I can’t conceptualize my parents not having sufficient residual income, or what is known as retirement income—a little less than an average salary, but after the recession and double-dip sinking of the U.S. stock market in 2008, my parent’s 401k’s were wiped out. Their separate financial advisors told them both to “ride out the storm” and even to buy larger positions in their 401k’s for greater profit compounding when the eventual stock market correction occurs.
Well, the market correction never came, the market simply flat-lined and remained dead for almost the entire year of 2009 and now it’s 2010 and the market is beginning to breath but not correct. The U.S. stock market suffered a series of strokes and most investors lost their entire life savings in s span of several months because of bad advice from their certified financial planners. It may be another five years before the total value of my hardworking parent’s retirement income is recovered. But my parents are not alone, there are millions of American baby-boomers that have been financially destroyed by the double collapse of the U.S. stock market in 2008 and 2009. The baby boomer generation for which many children had thought would be financially secure in retirement , now have fallen into the situation of looking for hand-outs from their very own adult children in order to struggle through retirement.
Some baby-boomers like my parents, have decided to return to the labor force; consulting , tutoring, mentoring young career professionals or in fact landing a nine-to-five part-time or full time job in order to recoup their lost retirement savings. There seems to be a wide disconnect between the financial numbers the media reports and the financial impact those recession numbers equate to in the real world in terms of real lifestyles transformed . My parent’s lifestyle has changed. I moved in with them and pay them rent while I build my dream home for my own family. Although, the rent is much cheaper than what I was previously paying, but at least it is financial support they can use to put into their retirement portfolio and annuities. It seems with the annuity they are secured with a lifetime payout of income although it would be significantly less.
My parents even during their professional days were always admiring how internet entrepreneurs quickly made money, but they shrugged-off the idea of developing their entrepreneurial online talents because they were traditionalists in the sense “how someone can legally earn their paycheck”. I calculated that my parents would have to work five more years in order to have enough retirement income, or some sort of average salary in order to live above the poverty line as described by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Labor and Statistics. But ask yourself, how far has America fallen that it has ruined the lives of America’s greatest generation?—the baby-boomers our very parents that are in their 60’s now that’s who I am talking about. This is the same generation that will now live out their retirement years without residual salary income. However, my parents had a twist of luck, my mother discovered E-bay. Yes, the internet has provided an additional means for my parents to recoup their retirement savings and have some for of residual income too.
My mother has opened an auction channel where she sells items for other people on Ebay. She has emptied-out their garage of old junk and made a quick $10,000 in one month. Now she and my father share the work week consulting with clients that contact them through their website to sell their unwanted but rather valuable goods. My parents now average about $6,000 a month from commissions from selling other people’s junk on Ebay! This is not counting the little part-time job they have tutoring computer literacy to people.
The resourcefulness of the baby-boomer generation really motivates me, they are creative enough to even survive the recession and make some money while having fun doing it. Unfortunately, my parents are not the standard. there are countless numbers of senior citizens well into their 70’s and 80’s who do not have the health or energy to partake in any kind of entrepreneurial endeavor and they also have suffered a bottoming-out effect of their life savings; money which paid for their senior-assisted-living arrangements and prescription medicines. Lucky for my parents the found Ebay and they have many sons to watch over them and their finances.