A common complaint among younger generations is that boomers aren’t retiring fast enough. A millennial took to an online forum to ask if boomers ever wished the same for their elders at one point, and the internet responded in droves.
Note: Some quotes in this piece have been lightly edited for grammar.
New Kids in Town
Not only did the curious millennial wonder if boomers were eager for their seniors to retire, but “At what age did the average boomer ‘make it’ and become in charge?” they asked.
Didn’t Take Much
A common consensus seems to be that boomers didn’t have to “make it big” to succeed. One person pointed out that boomers could support themselves and their families with a retail job back then. “Now, with inflation and wage stagnation and job insecurity increasing, ordinary jobs don’t pay for a good life anymore, and we’re all hoping for that lucky break.”
In the Same Boat
One boomer speaks from experience and says they went through the same thing at one point, but now they’re just as stuck as millennials are. “My husband would love to retire. But there are too many people economically dependent on him for that to happen.”
Boomers are no strangers to the good life, not only benefitting from the advancement of the middle class but also the current expansion of quality living and age, one person said. They’re one generation away from hardships like WWII, they added, “so when they get some stuff, they want to keep their stuff. Even though what they have is a result of everyone’s sacrifice.”
One person said today’s situation is different since people grow much older and, therefore, must work longer. “In politics, that is not only an issue of old people staying in office longer, but since they grow older and become an even bigger part of our society, they still decide indirectly through elections.”
Not All Boomers
Another boomer says the assumption is that they all have positions of power. “We don’t. My 57-year-old significant other is still lugging shingles bundles onto rooftops.” They said the average age for some trade jobs is over 50, and millennials don’t seem to want to take over those jobs.
One retired boomer says the workforce was a very different place with WWI and WWII, leaving a considerable job vacuum for them that no longer exists today. “Blaming boomers for everything to do with the job market doesn’t say enough; it’s a factor, but not the whole story.”
Reaching for Middle Class
In the 1930s-1980s, it was very probable to work for one company your entire life and make a middle-class wage, one person said. “Nowadays, everyone’s a contractor, running their own gig; everyone is their own boss in some way. Not our desire necessarily, but a necessity.” They said Gen X and millennials are far more likely to start businesses and “make it” by that standard.
In the early 1900s, many people in high-level positions in the US railroad industry weren’t budging, according to one history buff. They said many boomer students hoping to find a job in the railroad industry had to leave for another career due to a lack of advancement opportunities. It’s even led to the American railroad industry lagging internationally relative to other transportation industries, in their opinion.
Living Life to the Fullest
“It depends on what kind of jobs,” one boomer said. Plenty of intellectual, scientific, and artistic fields have people who love their jobs and stay active until they croak. “In earlier generations, people got older quicker, plus wars have decimated all generations. But what can you expect if they are still healthy and full of energy and inspiration at 90?”
That’s a First
Another agrees that boomers did not share this experience. “The generation before them was the first to live into their 70s, 80s, and beyond, who retired as quickly as they could because their parents had died a lot younger, usually by their mid-60s.”
Here Come the Consequences
One boomer who retired at 63 said caring for their parents and their estate after they passed took up their retirement years. “Their parents had all this done by the time they were in their 40s, so their retirement years were relatively care-free,” they said. “An unintended consequence of all the improvements in life expectancy and health is that boomers don’t want to retire.”
Get Off Your High Horse
A younger person explained that the faces of boomers are corporate CEOs and corrupt politicians who waste billions and only think about themselves. “When haven’t the movers and shakers of any generation been other than selfish and self-righteous?” one boomer retorts. “I’m glad I helped spawn the first humanitarian generation.”
“Earlier generations had it better than we will,” one person said, and they had plenty of examples. They said their grandmother had been actively collecting social security since the 70s. Their other grandmother did not work, and their grandfather retired after working for 25 years and was retired for 40. It’s already proving to be more complicated than that for younger generations.
Taking It Easy
A veteran boomer says they’re well off in retirement but wondering where the ‘boomers basking in glory’ idea came from. “I’m grateful to my country for treating veterans well. I couldn’t afford to buy a house until I was 40,” they said. “And then it was a 43K fixer-upper in the Northwoods of Wisconsin with the GI bill backing it up.”
Not Like It Used To Be
“You also have to remember that it’s not easy to retire anymore,” one person reminds the audience. Many people, even boomers, have to go to work because what they get from retiring isn’t enough to live with.
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