The White House recently released an interesting research report, The Labor Force Participation Rate Since 2007: Policies and Implications. You can find it here.
It has some interesting things to say and some implications for the future. I’ll quote one part of it:
“In 2008, the U.S. economy collided with two historic forces. The first force was the Great Recession, the most severe economic crisis in a generation. While the economy has recovered considerably over the last five years, there is little doubt that more work remains to address some of the challenges left in the wake of the Great Recession. The turmoil of 2008 inflicted tremendous pain on millions of families, overshadowing the fact that 2008 also marked a unique milestone in U.S. economic history. That year, the first baby boomers (those born in 1946) turned 62 and became eligible for Social Security early retirement benefits.”
So it seems the government has noticed that Boomers are retiring and at greater numbers than realized, with a bigger impact on the economy than was also realized.
What isn’t noted is that this is also a group that is remaining vital, working longer, with many volunteering and doing many things that don’t necessarily reflect in direct workforce numbers…such as spending money in leisure time.
I should point out there are arguments about this and that the entire labor participation debate is complex. For one, Diana Furchtgott-Roth, former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor argues that the fact of Boomers retiring is a myth. You can read her views here. She states that labor participation rates for those aged over 55 have been rising steadily.
But for those who are looking ahead to a day when they want to and/or can retire, there are numerous tools out there that can help plan for retirement. Here are a few.
AARP Retirement Calculator
The AARP Retirement Calculator was developed for single people, married couples and domestic partners who are currently working and planning for retirement. Although it’s pretty boilerplate, this is a great place to begin. Plus, not only does it calculate whether you’re on track for retirement, it also provides some solutions if you are off track or not where you want to be.
iMaximize Social Security
The iMaximize Social Security calculator was developed to help anyone at or nearing retirement age figure out the best strategy for maximizing Social Security benefits. It’s tailored to you individually, and factors in everything from your marital status to your life expectancy. You can then receive various reports, some more extensive than others. Like with AARP’s, you’ll also get various strategies.
This is a great app for those of us who served or serve in the military. The Military Retirement app is designed for military personnel from all branches of military services contemplating retirement. Users enter personal information and the app calculates retirement pay based on rank, length of service, and many other factors specific to the military life. Users can put in various retirement dates and are shown multiple scenarios to determine what the best retirement option might be.
Of course, apps can only do so much. And these are just three of the many that are out there. But I do think they can be helpful, and a good place to start. If knowledge is power, these apps will help with the knowledge part.
July 25, 2014