What Will America Look Like As This Transformation Unfolds?

This phenomenon — the aging of the Baby Boomers — will transform America in a myriad of ways: economically, financially, socially, religiously, politically, and culturally. It’s going to be interesting to watch.

Perhaps the most pressing concern is the financial one. The underfunding of pensions is huge. And the increasing demands on Social Security and Medicare will be mammoth. I’m not sure how we’re going to deal with these problems. It could get ugly.

The chart also reminds me of my own situation. I’m average — average age for a Boomer, that is. I’m not at the leading edge, and I won’t be bringing up the rear. So I have a pretty good vantage point, although I’ll be more vulnerable than the point and less vulnerable than the rear to potential fiscal hazards.

Mortality also comes to mind. Statistically, it’s a long ways off, yet I know that, in real life, very few of us are the mean or median. Anything could happen at any time.

Death has a way of surprising us. I volunteer at a nursing home. Last evening I arrived and, at a place always occupied by one of the ladies I know, there was a small bouquet of flowers. My heart sank. I feared the worse. As it turned out, she had choked to death from a sandwich the previous night. I never got to say goodbye. Or to tell her how much better she made my life. That’s the way death operates.

Her parting gift to me was a simple reminder: always say goodbye and tell the person how much they mean to you.

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