Friday, May 15, 2009

Retirees: "What recession?"

(Photo courtesy of ted.sali via Flickr)

Interesting report from the Pew Research Center. The study examines the recession's behavioral and psychological effects by age group, especially among older Americans. The conclusion: retirees are handling it much better than younger folk. Those surveyed who are older than 65 were less likely to have cut back on spending, suffered a loss on their retirement investments, or experienced greater stress in their families. Pew calls it a "kinder, gentler recession" for this group.

In contrast, people bucketed in the 50-64 age range feel like they're getting hosed. A large percentage of them reported greater investment losses, familial stress and spending cutbacks since the onset of the recession. This "Threshold Generation," as Pew labels them, is more exposed to Wall Street fluctuations and, not surprisingly, less confident they will build enough of a nest egg for retirement.

The study also points to other factors such as income and race that affect the results.

Maybe this is the reason why my parents are still so stinkin' happy all the time. Perhaps it's their longer-term view of the world and the acceptance that circumstances will bounce back despite the difficulties. My parents grew up during the height of World War II and still have vivid memories of hiding in bomb shelters in China. They decided to leave their families in their mid-20's and settle in a foreign country where they've lived for more than 40 years. They've lived through recessions, booms, busts, oil crises and drafts. And yet every weekend you'll find them singing, dancing and laughing with their friends.

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