Preview of Your Coming Attractions

When I retired after 40 years of writing columns for the San Jose Mercury News, I figured I'd said about all I could say. Wrong. I've realized that at age 76, I'm about 10 years older than the oldest baby boomers, who are now turning 66. My very average body has had a lot of experiences in those 10 years. I've learned a lot that could be helpful to people just starting on that same path -- what to do, what to avoid, what to keep an eye on.. Consider me your canary-in-the-coalmine for the boomer generation. Tune in regularly for the heads-up advice.

Sunday, June 3, 2012


     So how do you like your new car, Boomer? Did you get a good lease on the wheels of your dreams?
     Yes, I’m just guessing that you’re driving a new car, or at least thinking about it seriously. It’s an educated guess.
     A new study by J.D. Power and AARP shows that three of every five new vehicles purchased or leased recently have been by people age 50 and older. For the Detroit Three, Boomers account for 67 percent of all new sales.
     What’s with this? Sure, your retirement account may have taken a hit during the financial downturn. Your inheritances may have been on hold because your parents are living longer. But still, you’re doing better financially than almost anybody else.  Your median income is $67,537, compared with $55,856 for the 18-34 demographic. Boomers are about the only group that can afford new rides these days. Here’s how it goes:
     Millennials, the generation born after the late 1970s, are nervous about holding onto or even getting jobs. They’re not sure if they’re ever going to be able to retire. So they’re hanging onto the cars they have and driving them until the wheels fall off.
     Boomers, you cats with cash, are mostly leasing cars for two years. If things still look good for you at the end of that period, you’ll be back for maybe another two years on a newer car.
     And my generation, the elders on fixed incomes? We bought our new cars a while ago. We’re planning on driving them until our wheels off.

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