Planning for Life

The 2020 Census, Massachusetts, and the Baby Boomer Tsunami

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on June 24, 2021

By Harry S. Margolis

Unlike what happened after other recent censuses, Massachusetts held its own with the rest of the country over the past decade. As a result, we did not lose any congressional seats.

Massachusetts Keeps Up

While our growth rate of 7.4%, from just over 6.5 million residents in 2010 to 7 million in 2020 kept pace with the national growth rate of 7.1%, because of uneven rates of growth, we dropped from the 14th most populous state in 2010 to the 15th today, with Arizona leapfrogging from 16th to 14th. Indiana actually fell back to slots from 15th to 17th as Tennessee moved up from 17th to 16th.

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Topics: baby boomers, aging, demographics

Move Out of Your House Before It's Too Late!

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on May 25, 2021

By Harry S. Margolis


According to an AARP study, 76% of Americans age 50 and older want to remain in their own homes as they age. But they're not totally unrealistic about this. Just 46% expect to do so. Yet, the reality is that this will be difficult for most, if not for them, then for their caregivers.

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Topics: baby boomers, caregiving, healthcare, home care

Oldest Baby Boomers Turning 75: A Time to Plan

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on February 4, 2021

By Harry S. Margolis


With the Baby Boom commonly defined as beginning in 1946, the leading edge of the Baby Boomers are turning 75 this year. (Interestingly, three United States presidents, Bill Clinton, George H. Bush, and Donald Trump, were all born in that first Baby Boom year.)

But what does it mean that Baby Boomers are just beginning to cross this threshold? For them? For society? This blog post will discuss the former—planning for 75-year-olds—and a subsequent post will discuss the latter—the impact on our society of aging Baby Boomers.

A Time to Plan

Borrowing both from Ecclesiastes and from my friend and colleague Rajiv Nagaich of Life Point Law in Washington State, age 75 is a good time to plan for the second half of retirement.

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Topics: baby boomers, health-care decision making, Estate Planning

Will You Leave Your Children a Negative Inheritance?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on February 2, 2021

By Harry S. Margolis

negative-inheritance-estate-planning-attorney-Wellesley-MA-02481Will you leave your children a “negative inheritance?” The term (which was likely first used in the study of economics by Boston University Professor Laurence Kotlikoff) describes the situation in which the costs to children of caring for aging relatives outstrip any gifts or bequests they might receive in return.

Those costs may be financial, physical, and emotional, as children and other relatives give up jobs and homes to care for family members. The following posting to the is not unusual:

My parents are in their mid-eighties and continue to live at home. We sold our large home 2 years ago and moved in temporarily with my parents while awaiting the purchase of our new home. Alas I discovered how much they needed more care than just each other during our stay. My husband and I now stay at my parents home and we do not even visit our own home. I quit my job last summer to increase the level of care necessary for them. We pay all their bills except for food as well as our own bills. I am taking CNA classes so that I may continue to take care of them at home as opposed to the option of nursing home care. We are now dipping into our personal retirement savings to continue to care for them.

While a supermajority — 91% — of boomers report being “generally pleased to be helping their parents,” according to a survey by Putnam Investments, it doesn’t relive the negative effects it may have on a caregiver's own life. There are many steps parents can take to reduce, if not eliminate, the burden they may become on their children as they age. These include:

  • Doing proper estate planning so that children can step in to manage finances and make health care decisions when necessary.
  • Moving to housing that you can navigate if you're no longer able to go up and down stairs.
  • And that is close to your children so they can easily check in on you or pick you up for appointments.
  • Purchasing long-term care insurance to pay for care costs, if you can afford it.
  • Doing Medicaid planning if you cannot.
  • Having a family meeting to discuss your wishes should you become incapacitated and discussing the roles in your care to be carried out by different family members.

Taking these steps can help reduce the out-of-pocket costs of your care as well as the stress family members will experience when they have to step in. They can also help preserve and enhance family bonds, thus avoiding perhaps the worst potential "negative inheritance."


Related Articles:

Ultimate Juggling Act: Working, Raising Children, & Caring for Parents

AskHarry Podcast Episode 1: Planning Steps Seniors Can Take for their Protection

Got Questions? We've Got Answers

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Topics: long-term care planning, baby boomers, negative inheritance

Why Postponing Retirement Can Enhance Your Life

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on January 8, 2021

By Harry S. Margolis

There are many benefits to postponing retirement, including more retirement income and savings, and maintaining purpose and human contact in your life. It can also reduce the need to save, and thus the need to earn as much money. This can limit financial stress and open up opportunities for more meaningful work or to work less and spend more time doing whatever you choose, whether that's recreation, travel, or time with grandchildren.

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Topics: baby boomers, Retirement Planning

GAO Reports Home Care Workers Still Underpaid Despite New Protections

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on November 9, 2020

By Harry S. Margolis


Over my 30-plus years practicing elder law, the nature of elder care has changed dramatically, from one that was nursing home-based to one where care is largely provided at home or in assisted living facilities. (Of course, then and now, most care is provided by family members at no cost. Actually, "no cost" is wrong. No dollars may change hands, but the care is often provided at great cost to the caregiver.)

A great weakness of our "system" for providing elder care is that despite its great cost, most care providers are drastically underpaid. This has detrimental effects on them as well as on the people for whom they care due to the resulting stress and fatigue on caregivers and their turnover as they seek other ways to earn a living. One result has been the huge number of coronavirus deaths in nursing homes across the United States, but especially in Massachusetts. (See Deaths in Nursing Homes: How We Let Down Our Older Citizens.)

In an effort to ameliorate this situation, in 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor, for the first time, extended minimum wage and overtime protections to home care workers. Unfortunately, a new Government Accounting Office (GAO) study reports that this has done little improve the income of most home care workers, in part no doubt to the low federal minimum wage of just $7.25 an hour in 2020. Home care workers in 2019 earned a median income of just $400 a week—just $10 a week more than the average income for jobs with similar education and training requirements. Median means that half such workers earned less than $400 a week!

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Topics: baby boomers, home care

AskHarry Podcast Episode 2: The Benefits and Risks of Revocable Trusts and Annuities for Seniors

Posted by Estey Masten on October 22, 2020


Retired University of Pittsburg Law School professor, Larry Frolik, joins Harry again in episode 2 of the AskHarry podcast discuss the pros and cons of revocable trusts and annuities for seniors.

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Topics: baby boomers, revocable trust, annuities

AskHarry Podcast Episode 1: Planning Steps Seniors Can Take for their Protection

Posted by Estey Masten on September 24, 2020


Welcome Larry Frolik to the AskHarry podcast

The first episode of the AskHarry podcast features retired University of Pittsburg Law School Professor Larry Frolik, who sets the stage for Baby Boomers who may be starting to wonder about how to best plan for the next few decades of their lives. How can seniors set themselves and their families up for stress-free golden years?

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Topics: baby boomers, incapacity, seniors, durable power of attorney, Older Americans, HIPAA release

We're Getting Older, But Not as Old as Some Countries

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on September 9, 2020

By Harry S. Margolis


For better or worse, the world is getting older. In 1950, the median age in the United States was 30 and in Europe, 29. Today, it's 39 and 43, respectively. In the United States, it actually dropped a bit for two decades, with the baby boom, reaching a low of 28 in 1970, before increasing again.

The aging of the world population can be explained by a mixture of longer life expectancies, lower birth rates, and lower child mortality. As borne out in the following chart, these factors have affected the median age in all the world except for Africa.

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Topics: baby boomers, growth of elderly population, Aging Population

Inequality of Aging Baby Boomers to Create Huge Challenge for the U.S.

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on December 3, 2019

By Harry S. Margolis


The future of most members of the Baby Boomer generation portends poorly. They have not escaped the income and wealth inequality experienced by the rest of the U.S. population and, as a result, most will have insufficient resources to fund their later years, especially if they fall ill.

According to a study released in 2019 by Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies, the annual income the top 10% of earners over 65 has grown 55% in constant dollars over the last 30 years. That of the bottom 10% has grown 11%. The income of the median senior in the United States has grown 40% over the same period of time $31,000 to $41,000 a year (in constant 2017 dollars)

Income Disparity Among Older Households - Harvard JCHS - Older Adults Report 2019

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Topics: baby boomers

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