Blog

Aging population – market time bomb?

  Okay, that’s a sensationalistic way to put it, but that’s certainly one of the fears people have about an the shifting demographics in North America. Last time around I looked at how portfolio size tends to trend lower as people go past 65. All things being equal, the older the population gets, the more money that is going to be pulled out of the market. Question is, at what point does the ‘market time bomb’ thing go from sensationalism to reality – or does it?
This is the first in a series of blogs about the way that demographics are going to affect your investments. Yes, I know there has been a lot written on the topic, and most of us know the basic theory. The boomers poured a lot of money into the markets over the past couple of decades, and they made the markets go up. Now they are getting old (sorry if that term offends anyone, but the first wave of boomers is cashing in their pension checks as we speak) and they are going to be pulling the money out of their retirement accounts. This will make the markets go down. Really? Is it as simple as that?
I am fascinated by all the reaction to the Tiger Mom book. You know the one, or maybe you've missed the fuss so far. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother (Penguin Press, 2011) by Harvard Professor Amy Chua is the story of how one mom, the American-raised daughter of Chinese-born parents, decided to raise her own children using 'Asian' rather than 'Western' parenting strategies. 

well maybe - but not neccessarily. See my blog for the bnn site at http://www.bnn.ca/Blogs/2011/01/07/Match-made-in-heaven-Oil-prices-and-US-recessions.aspx...

I like offbeat economic indicators - the number of boats or RVs sold, what colors are in the crayon box, etc. etc. A lot of time they tell you what is going on just as well as some of the stuffier stuff  (y'know, GDP and all that)  that we all track every day.  So I was glad to see the U.S. Census Bureau release their survey of 'movers' - people shifting households.

Now that the U.S. economy looks a just a teensy bit better (I know, I know the National Bureau of Economic Research won't say that the recession is over, but still) it's probably okay to start adding up the cost of the crisis. The Pew Research Institute has a new study out that does just that.
Okay, this one seemed a little out of sync for me: doctors would apparently be employees than free agents. Or at least that's what the New York Times says, in this article that was splashed across the front of the  business page.
Oh the labor shortage thing: it get dredged up every so often, and not without cause. We all know the theory behind it, more or less. The boomers are aging, and they are going ot exit the labor force. The generation coming up behind them was not nearly as plentiful in numbers, so they won't really be replaced. So, as long as the economy keeps growing and nothing major (immigration, labor force paritcipation rates etc.) changes, then there will be lots of unfilled jobs out there.

Here's an interesting study (by non-profit consultants Convio)  on how the different U.S. generations are doling out money to charity.  Turns out that everybody is still pretty generous in their giving (recession or no recession), but that not all charities are doing a good job in reaching the people that might write the checks. Actually, not all people give by writing checks when they give, which is part of the problem.
Baby boomers are going to retire and take down the pension system. Generation X is lazy. Generation Y is spoiled and undisciplined, and they've pretty much blown out their eardrums by having them stuffed with ipods all the time anyway.