It is one thing to give pensions to year-olds when most people never reach that age, as was true when Social Security began in the s. It is quite another to pay people to retire in their mids when they can expect to live for nearly two more decades, as is true today. Happily, older Americans are indeed toiling longer.
The proportion of year olds still working was only About half of the baby-boomers say they plan to work past Older workers are sometimes laid off because they have racked up annual pay-rises for decades, their health coverage is expensive and their employers cannot therefore afford to keep them. But if they move to Vegas with a pot of savings and take a part-time job to keep themselves occupied, employers love them.
They've seen it all, and they're working because they really want to.
When people say America's future will look like Las Vegas, they usually mean there will be fewer jobs in manufacturing and more in services. But the city also provides an example of how and how not to cope with the boomers surging past Many boomers retire to Las Vegas because they so enjoyed holidaying there. Their spending boosts the local economy, especially if they can afford spa treatments and dog-washing services.
But as they age they will start, as a group, to demand more public services. Twenty years ago it was great.
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But now they need lots of hospitals. Equally important, they need long-term care. The apartments are stylish and step-less. As you grow frailer, you can move to an apartment with more hands-on care, but in the same complex. You get peace of mind; you won't need to move again, and even if you outlive your savings, Las Ventanas will not throw you out. The burden of caring for less prosperous old folk is split between the state and the federal government.
For Nevada, this represents a potential fiscal crisis. The state recently raised gaming and sin taxes, but Nevadans remain allergic to income tax. Nevada has plenty of spare land, most of it owned by the federal government and long idle bar the occasional nuclear explosion. Harry Reid, a powerful Nevada senator, wangled a free plot near Las Vegas for a non-profit nursing home for the poor called Silver Sky. With seed money from Harrah's, it opened this month. If we'd tried this in Massachusetts, the existing nursing-homes would have tried to stop us.
If it works, Silver Sky will be copied elsewhere. But it represents a small bite at a huge problem. It is tough to make long-term plans in Nevada; the population is fast-growing but transient, and the economy is hyper-sensitive to future changes in other states' gambling laws. Forecasts a decade ahead are no likelier to be accurate than a bet on a horse. Join them.
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More up icon. The baby-boomers retire Of gambling, grannies and good sense Nevada is the new hot spot for retirees. America should watch how it copes with the influx, and learn print-edition icon Print edition United States Jul 20th las vegas.
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