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Old 08-12-2009, 10:01 AM
 
Location: Grove City, Ohio
10,503 posts, read 13,334,790 times
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Quote:
Here is what I don't understand, why do you even have a mortgage? Even if you purchased your home when you were 30, it should be paid off right now. Lately, I've been finding that many boomers in their late 50's and 60's still have a sizable mortgage. Very different from the previous generation, my grandparents had no mortgage by the time they were 40.
It's becoming clear the biggest mistake we boomers made was spending money we didn't have to send our kids to college at $100,000 a clip.

No, it wasn't a mistake in my case. I would do it again but I think the younger set doesn't realize what a lot of boomers gave up for them.
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Old 08-12-2009, 11:04 AM
 
14,256 posts, read 16,230,350 times
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Originally Posted by Bette View Post
Here's one of our problems and few want to talk about it - outsourcing to India, Malaysia, even Bulgaria.
It is a logical extension of the Marshall plan and aid to developing countries which was initiated by the GI generation.

Maybe we should have left them in poverty
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Old 08-12-2009, 03:29 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles, Ca
2,884 posts, read 5,400,205 times
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As a 31 year old, I think the boomers had an extremely easy life. Certaintly they worked hard, but they were lifted by rising tides they had no control over...

-Quality education getting started. You could raise a family just on a highschool diploma or simple bachelors.

-Little foreign competition after WWII, which lead to industries that basically lived in a bubble. Could GM or Ford have paid such lavish wages and benefits if they were fiercely competing with Honda or Toyota in the 70's, like they are now?

-Relatively stable employment over 10, 20 or 30 years.

-Housing going up much fast than inflation

-Dollar becoming the worlds reserve currency during their life (which allowed for cheap and easy credit)

-Huge stock boom from 1982 to 2000.

-FED Chiefs at the end, Greenspan, Bernanke that have extended the good times. The party could have been over in 98 or 2002.

To the OP, my guess about real estate is that it'll depress back to normal levels. Take out the 2002-07 boom (alt loans, arms, etc). Then subtract another big chunk down to x and y's real income level. Real estate prices and income eventually have to get back to normal.
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Old 08-12-2009, 04:05 PM
 
14,256 posts, read 16,230,350 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John23 View Post
As a 31 year old, I think the boomers had an extremely easy life. Certaintly they worked hard, but they were lifted by rising tides they had no control over...
I think you are deluded

Quote:
Originally Posted by John23 View Post
Quality education getting started. You could raise a family just on a highschool diploma or simple bachelors.
I left college in 1976. By then, to get a decent job you needed a degree. Many of us came out of college with debt. In many cases we were the first in our family to go to college and there was no money to pay for it. Many of us went back to school to get our Masters so we could progress.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John23 View Post
Little foreign competition after WWII, which lead to industries that basically lived in a bubble. Could GM or Ford have paid such lavish wages and benefits if they were fiercely competing with Honda or Toyota in the 70's, like they are now?
That benefited the previous generation. By the time we were entering the workforce both Germany and Japan were emerging as serious competitors.


Quote:
Originally Posted by John23 View Post
-Relatively stable employment over 10, 20 or 30 years.
Not really, there were huge layoffs at the beginning of the 1990s, around 2001-2003 and right now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John23 View Post
Housing going up much fast than inflation
True ... but you have to live somewhere. Yes, there were many who used their homes as an ATM and they are paying for it now. In most cases, the increase in the value of homes is meaningless as most people cannot really cash in on them until they die.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John23 View Post
-Dollar becoming the worlds reserve currency during their life (which allowed for cheap and easy credit)
This is fairly recent and your generation has also benefited from it. When I bought my first place I was paying 12%. You have to look at the whole period and not just the bit covered by your own experience.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John23 View Post
-Huge stock boom from 1982 to 2000.
You assume that we were all in the market trading away. I didn't have the money to buy and sell stocks before 2000. I was too busy raising some ungrateful xers and Yers and trying to put food on the table. I'm sure most were like me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John23 View Post
-FED Chiefs at the end, Greenspan, Bernanke that have extended the good times. The party could have been over in 98 or 2002.
Yep and we are paying for it now with our 401ks, etc. You Xers and Yers still have plenty of years to recover. Good times!
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Old 08-12-2009, 04:19 PM
 
Location: Wherabouts Unknown!
7,805 posts, read 17,571,559 times
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John23 wrote:
I think the boomers had an extremely easy life.
Yeah, making a decision about how to deal with the DRAFT was sooooooooooooooooo easy. Those who found a way to avoid the draft were looked down upon by half of the country, and those who couldn't avoid going to Viet Nam were looked down upon by the other half of the country. Viet Nam was a lose-lose situation for everyone except for the greedy corporations who profited from the war, and most of the stock holders were NOT baby boomers. Knowing how to avoid the wrath of a government that didn't bat an eyelash about getting you injured or killed to do the dirty work for corporate america was soooooooooooooo easy. Watching your high school buddies who were DRAFTED come home in a wooden box was sooooooooooooooo easy. I think I'll go have a nap now. Life is so easy because I'm a baby boomer!
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Old 08-12-2009, 05:51 PM
 
4,711 posts, read 11,493,303 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by user_id View Post
....Anyhow, I think these sorts of discussions are important for those of us younger than boomers. When time comes to raise taxes to fund state pensions, we can say "no". When government's start talking about two-tiered pension systems we can say "no". When time comes to raise FICA taxes we can say "No". When we are pushed to purchase stocks and real estate off boomers hands we can say "no". We collectively can prevent the boomers from lowering our standard of living to increase theirs...

LOL, I have to laugh every time an X or Y'er threatens to vote to cut off my pension, benefits, etc.

Don't hold your breath, sonny!

Very high voting rates among seniors, coupled with the sheer number of Boomers means that we will be an overwhelming force at the polls far into the future. By the time we are out of the way, you will be in, or close to codgerhood yourdamnself!

Also, unless you're trolling, I don't understand your concern with the entire matter? You keep saying you're self-employed....so how do you have a dog in this fight?

If you want a promotion, give yourself one!!
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Old 08-12-2009, 07:50 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles, Ca
2,884 posts, read 5,400,205 times
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I know I'll get alot of flak for it, but easy in terms of raising a family, full employment (that could provide for a family), plenty of time for work, church, time for vacations. And easy in terms of stability. There was a relative stability and predictability in life thats long gone.

Its not delusional at all.

There were several main pillars...

-Education. Basically everyone made gains as soon as they left school. Either blue collar, or white collar, you could raise a family. How many people owed $80 k working a $15 an hour job? How many people couldnt pay daycare costs in the 70's? How many people struggled to pay back their student loans for the most basic of degrees (not law or medical). How many had to work 3 jobs just to survive.

-Real gains economically. People had enough real money that they could save 20% for a downpayment on a home. Real money earned from the bachelors that was cost efficient.

Employment was long enough and sufficient enough to be able to build up decent savings. Its not the case now.

-Then extending from those two, is the dollar as the reserve currency, easy credit, stock bull market from 82 to 2000 that swelled retirement, 401k accounts. And homes going up higher than inflation was an asset. True, you cant sell it until you move or die. But it paid off for those that did invest in a home.

-And an extension is living longer and enjoying those gains.

The problem now for x/y is the educational pillar. There's so much debt, theres no money left to make real gains, or save 20% for a home.

Probably a 1/3 of x/y is going to emerge not having anything. The other 1/3 or 1/2 is going to emerge having a little, but then they're going to get all this debt, and all these obligations we can't fulfill. The national debt in 1980 was $1 trillion, now its $12 or $15 trillion.

The other 1/3 of x/y would be (illegal aliens, chronically underemployed, or those that never got out of the educational pillar).

With vietnam, the numbers killed now in iraq are much lower, but look at the post traumatic stress, and number of severe injuries. Watching your buddies come back now all screwed up isnt easy. There are wars in every generation.

Also, the threat now of dirty bombs, 9/11, chemical weapons, etc. Our airports have become militarized zones vs the 70's.
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Old 08-12-2009, 08:15 PM
 
Location: Seattle
1,369 posts, read 3,052,452 times
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I am going to defend the baby boomer generation a little bit since I think a lot of people are overstating things a bit.

- I think the superb stock market and real estate run played a role into why the boomer generation saved so little compared to previous and likely future generations. If your house is returning 8% annually and the stock market is returning 15% annually, quite frankly you don't need to save that much.

- A lot of people are sort of implying some kind of maliciuos intent that this generation of people had and that they should be held responsible for the world's problems. Relax. A lot of the boomers rise in income was capitalizing on innovations in finance. I really don't think any generation would have behaved differently. You've seen worldwide savings rates fall and these innovations of finance have taken place all throughout the developed world. Yes, the US has the lowest savings rate out of them all (UK and Australia are pretty close though). But a lot of that is due economic and tax policy instituted by the government - people who were a part of the previous generation. The rules of the game are set up a certain way and people's behavior will reflect that.

- The boomers financed their standard of living and declining real, single income wage by sending women into the work place and creating the two income household as the norm. This allowed for that increase of income and standard of living. The problem is Gen X and Gen Y can not send a third person into the workforce so this item is maxed out.

I think too many people in this thread are placing some kind of personal blame on a generation when a lot of what happened is global in nature and there's a circumstance involved in a lot of this. What all generations (probably, especially the boomers) need to understand is we are, IMO, undergoing a paradigm shift in economics. The innovations of finance have failed us. Housing is overpriced without the innovations of finance. It has to drop in value. There will be a fairly long, fairly painful unwinding in the world's economy. That said, the world isn't going to fall apart. This isn't the great depression redux. But it's a heck of a lot worse than 1974 and 1987 by pretty much all solid economic indicators.

The rules of the game have simply changed. Gen X and Gen Y can't just buy a house when they are 30 and count on slow and steady appreciation to guide their way. Same thing with their careers. A global market for jobs is going to likely decrease real wages over time, like it or not. Protectionism isn't going to work. You can't just go get a BA and expect to join a corporation and have a steady income for life. Sure it will work for some people but there is a new era of opportunities. People have to seize it. I think the reason Gen X and Gen Y think the world was so much better for the boomers is because they can't just repeat what they did for the same success. But let's be honest - the boomer generation had its own innovations and didn't just copy the previous generations - and Gen X and Gen Y won't be able to copy the boomers.

Things are tougher for Gen X especially. They had an employment recession in the early 2000s, many of them got suckered into buying an overpriced house between 2004-2007 (they hit the right age at just the wrong time) and many of them have since lost their jobs in the second recession. I think it's a little too early to forecast Gen Y. Many are still in college and just now graduating so they could actually end up okay, depending what the next decade looks like. The oldest part of Gen Y are hitting the prime part of their careers (ages 25-40) but if the economy isn't in the doldrums for 5-10 more years they might be young enough to escape the worst of the bad economic period.

Last edited by drshang; 08-12-2009 at 08:24 PM..
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Old 08-12-2009, 09:16 PM
 
8,317 posts, read 27,094,487 times
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Every post here so far has missed one very crucial point--and it is the factor that will affect, negatively, the material comfort of every American generation going forward. It is this: we are rapidly depleting some of the most crucial natural resources necessary for our continued high standard of living--oil, water, even soil--while, at the same time--having one of the highest population growth rates in the developed world. We Boomers may luck out and the real crunch in resource availability and cost may not come until we are elderly or dead (but I'm not real optimistic about the crisis holding off that long), but the Gen X'er's on forward are going to receive the full economic, political, and social body-slam of the tsunami. What is so sad about this is that very intelligent minds predicted over a century ago both the likelihood of this and the nasty effects that would evenutally befall us. No less than one of the greatest US Presidents in my opinion, Theodore Roosevelt, had this to say about it back in 1907. It's too bad that following generations, including we Boomers--who have to be the most wasteful generation of all--didn't and haven't heeded the warning TR so eloquently spoke of:

Quote:
"We of an older generation can get along with what we have, though with growing hardship; but in your full manhood and womanhood you will want what nature once so bountifully supplied and man so thoughtlessly destroyed; and because of that want you will reproach us, not for what we have used, but for what we have wasted...So any nation which in its youth lives only for the day, reaps without sowing, and consumes without husbanding, must expect the penalty of the prodigal whose labor could with difficulty find him the bare means of life."
"Arbor Day - A Message to the School-Children of the United States" April 15, 1907
People think that the economy and population can continue to grow indefinitely. What they fail to understand from basic economics is that growth can not occur beyond what is the most constraining factor in the economic factors of production. For nearly all of US history, that limiting factor was either the labor supply or capital supply. Now it is natural resources, and a lot of the economic problems we see developing now are the result of us hitting the limits of what our natural resources can support. And the more the population grows and the faster those resources are depleted, the more distorted, inefficient, and polarized the economy is going to get--eventually to the point of causing serious social and political unrest. I don't envy what the generations younger than mine are inheriting from us--they are going to have a hell of a mess to clean up, and--frankly--they may be even less emotionally and economically equipped to handle it than their ancestors were.
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Old 08-12-2009, 09:50 PM
 
5,748 posts, read 11,170,704 times
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Originally Posted by drshang View Post
Things are tougher for Gen X especially. They had an employment recession in the early 2000s, many of them got suckered into buying an overpriced house between 2004-2007 (they hit the right age at just the wrong time) and many of them have since lost their jobs in the second recession. I think it's a little too early to forecast Gen Y. Many are still in college and just now graduating so they could actually end up okay, depending what the next decade looks like. The oldest part of Gen Y are hitting the prime part of their careers (ages 25-40) but if the economy isn't in the doldrums for 5-10 more years they might be young enough to escape the worst of the bad economic period.
I have a different understanding of the generations. I am at the early end of Gen-X (1968), and I'm just now beginning my 40's, so I assume you meant that the Gen X-ers are hitting their prime earning years. Gen Y is usually defined as beginning in the 1980's, so the oldest portion of Gen Y would be in their late 20's. Accordingly, that generation is still fairly early in their careers.

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frankly--they may be even less emotionally and economically equipped to handle it than their ancestors were
I can't even begin to fathom where you got that from. I believe my generation is extremely resilient and that while we may suffer, we will do just fine over the long haul.
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