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SEOUL - In South Korea, where the average Burberry Clothes retirement age is a relatively young 58, the golden years are often filled with hard work in coffee shops and small stores that barely provide a living.
More than half of the country's 7.1 million baby boomers -- born from 1955 through 1963 -- had made no financial preparations for retirement, a survey conducted by the country's welfare ministry found. Many of them try to support themselves by opening small businesses on Burberry Online borrowed money.
The result is a surge of heavily indebted, self-employed seniors who are at risk of defaulting on debts that average 68.95 million won per household for those in their 50s.
It's an ominous sign for a country whose population is ageing faster than any other developed nation.
"So many people, once they retire or quit from their regular paying jobs have nowhere to go but to start up their own businesses," said Kim Sun-bin, a researcher at Samsung Economic Research Institute, a Seoul based think tank.
People 50 and older represented 54 percent of South Korea's self-employed last year, up from 47 percent in 2008. Older people also carry the heaviest debt burden, approaching two times annual income for those over the age of 60.
This country of 50 million people has been dubbed "Burberry Coats The Miracle on the Han" for catapulting itself from the ruins of the Korean War into the world's 13th largest economy in one generation. It boasts huge conglomerates such as Samsung and Hyundai, making smart phones and cars that sell globally.
But small businesses employ close to 30 percent of the labor force, the fourth-largest proportion among countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. Of those, 27 percent were either in debt or unable to turn profits in 2010, according to the Small and Medium Business Administration.
"We make just enough to eat and survive," said 61-year-old Lee Jin-taek who runs a general store with his wife.
With an estimated 3.1 million baby boomers set to retire over the next 10 years, the government is mindful that the generation that Burberry Online Shop helped build South Korea into Asia's fourth-largest economy risks being cast onto the scrapheap. So far, they have failed to come up with any concrete policies.
The average monthly payout for pension recipients is less than 300,000 won and 72 percent of citizens over 65 years of age are not eligible for pensions because they did not pay into the relatively new system, set up in 1988, according to the National Pension Service.
"The baby boomer generation is one that has tirelessly run forward without time to look after themselves," President Lee Myung-bak said earlier in July as the government said it would seek to address the problem.
For all the good intentions, the government may struggle to pass legislation with a hung parliament and politicians preoccupied with presidential elections in December.
The government wants to help baby boomers keep their jobs longer, provide information and seed money for start-ups, and open a school to teach entrepreneurs.
"We are still in the process of getting budgets Burberry Online Store approved for these policies," said Lee Ji-eun, a government officer who is part of a taskforce set up by the Labor Ministry to handle the issue of manpower in an ageing society.