Below, member Merina Smith writes beautifully -- and with great insight -- about the challenges posed (and faced) by the Boomer generation. In a nutshell: how can we possibly afford all of the programs and benefits that the Baby Boomer generation has mostly voted for themselves, especially if they're being paid for by their children and grandchildren?
What's worse, Baby Boomers are about to get a lot poorer. Their divorce rates are skyrocketing. (And divorce is a key driver of poverty and lower income.) From McClatchy:
The generation that once embraced the smiley face and peace symbol as cultural logos is now divorcing in historic fashion.
Divorce rates are higher for baby boomers than for any previous generation, while rates are declining, slightly, for society as a whole.
New research and census data reveal an unprecedented trend of Americans splitting apart as they turn grayer: In 2009, people ages 50 and older were twice as likely to divorce as their counterparts in 1990.
Just what we need: more broke old people.
But calling it quits — especially in such a punishing economy — doesn’t necessarily lead to happy endings, say demographers and sociologists.
Single Americans in their senior years tend to face more economic hardship than married couples. Unmarried elders are more likely to live in subsidized housing, and “this generation has fewer kids than the earlier generations had to help them along,” if needed, said William H. Frey, a Brookings Institution demographer.
“Baby boomers in general are not likely to have that sure retirement their parents had — a real pension, their savings,” steady Social Security and medical coverage or other “reliable security blankets,” he said.
This is pretty much the worst news you could hear, if you're a young person -- or even not so young: if you're 45, you're technically in Generation X. You already know you're going to have to carry a lot of the burden for lopsided benefits for the large generation ahead of yours. But now you're going to have to pay for their divorces, too.