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May 23, 2012



I am one of the early boomers, having been born in January 1946. Trust me, we boomers don't look on you with disdain. In fact, we think you are incredibly lucky. Just think, many young people face a future without social security or at least an older qualifying age.


Gigi: However, the insurance companies want to cash in on us with various financial schemes. Also, a lot of people lost a lot of money in the crash. We personally were able to sidestep all that, but not everyone has been so lucky.


Give me a break. My parents have been threatening suicide since the 60s. They are the ones talking about cyanide, not me; they are the ones who wanted to use it on their older relatives, not me; it was not easy to take care of them emotionally as a child. They are the ones who claim old age is disgusting and useless, not me. They are the ones who make fun of other old people, not me. Get back, grow up, and try to be half as graceful as people born in the 19th century were, is what I have to say.

I am glad they benefited from the postwar economic boom and several real estate booms, and that they have a good retirement and medical plan, as I do not. Furthermore Ronald Reagan and many of his electors were part of their generation, not mine.

--Baby Boom.


Z: They sound like the typical bitter old people who never should have had kids. Sound like my mother, actually.


(Sorry about vitriol in my other comment but I am really tired of hearing certain attitudes about the aged. I really do think people born in 20s and 30s had great chances we didn´t, being adults in a booming economy, and that there were lots of ways in which they didn´t have to grow up the way we did. My parents have always laughed at me for being as career and business oriented as I am, but I just have to be -- there has never been the kind of leeway during my lifetime as there was in theirs; my mother pissed away four years of college money, plenty dancing and no degree; my father raised a whole family on one salary; those days are gone. I´m all for social security -- wish I lived in a state that paid into it myself -- and Medicare and all of those things, of course. It´s that: for example, it is hard for my mother not to be able to drive, but at the same time she looks down on me for being so déclassée as to be willing to ride buses or cabs when I reach her age. This is the kind of reason, not the fact that they have social security and so on, that I think people from the 20s and 30s are so spoiled.)


Z: That's O.K. I understand completely. We did get a lot of breaks and frittered away opportunities that younger people would envy. My mother really was hard to deal with and in the end I could not do much for her. The sacrifices she had to make as a wife and mother in the 40's and 50's, with never enough money and high expectations put on her that she could not meet, spoiled her temper and broke her spirit. I only recently understood that her worries about me and my survival consumed her. I was sick a lot and did not thrive in school after about the fifth grade.
BTW: My husband, age 70, still has to work to keep us and our other family members going and to provide them with a few luxuries, even, as they struggle in their busy lives. And many other conscientious parents are in the same spot. We are not throwing our money into ratholes like long term care insurance but have real estate and savings instead. And kids who, we presume, will help us out when we get sick and/or dotty.Oh, and BTW: My husband was already an adult at age 19. It's an individual thing. In many ways I am still rather childish, but unlike my mother, I did learn to drive!
Also, there is the second childhood thing! I do enjoy life now more than I did when I was younger and had so many responsibilities. At one point I was running a household, getting my higher degree and working as a "freeway flier" ESL teacher. In retrospect I don't know how I did it. And the aerobics classes, too. Yikes. But I am still not good at handling finances, although I try. It's so boring.

Henry Hank

Wow there are a lot of issues on the table here. Just as a matter of fact, to start with, I paid $9,500 per month for my wife at Hale Nani, a local old age home in Hawaii. Do the arithmetic and then send one child to Harvard and the other to Stanford for the year on the same budget! I have since moved her to a more affordable place with good care. Not complaining, just explaining.

I see an incipient generation war brewing here. Some of those Boomers sound downright hostile about us. Golly gee whillikers, I am still helping to support some younger Boomers.

Hattie, it is another fact that the born-in 1935-1940 generation is EXTREMELY SMALL because of the Depression. Check it out. We are the smallest cohort! We have left a very light footprint on the nation.

Cop Car

Henry Hank brings up a good point about the smallness of our cohort. Part of that is due to the many children who would have been of our generation had they not died in infancy (and that was before anyone could even think of saving a pregnancy at 26-30 weeks along, for goodness sake!) My own parent lost two of five, before they reach age 1.


Hank: I'm so glad you are chiming in here. We are a tiny demographic. When my mother took me out in my baby carriage, this was in 1939, people would stop her and say, "A baby! I haven't seen a baby in ages!" We're kind of unknown, hale for the most part, still, but not geriatric. So what the Boomers see are the very old people, many of them their parents, born post WW I, as their idea of what old people are like. They may forget how their parents were in their 70's. My parents' generation is gone except for one aunt who is 90. All those people. Gone.
We still have heavy financial responsibilities, too, and are continuing to help out younger family members. As so many of us are.
I've got to say that I am not sure younger people understand that old age is a serious and profound time of life. And a lot of the benefits of old age are being whittled away by money worries and the ageism of younger people. I think this is what really has the Boomers scared. What will happen to them when they get old? They have got to be worried.


Cop Car: Interesting. My mother had a stillborn boy between me and my sister. It was breech delivery and would have survived with modern techniques. But she also had an abortion later on when she realized that our family could not support a third child. Small families were pretty much the rule until pro-natal propaganda revved up in the 50's. I remember signs on the bus urging families to procreate for the sake of providing new consumers for the economy. And women were being driven out of the workplace anyway by returning GIs, so having a bunch of kids seemed like a good thing to do.
More: I should add that working class women had to continue to work at low-paying jobs in offices and factories. It was the middle class women who stayed home with the kids.

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