This just in: Baby Boomers Irresponsible

You’d think by now folks would be starting to catch a clue that if you have to retire within ten years, that you might start socking it away.

Nope.  So, the rest of us had better keep saving, because the chance of these guys allowing any meaningful reform of Social Security to pass while they’re still able to threaten the politcos is as rare as a North Korean fighter ace.

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  1. Personally, I fear worse than that. The baby boomers that are starting to retire and going into the future are going to constitute a HUGE voting block. Remembering DeToqueville and following my Libertarian instincts, I fear that they are going to proceed to vote themselves into larger and larger peices of the pie that *I* and my lovely wife are making for our own retirement.

    Being born in 1963, sometimes I am classified as a boomer and sometimes not. Any idea on that?

    Regardless of that, I do not anticipate reaching retirement age and having any social security benefits at all, seeing as how both the republicrats and demopublicans in DC these days seem to have no problems at all in expanding government spending. We have been saving for years in the hope that at least one of us (and hopefully both) will have the benefits of a comfortable retirement.

  2. In the ’68 revolution, you were five. NOT a boomer.

    I agree. You and I are on near-opposite ends of the same generation, and we’re fools if we think we’re going to see a dime of Social Security.

  3. Hey, James, just in interesting FYI:

    Wikipedia labels you a “Baby Buster” — a kid of the early Baby Boomers. Some demographics I’ve seen also label you a very early Gen-Xer — like Happycrow — a generational label which ends in 1979.


  4. And about Boomers in general — they dream of retiring and moving into some “active” retirement lifestyle — planned “active adult community” resorts anyone? — while GenXers pretty much assume that they’ll be working till their dead because they can’t trust the government to take care of them in their “Golden Years.”

    At least, that’s what *this* GenXer believes. 🙂

  5. Mike

     /  February 1, 2007

    I second that. I just LOVE this generation. They made drug use cool, the military uncool (and treating servicemembers like crap cool), promptly turned on everything they supposidely believed in and became Yuppies, and are still screwing everyone that gets in the way of their “lifestyle”. And now this. Damn it, can’t they just all drop dead?

  6. Most demographers point to the end of World War II as the beginning of the Baby Boom. A generational cohort is limited to 19 year increments. 1945-1964 is considered the Baby Boom. However, there is typically a cohort overlay, where generational boundaries blur. This usually extends to about two years on either side. Therefore, If you were born in 1963, you may be considered a Late Boomer or an Early GenXer. Based on your above sentiment, you’ld most likely be the latter rather than the former.
    The mistrust that LQ expresses is considered typical for the Generation X cohort.

  7. Well, as to the drop dead part….I am *rather* fond of having my parents around…..

    I do understand what I hope is sarcasm, though. There is some justified anger. My own parents did not do well in the savings avenue, but are doing ok since they were able to move out of the high tax bracket in the city here.

    That being said, my father made an interesting comment not so long ago. I told him that I did not nelieve that me or mine would ever see a dime of social security, and if we did we were likey to frame that dime and look at it ever so often. He told me that he did not believe that the federal gov’t would ever allow social security to go bankrupt because it was such a basic contract with the citizens of this country that is cannot be allowed to die.


    P.S. I gratefully accept my position as a Gen-Xer. I never related to the 60’s as much as I did the 70’s.

  8. Social Security, combined with Boomer savings, is a Red Queen’s Race. Boomers have more in the way of investment wealth
    (CBO Report, 11/2003). Yet said investment wealth depends upon steady economic growth to yield benefits. The Boomers are in trouble unless Social Security is fundamentally reformed, precisely b/c your Dad is right: politically, letting SS croak is a nonstarter.

    Unfortunately, due to AARP, and a number of other issues (not merely Democrats), reform of SocSec is also a nonstarter. Thus, unless currently untenable reform occurs, and occurs within the next ten years, as a larger share of GDP moves to propping up the system, economic growth *will* slow. And that will hit the Gen-Xers in terms of harming their peak earning/savings years, no matter what they do… but the snarky and prepared amongst them will also have the “pleasure” of watching as what they’re suffering boomerangs into the investment portfolios of the retirees.

    There are, of course, fixes. Popping the SocSec retirement age to 70 for everybody currently under 50 would do the trick. Roughly half the Boomers would have to work an extra five years… but they’re likely to live that much longer, too, and that delay in accrued benefits would keep the system solvent long enough for Gen Y and the Milennials to come into the picture and save the day.

    But go to a Boomer website and float that proposal. Go for it.

  9. I wonder if it’s a Gen-X trait to absolutely loathe most of one’s permalescent generation, or if I just get cranky too often. 🙂

  10. No, it’s a known GenX trait. Go to, say,, and see how defensive (and myopic) they are about it.

  11. Mike

     /  February 2, 2007

    OH that sounds fun. I may have to try that. And yes I was being sarcastic when I was hoping they all dropped dead. But really do wish they would look at this situation and see the irony of being “the man” now and keeping down “the youth” and then shut up.

  12. Alex

     /  February 2, 2007

    As a parent I am now going to blaspheme –

    So if the Baby Boomers are a mess….who’s responsibility is it for them turning out so bad anyway? It can’t just be the fluoride in the water 🙂

    Greatest Generation Indeed. Excellent at self-sacrifice, maybe god-awful parents.

    And yes I know (while donning my asbestos suit) that such a generalization is not fully correct or fair.

  13. Mike

     /  February 3, 2007

    Hell, that is a good question. But here is my thing. My uncle Tom and my Dad are well adjusted, finacially stable (well, TOm is most of the time),fairly conservative. My true boomer uncle and aunt are complete opposites. They dislike the military on principle (excepting anyone in WWII because that was a “good” war), left as you can be, and total hypocrites becuase they rant and rave about evil corporations and captialism and the consumer culture while working 6 figure jobs, driving sports cars and taking 6 week long trips to Paris. Same parents, 10 years age difference.

  14. Alex

     /  February 3, 2007

    Ah….I think I now understand this one. Might make a good sociology thesis even.
    Ask any parent around the world how things go with the first child going to the last and you’ll see the following trend:
    1st child: The guinea pig – parents the most strict with this one since they don’t want to mess it up, but they try out things to see how the discipline really works, and then use lessons learned from the 1st child on subsequent children
    2nd child: More laid back approach – now knowing what they know from the 1st child, parents not quite as strict, tend to apply what they learned from the first in approaches to discipline and raising, but fine tuning occurs since the 2nd child will act differently than the 1st.
    3rd child: 2nd verse same as the 1st…except that now parents starting to get tired about all of this. “Yeah yeah – go ahead…just don’t shoot your eye out and be sure to get home on time” whereas with child 1 and 2, parent would actively go out and corral kids in.
    4th child and later: Now things start to get lazy, but nostaligic for having a wee little baby back with the 1st, so children can get coddled here. Being the “baby” of the family has its benefits in that you get away with more and have more done for you.

    Post WWII -more things got easier for the parents on day-to-day chores and so kids who would normally have to work and help out with the day to day chores now got more time to sit around and goof off. So it may be that the early baby boomers had to work harder in their formative years and also had more discipline, while the later baby boomers had things a little more lax and therefore, not as disciplined – hence the personality differences.

    At least – all this makes sense to me anyway.

  15. The same thing applies to my family, Alex. But I don’t think mellowing has so much to do with it… you learn at least as much from your peers as you do from your folks.

    Now, it could, otoh… but I think we’d need some data on those lines, rather than just anecdotes. Kids born in ’44, versus kids born in ’47, each first-borns…

  16. Mike

     /  February 3, 2007

    Or those born prior to WWII or during. Like both my parents.

  17. To lizardqueen:

    No Boomer I know is retiring to an “active community” resort. We all had our savings wiped out during the “recession” and will definitely, as you say, be working till we drop dead! You Gen Xers, on the other hand, still have time to save your money, so stop complaining!

    • The GenXers are in comparatively decent shape, and I’ve said MANY times here, I really feel for Boomers who swung against the grain of their generation, did everything right, and still got wiped out because their funds were in “investments” rather than “savings,” etcetera.

      It’s the Milennials I’m truly worried about. Nobody much seems to care that they’re facing the kind of unemployment rates we usually throw people out of office for — and Boomers specifically need to, because your home prices are (going to be) DIRECTLY tied to whether or not up-and-coming Milennials can afford to buy from your cohort.

  1. Professor Mead still doesn’t quite get the Boomer Holocaust’s true horror | Happycrow's Eyeball Factory

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