Baby Boomer Backlash – Their Retirement Years Will be Unique

I didn’t ask to be born, but if I had, I don’t know if I would have chosen to be born during the Baby Boom of about 1946 to 1964. I think I would have chosen a different time period – had I known how many of the ills of the world would be blamed on the Baby Boomer Generation.

A better fit for me would have been my parent’s generation – the Silent Generation. They were conservative, hard-working and they lived well below their means throughout their careers. In retirement, the Silents are by no means ostentatious or big spenders. That pretty much sums up the way my Spousal Unit and I have more or less lived our lives so far, notwithstanding the new Harley in the garage.

The Boomers are just starting to enter Retirement, and large concerns loom over how the economy will adjust to the impact they will have on Pension Funds and Health Care costs.  The Baby Boomers, and the social fabric they have created, are much more free-wheeling with their money than the Silent Generation. In fact, the Boomers are quite happy to spend money they don’t even have yet. The result is a staggering debt load. Debt is not a very good way to start retirement.

So you can see why Governments are getting nervous. They have taken all the Baby Boomers Tax dollars for the past 40 years or so, and spent it on what they thought they wanted at the time. Not a lot of thought went into saving the money for what was inevitably going to happen when the Baby Boomers exited the job market. Apparently a good many Baby Boomers weren’t much good at saving either.

The younger generations are nervous. They don’t want, and can’t afford, the burden of supporting elderly Baby Boomers. So what is going to happen?

I expect the Baby Boomers will simply adapt, and in doing so they will redefine the rules of retirement. They will work longer than previous generations. They will downsize their housing and belongings. They will move to more economical parts of the country.

Governments will adapt too. They will try to raise taxes, but the people will finally revolt and say enough is enough. So the governments will cut back on services  – which isn’t a bad thing, because there are way too many things the government does that they don’t do very well. Some Pensions and Health Care systems may fail, but that meant they weren’t built very well.

As the Baby Boomers retire, (or die off) the subsequent work forces will redeploy themselves in ways that work for them. Then the newest generation can grouse and bitch about those generations… The cycle will start again.

Generation Summary – dates will overlap as there is no standard definitions. Names may vary by country.
Lost Generation: Born 1890-1915
GI or Greatest Generation: Born 1910-1925
Silent Generation: Born 1925-1945
Boomers: Born 1943-1964
Generation X: Born 1965 to 1981
Generation Y or Millennials: Born 1980 to 1995
Generation Z or Centennials: Born 1996 to 2010
Generation Alpha: Born 2011 to 2025

In 2015 in both United States and Canada, the Millennial Generation became the largest cohort in the work force (about 35 to 37%), with the Boomer and Generation X work forces each at 31 to 34%.