Boomers: this is not your parents’ retirement

Byron Moore boomers

Byron Moore

Moore for your Money


Question: I’m getting closer and closer to retirement and I don’t see how I’m going to pull it off any time soon. My parents were not rich folks, but they retired on time and seemed to be OK. All my friends seem to be in the same boat. What’s changed?

Answer: Everything.

Life was very different for your parents, both during their working years and in retirement. On average, for people in your parents’ generation:

Life spans were shorter. Life expectancy in the US in 1900 was less than 50 years. By 1930 (around the time of your parents’ birth), it was up to about 60 years. Today, if a husband and wife retire at age 65, there is a greater than 50% chance one of them will live beyond age 90.

Lifestyles were lower. The average sized house in 1973 was 1000 square feet smaller than today’s average sized house. And it was filled with more people (remember when a family with four children was fairly common?). Think of all the technology to which most of us have become accustomed (dependent?). And for many of these, we pay either a monthly subscription, or we have to buy a new “updated” device or appliance because the “old” one no longer works (i.e., has become supplanted by something newer and cooler!).

Retirement incomes were lower, but guaranteed. A generation ago, most Americans were either covered by a pension plan that replaced their earned income after they retired, or by Social Security, which served the same purpose. Because life expectancies were shorter and the income needed to fund them was lower, both private pension plans and the Social Security system were able to guarantee the (lower) retirement incomes your parents had.

But retirement for the Baby Boom generation is turning out to be very, very different. Boomers may tend to romanticize the desirability of their parents’ retirement, but few would opt for shorter life spans, lower lifestyles or less income.

Here’s the way I see it for the Baby Boom generation now facing retirement:

Boomers’ opportunities are greater than their parents, but the guarantees are fewer. Boomers have earned more than their parents, but have also seen the risk of retirement transferred onto the worker. The only thing known for sure about today’s defined contribution 401K retirement plans is how much one puts in each year. After that, the outcome is dependent on selection and performance of investments. Boomers have discovered in recent years that isn’t the same as a guarantee.

Boomers are likely to live longer than their parents, but it may cost a lot more. Not only will a longer retirement cost more, but living longer often comes with greater medical costs.

Boomers enjoy greater wealth than their parents did, but they are free to spend it all now. By any realistic measure, boomers have enjoyed more wealth than their parents did. Bigger houses, better cars, greater travel opportunities, vast recreational and entertainment choices and technology that was the stuff of daydreams for their parents.

The good news for the boomer feeling unprepared to face retirement is that there are lots of planning and risk mitigation strategies available to them today. This is a big societal issue and lots of smart people have been thinking about how to address this problem.

My own experience is that many are closer than they had realized. For most of them,
a carefully crafted financial plan was key to putting their unique retirement puzzle together.

One thing is for sure – wistfully gazing into the rear view mirror will provide few hints about how to should proceed.

This is not your parents’ retirement.

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Byron R. Moore, CFP® is Managing Director / Planning Group of Argent Advisors, Inc. Mike Jones is Managing Director / Investment Group of Argent Advisors, Inc. Write to either at 500 East Reynolds Drive, Ruston, LA 71270 or call (318) 251-5800. This newsletter is available via email on a free subscription basis. You can subscribe by clicking here. Direct any questions, comments or suggestions to Byron Moore at or to Mike Jones at
Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by Argent Advisors, Inc.), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this newsletter will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful.
Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. The opinions of any single advisor do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Argent Advisors, Inc. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this newsletter serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Argent Advisors, Inc.. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing.
Argent Advisors, Inc. is a registered investment adviser registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Argent Advisors, Inc. is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the newsletter content should be construed as legal or accounting advice. Argent Advisors, Inc does not offer tax, legal or insurance advice. If you are a Argent Advisors, Inc. client, please remember to contact Argent Advisors, Inc., in writing, if there are any changes in your personal/financial situation or investment objectives for the purpose of reviewing/evaluating/revising our previous recommendations and/or services. A copy of the Argent Advisors, Inc.’s current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available upon request.


Argent Financial Group

Celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2020, Argent Financial Group (Argent) is a leading, independent, fiduciary wealth management firm. Responsible for more than $30 billion in client assets, Argent provides individuals, families, businesses and institutions with a broad range of wealth management services, including trust and estate administration, investment management, ESOPs, retirement plan consulting, funeral and cemetery trusts, charitable organization administration, oil and gas (mineral) management and other unique financial services. Headquartered in Ruston, Louisiana, Argent was formed in 1990 and traces its roots back to 1930.

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