Part 1: Baby Boomers face realities of retirement

By KBJR News 1

May 12, 2014 Updated May 12, 2014 at 10:25 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- The largest generation of Americans in history, the Baby Boomers, is now facing the golden age of retirement.

Those who graduated high school in the class of 1967 are turning 65 this year.

Many are faced with a tough decision; are they ready to retire?

"I remember a lot of these kids aspirations, I know he became a doctor," Pam Polchow said.

As she pages through her senior yearbook, memories from the class of 1967 come flooding back.

"Pam, it looks like we are finally going to make it,” she reads from an autograph page. “It's sure been a long time, but it was fun."

Fast forward a few decades to the present.

"You really wonder when you look at this, you wonder where the heck these kids are now days,” she said.

Most of Polchow's peers are facing the same question she is. Are they ready for retirement?

"I'm retiring from my current job in September," Polchow said.

But she won't be idle and without work for long.

"What started out as just therapy, will eventually by the time I retire, be a business," she said.

Pam's Boutique of Duluth is well on its way. Her specialized booties and coats for animals, tote bags and blankets have already been picked up by a downtown Duluth store.

"I just like to see my product out there,” she said. “I like to create."

Polchow says she'll keep working after retirement to keep her mind sharp.

Many other baby boomers, like the owner of the Arrowhead Hearing Aid Center, say they'll keep working, to keep bringing in that paycheck.

"I can't afford to [retire],” J.C. Olsen said. “I didn't plan ahead."

The reality of a later retirement doesn't faze Olsen.

"They always say pay yourself first,” he said. “Put a little away and then pay all your bills. I guess I never figured that I could do that."

He says he plans to keep doing what he loves, until he's 90.

"I love coming to work every day," Olsen said. "I get to help people, and how much better does it get than that>"

One thing is certain in life, and that's change.

It's something Carol Surine is familiar with. She says she's been the sole support for her family since her husband became disabled in a car crash in the early 90s.

"It was very apparent that I should continue to work," Surine said.

After suffering an extended illness, Surine made the decision to retire a year before the golden retirement age.

"The worst part was the loss of health insurance," she said.

But by living within their means and keeping a balanced budget, Surine says she and her husband will continue to do just fine financially.

"We are careful, we get deals when we can," she said.

For many, budgeting for a lifestyle that's affordable after retirement can be a challenge.

"As a society, we habitually spend more than we save," Andy Wheeler, a CFP for Wheeler Associates said.

Wheeler sees that lifestyle practiced across generations and he says it's one of the biggest problems people face financially.

"Yes there is a retirement crisis, no it’s not solved easily," he said.

But he says there are plans in place to help ensure a financial crisis doesn't happen to you.

Jennifer Walch
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