Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Babyboomers apt to delay retirement

Although it's cynical, one possible bright side to the economic downturn might be that babyboomers working in the oil and gas industry now will wait longer to retire because their retirement funds lost money in the past year.

Adam E. Sieminski, chief energy economist for Deutsche Bank, jokingly raised this point during the Deloitte energy conference on Dec. 10 in The Woodlands, north of Houston.

“The crew change problem has been solved,” Sieminski said with a laugh, referring to long-standing industry concerns about how to replace numerous skilled workers who are nearing retirement age.

“My 401k is now a 201k,” Sieminski said. “My hopes of early retirement to go trout fishing have been dashed.”

As I visited with him after his speech, Sieminski told me that he actually is fairly optimistic about long-term energy fundamentals. He believes energy will help lead the way out of the recession. On the bright side, he notes that lower retail gasoline prices help boost consumer spending.

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