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Life insurance and retirement for the Boomers

This is, of course, a nonsensical title. People do not choose when they are born. It is pure accident whether people are born into a time of low or high birth rates. Right now, the birth rate is only just enough to maintain the population at its current levels. Even so, the unemployment rate among the young remains stubbornly high. The reason is that too many Boomers are staying in their jobs. Go back a few years and people were lining up to retire from 55 onwards. This was great for the young because there were always enough jobs. Now times are tough for everyone. This forces us to look in more detail at the changes in the job market and its implications for life cover. If you go back to the 1950's, the job market was dominated by men. Women were expected to marry and have children. This division of labor was very convenient because it always ensured enough work to go round. There were a large number of low-skilled jobs for the women before they married and after the children were grown up. The rest went to the men, regardless of ability. The key factor was the lack of any automation. Before the computers came along, every job required hands and a brain to tell them what to do. Then there was a slow change as technology sneaked into the workplace. Low-skilled jobs disappeared or could be managed by a fraction of the previous number of employees.

A further feature was offshoring. As companies looked for ever more profit, they moved their labor-intensive jobs to countries where the wages were lower. Suddenly, there were not as many jobs around. Now we are dealing with the fallout from the recession. One of the first results was everyone who had 401(k) portfolios was looking at big losses as the stock market crashed. Then companies began looking at their retirement packages. Many realized they were faced by a workforce that was going to live longer and make ever larger claims for medical expenses during retirement. The result was the decision to cut the pension benefits and, where life cover had been part of the remuneration package, to refuse to continue paying the premiums. Overnight, Boomers found their security removed. They had been planning an early retirement based on a good nest egg saved in the 401(k). Now many are planning to keep on working for as long as possible.

Except, as the technology develops, many Boomers now find they no longer have the skills to do even the simple tasks relying on using the latest packages and apps. This should be good news for our young, but they find themselves in competition for those jobs with people all around the world. With so many jobs now based on teleworking, employees can be based anywhere there is an internet connection. Sadly, the unions have lost their power to defend local jobs. Downsizing and offshoring is the new corporate reality. All this should force Boomers to review their life insurance provision. If their employers have canceled the company policy, term or permanent replacement must be found. This is the time to get life insurance quotes from all the companies to see how much it will cost to repair the damage.

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