It’s becoming a mantra: “Baby Boomers Destroyed the Economy.” Millennials and Gen Xers are the worst off. No one can dream of saving for retirement, while the Boomers are sitting pretty with their Social Security, Medicare, and nest eggs from their cushy salaried jobs.
Marco Rubio brought it up when he campaigned in Florida:
“Everyone up here tonight that’s talking about reforms… talking about reforms for future generations. Nothing has to change for current beneficiaries.”
One Generation X author goes even further, claiming Boomers destroyed more than just the economy in his book: A Generation of Sociopaths: How the Boomers Betrayed America.
And that’s far from the end of it. Check out Our Parents Are Ruining the Entire World featured on Business Insider. Or Baby Boomers: Five Reasons They Are Our Worst Generation in Philadelphia Magazine.
Assertions like these leave a lot of us Baby Boomers scratching our heads. Aren’t we struggling like the rest of them?
Does Baby Boomer Retirement Destroy the Economy?
I think it’s true that Baby Boomers put a strain on social services because the numbers are there. It’s the largest generation ever. That’s simple math.
But casting Boomers as the only generation that got off scot-free after the Great Financial Crisis is going a step too far.
For one, only about half of the 76 million baby boomers nearing retirement are financially prepared to support themselves.
Then there’s the fact that Baby Boomers are well aware of the struggles their children and grandchildren face in today’s economy. It explains why the number of consumers 60 or older with student loan debt has quadrupled in the past decade. Grandma’s not going back to school, she’s supporting her family to do so instead of saving for retirement.
One of the tools they use to attack Baby Boomers is that we’re spending fewer dollars in the consumer economy, despite the fact that we make up 18% of all US spending. But people fail to realize that we’re trying to stock away money to support ourselves in retirement (instead of relying solely on taxpayer dollars). Or we’re helping out our kids financially. In fact, 32% of Millennials were still living with their parents in 2014. How can Baby Boomers enjoy “retirement” when they still work and have a 26-year-old living at home?
So there’s that.
Boomers are already shouldering a huge burden in today’s economy. And they’re facing the fact that they’ll live longer in retirement than any other generation before them.
Boomers are the ones supposed to be retiring NOW but don’t have enough money saved up to make it through their exceptionally long retirement. And they have between zero and 15 years to make up the difference. Talk about impossible odds.
Yes, the economy is destroyed. And no, we shouldn’t blame it all on Baby Boomers. Everyone’s struggling.
The Bottom Line
In times like these, it’s easy to pass around blame. And the truth is, the best way to help other generations is to first help yourself. Find a way to support yourself during retirement so your children, grandchildren, and taxpayer dollars don’t have to.
At this point, it sounds easier said than done. But there’s always a way. Even if you’re a Baby Boomer near retirement with a nonexistent nest egg, there’s still something you can do about it.
All you have to do is think outside the box and get innovative. Why not, considering you could easily still be around 30 years from now? Join our community to learn how to make Baby Boomer retirement a reality.
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