not only boomers who’ve lost their future retirement who are living with financial uncertainty but those who still have money are faced with great financial uncertainty, as well. Those of us who lost everything, now have to worry about how to stay employed, well into old age. Those who have money are faced with trying to find a safe place to keep it. People have gone from investing for a profit, to investing with hopes of retaining their investment value, to investing in TIPS with hopes of retaining part of their investment value. The big worry is in the U.S. dollar losing its value. The United States has gone from the largest lender nation to the largest debtor nation, in a short amount of time. This could cause the dollar to lose its standing as the World Reserve Currency and since the dollar is tied to nothing else of value, losing that standing would make the dollar, worthless. If that happens, almost all of us will be in the same boat and times will be hard for everyone.
Inflation is beginning to rise, as the Federal Reserve Bank has digitized twelve-trillion new dollars in the last four years. Banks sitting on that money and lending very little of it has kept inflation down, for a time, but now that inflation is beginning to rise, interest rates will have to be raised in an attempt to control it. This, of course, will kill any new growth in the housing market. Inflation steals value from pensions and retirement accounts. Those who thought they had enough to retire will be faced with going back to work, in order to keep up with rising prices of goods and services. Though many in the media are painting a picture of an improving economy in this election year, they aren’t painting a complete picture. It’s true that there aren’t as many new jobless claims as in previous months but what is left out is that many people have run out their unemployment insurance and have given up looking for a job. They also, neglect to report that while inflation rises, wages are flat and in some cases have dropped. Very few people are enjoying the prosperity they enjoyed six years ago and there is little going on to indicate that people living now, will ever enjoy that level of prosperity again. If and when interest rates rise, municipal and state governments will have difficulty keeping the promises they’ve made to their employees and those who had government jobs that were safe when the housing bubble popped, will be faced with losing benefits and losing jobs. A realist knows that everyone is faced with financial uncertainty in this floundering global economy.
There is little any of us can do to change the economic situation that continues to build and looms over us. We have to do what we always do, adjust and move forward. The current economic problems are epic and too much for most of us to comprehend, fully. I do know that it is impossible to borrow, spend, and print new money at astronomical rates and not eventually, lose everything. I can’t fathom the trillions of dollars the government has spent and we owe but I can imagine what the government will do, in order to meet that debt. Taxing the rich alone, won’t be enough. The government could take all the money rich people have and they would still be faced with a huge debt. The tax man will come after all of us,rich, poor, and in-between. They will strive not to miss a penny. Unless God intervenes, in some miraculous manner, hard financial times ahead are a certainty.
If you are a baby boomer and you weren’t worried about your financial future, you probably are now! The economic future, as it presents itself now, is not very hopeful but it is possible to be a hopeful person living in hopeless times. I can get very down-in-the-dumps about what lies ahead not only, for my husband and I but for my children and grandchildren too. Our children will not have the same opportunities that baby boomers had and there are days when I wonder if anything we manage to leave them will be of any value. When I begin to search for hope, I find little, until I turn my thoughts back toward, Jesus and I’m reminded that what is impossible for people to accomplish is possible for God. I know God is able to protect, strengthen, and provide for His children. He can enable those who belong to Him to survive and even thrive in the days ahead. Life isn’t likely to return to what we it knew it as before but I know the future is filled with blessings from God. I know He has a plan for the human family and the hardship that He allows, is part of that perfect plan. I will not be a depressed and hopeless boomer! I will keep my faith and trust in God. I know He is able to sustain His people, no matter what kind of mess greedy money changers and corrupt government officials have made of the economy. When the tax man comes, I’ll remember to do as, Jesus says and give to Caesar that which is Caesar’s and give myself to God. In Jesus, I have joy that can’t be destroyed by hardship and can’t be stolen by those who have nothing and are always looking to spend what others have. Jesus is treasure with unfluctuating value and the rock to which I’ll continue to cling to as I live with financial uncertainty. Jesus said to let today’s worry be sufficient for today. No matter what the future brings, I will continue to walk with, Jesus and live for today!