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Kinsa

GenX'ers: We're pretty much screwed

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I was born right smack dab in the middle of the defined GenX years, making me solidly a GenX'er.

 

I read this article, and I was nodding my head in agreement the entire time.  Pretty much sums it for us, eh?

 

http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2015-07-10/economic-setbacks-have-hurt-generation-x-more-than-millennials?cmpid=yhoo

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This kind of thing makes me worried for my kids, as my oldest heads off to her first year of high school next month. The college/student loan situation seems like it's gotten worse, not better, and I don't see it fixing itself in the next four years. :(

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No kidding!

I have more kids than my parents did, but my mom will still get a small pension, full social security, and what she didn't lose in her 401k (which is still more than we'll probably ever make on investments.)

 

We did pay off dh's student loans a couple of years ago, but we're tens of thousands of dollars underwater on our mortgage. Thank you, bubble burst!

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Yep, our household income is quite a bi higher than either of our parents.  However, my husband's parents did not go to college at all, neither did my mother and my father went for free (no tuition in Germany).  My parents had no health care costs, when I was little eve band-aids and OTC drugs were covered.  We don't own a house because we move every two years (hubby is on active duty).  My private school tuition was roughly $ 50 a month, my brother's about $30, many extra curricular activities were free.  I could not homeschool for that price and even when my kids were in PS we paid more than that per month for school things and activities.  We had no internet, TV was cheap, phone was cheap because we made only local calls.  Food is still cheaper in Germany.  My parents never paid for childcare because my grandmother was home and by age 6 we were pretty self sufficient meaning most of my friends were latchkey kids from 1st grade on.  My parents didn't need to save for retirement and they didn't need to save for college for my brother and me.  My parents didn't need to help support their parents in old age. 

I am sure I can come up with more things that we pay for and our parents didn't which allowed them to save money (my parents) or stay debt free (my husband's parents).  However, dinner is ready and my kids are throwing me evil looks because I am on the computer and not in the kitchen :tongue_smilie: .

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My dad has a decent monthly pension and his health benefits includes my mom.  Financially that helps us the children a lot as we don't need to worry about their finance. If my dad should pass before my mom, their untouched savings would be adequate for my mom's living expenses.  My in-laws on the other hand would need financial help when MIL stops working.   FIL is in his 70s and has retired without any pension benefits.  Hubby is the youngest of 3, I am the oldest of 2.

 

Hubby and I (born in early 70s) graduated without student debt and he had savings from scholarships when he graduated.  Not sure if our kids would be able to graduate debt free when the time comes. We have negligible amount in stocks so the stock market's ups and downs didn't affect us much.  His 401k account is the less risk option of whatever his company offers.  Our home isn't underwater which on one hand means higher property tax but on the other hand means that we can sell comfortably if we need to relocate.

 

For us it would be funding retirement since we do not have pension through work.  For our kids, they would have to be more adaptable than we are to this ever changing world.

 

ETA:

My dad had free medical coverage for the family as a teacher.  I could walk into any public (govt run) hospital or clinics/polyclinics and get free medical attention.   I did went to private general practitioners at times which my parents pay full fare because my parents think I'll catch more germs at ER.

 

The medical and dental bills in the states are a shocker. The amounts look very inflated compared to prices if we ask for cash prices at out of network places. The optician bills were more inline with the urban prices we were used to.

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DH born in 1975, I in 1976. DH's parents paid for his undergrad, grad school was in science so he got a grant. 

 

We are screwed, but not just because of the reasons in this article. I think it is because just as we were hitting our stride (work wise) we got hit with this depression. These are the prime earning years for us and I know my hubby had to get a pay cut. Add to that we have been saving to retirement but there are politicians that want to tax retirement accounts to pay for baby boomers (or older) and the fact that our parents didn't save enough, not to mention we have children that we want to do things for, and we turn into the sandwich generation. Sadly there are not as many of us as there are in the generation before or after us, so we get to be the forgotten generation too. 

 

I could go on but that is enough of my soap box. :yuck:

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DH born in 1975, I in 1976. DH's parents paid for his undergrad, grad school was in science so he got a grant. 

 

We are screwed, but not just because of the reasons in this article. I think it is because just as we were hitting our stride (work wise) we got hit with this depression. These are the prime earning years for us and I know my hubby had to get a pay cut. Add to that we have been saving to retirement but there are politicians that want to tax retirement accounts to pay for baby boomers (or older) and the fact that our parents didn't save enough, not to mention we have children that we want to do things for, and we turn into the sandwich generation. Sadly there are not as many of us as there are in the generation before or after us, so we get to be the forgotten generation too. 

 

I could go on but that is enough of my soap box. :yuck:

 

I think it's 401ks.  It is a 30-some-year-old  experiment that, by just about any measure, failed.  The only thing they've succeeded in is helping to dramatically increase income inequality.

 

My parents retired with a pension and live quite well.

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We will be OK but since we are 1965, we are the dividing line. We"ve hit most things at the right time. Med school was cheap then . our son is going to the same university we did but it costs 7 times more. If we had not been frugal he couldn't have gone there.

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I was raised in Newport, RI (not a low COL area). My dad worked and my mom stayed home with us until we were in high school. We were able to afford decent, but not brand new cars, lived in a solid middle class type house, went to private school through 8th grade and they paid out of pocket for the good, instate school for us. I just looked up the tuition - when I went there it was just about $2,500 a year. It's more than doubled now at $6530 a year for instate tuition (not including fees, books and room and board). Still quite reasonable, but definitely more. We went on vacations most years - skiing, Hawaii, Disney. I was able to go on a trip to France in high school and my brother was able to take a similar school trip to England while he was in high school.

 

My dad is semi-retired now and has no financial worries. We've worked crazy hard just to get to a point where we're finally lucky enough to be able to start paying more than the minimums on student loan debt (DH) and start some long term savings goals. DH works two full time jobs and I work close to full time while taking care of everything at home, including homeschooling DS. We were finally able to afford our first vacation since our honeymoon 8 years ago this past November. Definitely a different life. 

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My DH was born in '66 and me in '69. We will be fine eventually due to the careers we choose. He is a police officer and I am a public school teacher. When we finally retire, we will both have two small pensions from working in two different states. Unfortunately, we do have a lot of debt to pay off, but our plan is to have that gone in 5 more years. My DH likes to say that we had a great time in our 30's lining the American Dream and have the debt to prove it.

 

We are working very hard to try to help our DD20 get her collage degree without and loans, but I'm not sure if we will make that. She does know that any advanced degrees are own her own dime as DS will be starting college not long after she is finished.

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At least Gen Xers were usually able to get jobs after college.

 

I know a lot of Gen X workers who hit the start up lottery big time.

 

Millennials OTOH graduated from college to limited opportunities even for some professional school graduates. It is estimated that it takes something like two decades to make up for graduating in a persistent recession and being underemployed for more than a year after graduation.

 

I am really neither X nor Millenials (some demographers put the late 70s and very early 80s with X and some with Millenials/Y) but I have observed how much better I have had it than people just a touch younger than me.

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Yup. We're in trouble. It took 10 years to pay off his loans, we are still paying mine. He's lost his job 3 times in 12 years and has taken 5 paycuts too as a result of corporate bankruptcy or those layoffs. After his job loss last year we have no retirement or savings. It took all we had to keep a roof over our head. We are hoping to get things turned around but retirement (which is mandatory at 65 in his field) is looking scary.

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Every generation is at some point the sandwich generation. There are booms and busts in every generation. Remember the gas lines and run away inflation in the late 70's.

 

We lost out big time on a few of these deals. When my husband got hired on at Microsoft he got some stock options. A year later stocks were half the price of our option to buy prices yet we knew people who basically answered the phone for a living who were wealthy.

 

We've lost money on housing already. It I possible we are looking at that again. I would not be really surprised at a major downturn in the market where I live in the next few years.

 

My children have never been hungry though and if I need to I am capable of taking in parents and siblings with mental disabilities. We have two between my husband and I. No, we can't afford movies, eating out, roller skating or so many extras that seem to have become "normal" in the past but we are doing well.

 

I think it's sad that Generations are being separated like this. If things are bad for my parents or kids than they are bad for me. No generation has it easier or harder. Every individual has unique set of circumstances that make their life more or less difficult. My mother had it tougher than me as her husband died in a car wreck and she made it through college and medical school with no food stamps, welfare, or life insurance money. She worked multiple jobs, was broke, cared for us, and studied. I've got it so easy compared to her or my grandmother that I can't even imagine complaining.

 

We are behind on retirement but we are trying and planning and life will go on.

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Yep. 

 

Gen X has had it tough here.

 

A lot of us were in the first cohort to pay for university ( no, our boomer parents didn't ). We graduated into a recession. Housing affordability has been declining for as long as I've been an adult. Boomers bloomin' won't retire. Casualisation of the workforce ? Yep. It's shadowed our working lives. 

 

We are doing better than our grandparents - we haven't had to deal with a world war or a depression. But we're not the golden generation, not by a long shot.

 

Why yes, I am a little bitter, thanks for asking :)

 

 

 

 

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DH and I were born 1977. We feel pretty screwed. Both ended up with some debt to get through school, dh took a pay cut right after our first was born because of declines in his industry (automotive engineering). We ended up moving to a higher COL area to recover the lost income and escape an inevitable layoff. Income hasn't really kept pace with inflation since. Add to that not being able to sell our house in our old city because of the bubble burst, we are renting landlords that just want a down payment to buy our own place. (Almost there!) We're squeezed so hard that our retirement savings rate is almost nil. And the kids keep growing!! Don't they know we can't afford that?? ;)

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I'm a Gen X'er (69), Dh is a Boomer (56).  We are doing way way better than my parents.  We were stone broke when I was growing up.  My mother was a single mother working crappy jobs. 

 

Dh has a college degree and has been working in his field his whole life.  I have two college degrees but I'm not working in the field I wanted to when I started college, although I guess I'm using my degrees to an extent (I have a business admin, marketing degree and a biology degree and I work in healthcare marketing).   Neither of us have had any kind of student loan debt in decades.  I only had loans for my first 3 semesters of college way back when I graduated high school and they were paid off long ago.

 

I've been doing the same type of work for a long time now, I'm good at it and I get pretty decent pay for it, so I can't complain too much.  We did lose a lot of savings, our house value is pretty much even with our mortgage but I have a 401K that is doing okay and I actually work for a company that still offers a pension as long as I'm there for five years.  Definitely could be worse.

 

I worry about dd when she graduates.  She's going to grad school and I know she worries about finding a job in her field.  We are helping her with school so she doesn't graduate with overwhelming debt.  I'm not sure what things will look like by the time the younger two are ready for college.  I hope college costs are better since dh will be getting ready to retire right about then.

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Well, my eldest dd will most likely graduate in a recession as well. Lovely!

 

Wealth here is very locked up in boomer hands. Obviously there is variation, but as a generational pattern, they have it and we don't.

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I'm a GenX-er married to a Baby Boomer. Maybe that fact about my marriage has helped more than I realize, because I don't feel particularly unlucky to have been born when I was. I worry a lot more for my daughter's generation. A lot more. I don't feel wealthy, but I do feel secure, and that is something I fear my daughter may not experience.

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Two Gen Xers here with no complaints.

 

We paid off the student loans quickly living on nothing after college. When we graduated college we both worked job that paid less that we would have been making if we hadn't gone. However, we both worked up. I quit when I had our second child. Our income is probably lower than my parents at the same age, but they both had PhDs and both worked. I haven't worked for 16+ years. Our personal wealth would be far better than my parents though. We are savers and they weren't. The market was rough on us, but it was rougher on them. We're better off in all ways than dh's parents. They don't have college degrees and have never had much money, although f-il's business has done well and they are comfortable now.

 

I'm sorry to hear that we are exceptions, but I am glad to note exceptions exist.

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I'm very glad that as a borderline late Gen-X, this hasn't been my experience. I feel like my timing at every turn has been very fortunate.

 

My ex-husband and I make less than my parents did at our current age (in gross income, not accounting for inflation which brings us even further down) but we used his GI Bill to fund his higher education and my family paid cash for what my scholarships didn't cover - neither of us carried any student loans. I've gone back for multiple degrees and have always been able to scrap together scholarships, grants, and (once, an) employer-paid program to cover 75% of my costs. In my head, 25% is what I could reasonably afford and was willing to pay.

 

I retired from that career in my mid-30s, so my pension is useless at this point. I don't expect it to be there by the time I can draw it.

 

My parents worked (dad f/t, mom p/t) and had way more kids than I did, plus they lived in a hCOL area.  My ex-husband works, I'm retired, we have a smaller family and live in a lCOL area. My parents still "beat" us, even with our military benefits (health care, GI bIll, VA loan, etc.)

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We are doing ok.  Luckily we didn't have too much debt  from school, I had some bursaries through my fathers work and my husband paid for his education through the military.  Everything feels very tight, but my youngest is school age technically next year so we could, if we had to, add another income, though not a large one.  A lot of the tightness in our budget is because we are doing a pension time buy-back so paying for pension twice now, essentially, but it will mean dh is eligible to retire at 55 and will have paid off all of it a year or two afterwards.

 

I do worry though about what our kids will do for school, we don't really have much room to save for that.  Even in a few years when our income goes up a bit, we are really going to need to invest in some home renovations.  I don't think I will necessarily encourage them towards university.

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DH born in 1975, I in 1976. DH's parents paid for his undergrad, grad school was in science so he got a grant. 

 

We are screwed, but not just because of the reasons in this article. I think it is because just as we were hitting our stride (work wise) we got hit with this depression. These are the prime earning years for us and I know my hubby had to get a pay cut. 

 

This is us. We're even in the same state as you! We were scrimping and saving and managing to put a little away in retirement accounts and college funds. But as of last year, DH's business tanked, and now we're having to liquidate that savings just to stay afloat. In 2014, he made less than half of what he made in 2013, and this year is looking even worse. 

 

I'm thankful that my parents were good savers. My mom worked for tech companies that were generous with stock and 401K matching, and my dad worked in pharmaceuticals for 40 years and has two pensions, plus a lot in retirement savings, plus deeply discounted medical insurance for the rest of their lives. I worked until five years ago and hadn't seen a raise in 8 years. 401K matching was long gone as well. DH's company matches, so we're still getting that, but if we have to liquidate that 401K, that benefit is gone too. And he's commission only, so no raises, no bonuses, nothing extra.

 

If things keep going the way they are, my parents will be taking care of US in their golden years! Of course, they are both quite young, so they have a lot of years left in which to burn through all that retirement money, even with their frugal ways. 

 

It's so hard. 

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At least Gen Xers were usually able to get jobs after college.

 

I know a lot of Gen X workers who hit the start up lottery big time.

 

Millennials OTOH graduated from college to limited opportunities even for some professional school graduates. It is estimated that it takes something like two decades to make up for graduating in a persistent recession and being underemployed for more than a year after graduation.

 

I am really neither X nor Millenials (some demographers put the late 70s and very early 80s with X and some with Millenials/Y) but I have observed how much better I have had it than people just a touch younger than me.

:iagree:

 

I'm a Milennial married to a Gen X-er. We get screwed on every count.

 

We're in the same situation ('84 and '76).

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Gex Xers also own a lot more crap than their parents.

"We" tend to live in larger houses which we fill with crap that does not last and we feel we have to replace.

"We" drive cars that are more expensive and do not last.

"We" don't grow our own food and eat out more.

"We" don't want to see our kids suffer so they don't work and contribute to the household income.

More of us seem to be sick which requires more healthcare which is more expensive than ever.

All of this chips away at one's income and savings.

I think the article put too much emphasis on college expenses.

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Gex Xers also own a lot more crap than their parents.

"We" tend to live in larger houses which we fill with crap that does not last and we feel we have to replace.

"We" drive cars that are more expensive and do not last.

"We" don't grow our own food and eat out more.

"We" don't want to see our kids suffer so they don't work and contribute to the household income.

More of us seem to be sick which requires more healthcare which is more expensive than ever.

All of this chips away at one's income and savings.

I think the article put too much emphasis on college expenses.

 

It can actually be rather difficult these days to find quality products that will last.  Appliances are the worst - unless you can really afford top-end stuff their lifespan is so short and repairs are difficult.  I think they call this the Walmart Effect.

 

People do though have more junk in general - electronics especially can really cut into the budget.  We don't pay for cable or cell phones, and I am always shocked that so many people who seem to be on tight budgets do because the plans are so expensive.  Many though just seem to consider them a necessity - my 18 year old unemployed cousin would never consider giving up her cell plan.

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Many though just seem to consider them a necessity - my 18 year old unemployed cousin would never consider giving up her cell plan.

 

Well, a phone is pretty much a necessity (especially if you're trying to get a job), and a cheap cell plan doesn't cost more than a land line afaik.

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Boomer here.

 

I do see college expenses with their major and often lasting impact as a strain on generations after mine.  Back in my day, if people ran out of money in college one could work for a semester or year and earn enough to get back on track.  These days that can be a challenge since those basic sorts of jobs are either given to slaves interns or are farmed to workers in other countries (light industrial).

 

But I do think that serendipity plays a role in each of our lives.  We have friends who were bogged down with huge mortgages not because of living in a mega-mansion but simply because of the high cost of living in places like the Bay area where they had jobs and family.  Boomers who bought houses in the early '80's were paying interest rates of 15%!

 

We purchases our modest home at a time when the area in which we live was undervalued.  So despite the crazy rise and fall in real estate prices, we are considerably ahead.  This was not great wisdom but just plain dumb luck.  (Although wisdom does come into it by having a sufficient down payment to avoid PMI--and buying less house than the realtor said we could "afford".)

 

Our parents taught us to feed the retirement accounts first and so we have.  Some people lost money in their accounts over the raucous market swings of the last several decades.  On these boards we have heard from several people who lost significant chunks of their investments in their kids' college funds.  We did put money into a mutual fund with an ultimate net loss over the dot.com fiasco but it was not the bulk of college savings for our son since he was young when that happened.

 

My son graduated from college a little over a year ago. I am happy to say that he is not only gainfully employed in his field but feeding his 401-K and saving in general because he is not burdened with college loans.  We made that a priority.

 

A friend lost her house a couple of years ago when a balloon payment was due on her crazy mortgage product that she was sold.  This is another thing that may have worked against Gen-Xers:  they may have been led astray with various financial products including mutual funds in their 401-Ks with ridiculous fees.  Did our parents have to read the fine print?  Of course.  But was it as lengthy and convoluted?

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Borderline gen x millenials here. I don't think we will be as well off as our parents at the same age. Our generation looks wealthier because we can buy a lot of stuff - clothes and stuff are cheap but in terms of paying off a home and affording lessons for the kids and power bills it's tougher. Many of the things our folks did to save don't save much now (sewing, home baking etc).

 

That said I feel we were probably better off as far as housing etc goes than others slightly younger than us, who have to take on crazy mortgages just to get started.

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It can actually be rather difficult these days to find quality products that will last. Appliances are the worst - unless you can really afford top-end stuff their lifespan is so short and repairs are difficult. I think they call this the Walmart Effect.

 

People do though have more junk in general - electronics especially can really cut into the budget. We don't pay for cable or cell phones, and I am always shocked that so many people who seem to be on tight budgets do because the plans are so expensive. Many though just seem to consider them a necessity - my 18 year old unemployed cousin would never consider giving up her cell plan.

This is true. Many of the apparent consumption is not about the choice of consumers but the quality and life span of what you can buy now...

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I grew up in a small town where a factory was a major employer. My dad (Baby Boomer) worked there for his entire career, 30 years. He now lives on the pension. He got lots of paid vacation (I don't remember a time when he got less than 4 weeks per year, and it was 6 for many years) and very good medical benefits, with everything we ever needed being fully covered or having copays of $5 or less!

 

It's a very different story for the generation that is starting to work there now. The benefits are not as good, the paid vacation is much more limited, and the retirement plan is just a 401(k), not a pension. Furthermore, the company forced all of the employees to switch to a rotating shift schedule, so for two weeks you work days, for two weeks you work nights, etc. It's extremely hard on a person's body (not to menion LIFE) to do that.

 

And here's the real kicker. My dad remembers what he was making when he first started working there, and the company is hiring so he knows what the starting salary is there now. When you adjust those numbers for inflation, this generation is earning HALF THE PAY that my dad's generation earned, with less benefits and more grueling hours. Half!

 

The Baby Boomers had the privilege of growing up in an America where people believed that the strength of our nation came from the middle class. For GenX and beyond, it's been a different story. "Trickle Down" economics, CEO's making hundreds of times the salary of their average worker, mass layoffs, shipping jobs overseas, the slow but steady destruction of labor unions -- we're now living in an America that's headed back to the lords and peasants system of the thirteenth century. We are all paying the price so that the wealthiest 1% can get wealthier.

 

And that is why I am really scared for my daughter's generation.

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 Did our parents have to read the fine print?  Of course.  But was it as lengthy and convoluted?

 

Very good point.

 

In general, today we are bogged down with reams of paperwork that past generations did not have to deal with.  It's insane.

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I think the loss of pensions is as great a problem, if not more so, than the college debt problem.  

 

 

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Very good point.

 

In general, today we are bogged down with reams of paperwork that past generations did not have to deal with. It's insane.

I do feel sorry for young people starting out. When I first got an apartment, one simply opened accounts like the electric or phone. We paid a deposit on the apartment but did not have to pay the last month's rent as some must do now. If one is a day late, there are non-trivial fees. In fact, those non-trivial fees seem to snowball after a single mishap.

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I think the loss of pensions is as great a problem, if not more so, than the college debt problem.

Agreed. The combination of having both to deal with is deadly! You don't get a pension, so you have to save for your own retirement. But you graduate with *huge* debt, because college costs have skyrocketed, and you earn less salary then previous generations, and you have to pay more for housing. So you can't save for retirement. You're screwed.

 

That is why it has been on my mind so much that the best thing we can do for our daughter's future is to help her graduate from college without any debt, so that she can start her adult life with as clean a slate as possible. Unfortunately, that may mean a state school instead of a dream school. But I feel she will be better off in the long-run. My parents never considered it part of their responsibility to pay for their kids' college educations. And for that generation, that was not at all unreasonable. But I really don't feel like that is the case anymore. If my daughter is to have any hope of financial security, I really believe we have to help her start her adult life. It's not something most people can do on their own anymore.

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At least Gen Xers were usually able to get jobs after college.

 

I know a lot of Gen X workers who hit the start up lottery big time.

 

Millennials OTOH graduated from college to limited opportunities even for some professional school graduates. It is estimated that it takes something like two decades to make up for graduating in a persistent recession and being underemployed for more than a year after graduation.

 

I am really neither X nor Millenials (some demographers put the late 70s and very early 80s with X and some with Millenials/Y) but I have observed how much better I have had it than people just a touch younger than me.

:iagree:   I'm on the cusp of two generations and really don't hold allegiance to any.  But I feel sorry for the world left to the Millenials.  I know my siblings (quite younger) and their friends are just in limbo.  They have college degrees, they worked hard, but there just aren't jobs there in the fields they were told were "safe" options.  Many are still living at home-it's too expensive to rent or buy a house on any salary they can find, and they're unsure of the stability of the market.

 

Dh (Gen X) because of the economic meltdown lost a lot of his job security and we're way worse off than we would have been.  We were raised being told xyz are fields where you're *guaranteed* a good job.  6 digits, retirement, big house and two cars.  Just do those things.  And we did them...and it's kind of screwed us over.  I told my kids I'm not paying for their college or helping them past 18 unless they get a skill in addition to college.  Farming, welding, CNA, something to fall back on.  I just don't see much job security or how this will turn out for our kids. It's kind of scary to think about.

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Gex Xers also own a lot more crap than their parents.

"We" tend to live in larger houses which we fill with crap that does not last and we feel we have to replace.

"We" drive cars that are more expensive and do not last.

"We" don't grow our own food and eat out more.

"We" don't want to see our kids suffer so they don't work and contribute to the household income.

More of us seem to be sick which requires more healthcare which is more expensive than ever.

All of this chips away at one's income and savings.

I think the article put too much emphasis on college expenses.

 

Sure some people live above their means.  However, I know after searching 1.5 years for a vehicle that we could afford to replace our falling apart van that vehicles just cost more and none of them last because of whatever reason you want to blame-cheaper parts, fiberglass, outsourcing.  Houses?  Old houses are much bigger than most new houses where I've been looking.  And cheaper. ;)  But the heating bills are higher, so in some ways it's smarter or a trade off for the 3,000 sq. ft McMansion if you're looking at heating and cooling costs.  I've seen a HUGE movement towards local food, small farming, and gardening in the younger generations (30s and younger) as well as a growing homestead movement, so I'll disagree to some degree there.  Foods not Lawns is one example.  It's very trendy right now, and that's a good thing!  I know far more people now that garden vs. when I was younger, that's for sure. 

 

I'm not sure how the kids should work towards household income?  We never did that when I was younger.  For pocket money, yes, but not for household income.  Of course one could argue the kids DO do that in farming communities, like here, but I don't think that's how people discuss it.  It's part of just being a member of the household and usually 4H. 

 

But yes, healthcare.  Don't get me started on that monstrosity. 

Borderline gen x millenials here. I don't think we will be as well off as our parents at the same age. Our generation looks wealthier because we can buy a lot of stuff - clothes and stuff are cheap but in terms of paying off a home and affording lessons for the kids and power bills it's tougher. Many of the things our folks did to save don't save much now (sewing, home baking etc).

 

That said I feel we were probably better off as far as housing etc goes than others slightly younger than us, who have to take on crazy mortgages just to get started.

Yup.  We lived off one teacher's income and on paper (long story about parents) did a ton better than my household depending on one teacher's income does now.  The stuff is cheap. The housing market is crazy, though, especially for renters, I'm finding, because so many people either can't buy for awhile after the crash or are wary of doing so again (rightly!). 

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Dh (Gen X) because of the economic meltdown lost a lot of his job security and we're way worse off than we would have been.  We were raised being told xyz are fields where you're *guaranteed* a good job.  6 digits, retirement, big house and two cars.  Just do those things.  And we did them...and it's kind of screwed us over.  I told my kids I'm not paying for their college or helping them past 18 unless they get a skill in addition to college.  Farming, welding, CNA, something to fall back on.  I just don't see much job security or how this will turn out for our kids. It's kind of scary to think about.

 

Maybe this is a difference between the Boomers and Gen X. I was never told these things!  Home ownership was not guaranteed but certainly suggested as something that would be attainable.  My husband, a tail end Boomer, works for a major corporation that was no longer providing traditional pensions when he signed on, although he does have both a pension and a generously matched 401-K. 

 

I do think that our kids need to learn flexibility to move from job to job, field to field, as trends demand.  Which is why we really need to help our kids learn how to save and invest so that they have a cushion on which to fall.

 

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Maybe this is a difference between the Boomers and Gen X. I was never told these things!  Home ownership was not guaranteed but certainly suggested as something that would be attainable.  My husband, a tail end Boomer, works for a major corporation that was no longer providing traditional pensions when he signed on, although he does have both a pension and a generously matched 401-K. 

 

I do think that our kids need to learn flexibility to move from job to job, field to field, as trends demand.  Which is why we really need to help our kids learn how to save and invest so that they have a cushion on which to fall.

 

Oh, we were.  It was talked about in every "career counseling" session in school and teachers and counselors were adamant that a teaching, healthcare, or STEM degree would never be compromised and be guaranteed stability and money (well, college level teaching, but that even public school teachers would always be needed and not have to worry about layoffs).  

 

I agree with flexibility, but after the last bust, I'm wary of investments.  One of my uncles lost pretty much everything. :/

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DH born in 1975, I in 1976. DH's parents paid for his undergrad, grad school was in science so he got a grant. 

 

We are screwed, but not just because of the reasons in this article. I think it is because just as we were hitting our stride (work wise) we got hit with this depression. These are the prime earning years for us and I know my hubby had to get a pay cut. Add to that we have been saving to retirement but there are politicians that want to tax retirement accounts to pay for baby boomers (or older) and the fact that our parents didn't save enough, not to mention we have children that we want to do things for, and we turn into the sandwich generation. Sadly there are not as many of us as there are in the generation before or after us, so we get to be the forgotten generation too. 

 

I could go on but that is enough of my soap box. :yuck:

It wasn't even so much that our parents didn't save that much; it was the destruction of pensions in favor of stock market-dependent IRA's.  We all know what happened there.  The worker got screwed, as usual.

 

My uncle, who retired in the 80's with a full pension from a large company - even though he was just some mechanical repair guy - was able to live well and travel internationally the rest of his life.  The medical benefits they enjoyed helped him take care of his wife in home as she was dying, and be able to keep their home.  It is also true that that post-WWII  generation bought small homes, paid them off and stayed there so they didn't have McMansions to support, unlike my peers.  All of this made a huge difference for them v. us. 

 

The move to IRA's from pensions was a killer, as well as the decrease in medical benefits coupled with the outrageous increase in costs. 

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I grew up in a small town where a factory was a major employer. My dad (Baby Boomer) worked there for his entire career, 30 years. He now lives on the pension. He got lots of paid vacation (I don't remember a time when he got less than 4 weeks per year, and it was 6 for many years) and very good medical benefits, with everything we ever needed being fully covered or having copays of $5 or less!

 

It's a very different story for the generation that is starting to work there now. The benefits are not as good, the paid vacation is much more limited, and the retirement plan is just a 401(k), not a pension. Furthermore, the company forced all of the employees to switch to a rotating shift schedule, so for two weeks you work days, for two weeks you work nights, etc. It's extremely hard on a person's body (not to menion LIFE) to do that.

 

And here's the real kicker. My dad remembers what he was making when he first started working there, and the company is hiring so he knows what the starting salary is there now. When you adjust those numbers for inflation, this generation is earning HALF THE PAY that my dad's generation earned, with less benefits and more grueling hours. Half!

 

The Baby Boomers had the privilege of growing up in an America where people believed that the strength of our nation came from the middle class. For GenX and beyond, it's been a different story. "Trickle Down" economics, CEO's making hundreds of times the salary of their average worker, mass layoffs, shipping jobs overseas, the slow but steady destruction of labor unions -- we're now living in an America that's headed back to the lords and peasants system of the thirteenth century. We are all paying the price so that the wealthiest 1% can get wealthier.

 

And that is why I am really scared for my daughter's generation.

This!  I just wrote similar stuff before I read the responses, and we all are zeroing in on the same problems.  We don't have the corporate world or benefits they had, and our kids have worse options than we do, as a whole. 

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I'll be finishing my BA at 50 or 51. I'm a GenXer. 

 

I think consumerism has been part of what screwed my generation. I used to work at a minimum wage job and have companies mail me credit cards with absurd limits for my income. With no financial training, I was not always wise with spending. It took time to get out of that mess. 

 

I also remember being able to put money in an actual savings account and earn 6-8% interest. It was simple to put away money for apartment deposits and actually earn a little. Now, they are what? 1% for the average. I just looked, it's .15% at a local bank. Yup, we'll save a lot there. 

 

Even after I get my degree, I'm prepared to live a minimal lifestyle to survive. 

 

 

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It wasn't even so much that our parents didn't save that much; it was the destruction of pensions in favor of stock market-dependent IRA's. We all know what happened there. The worker got screwed, as usual.

Absolutely. My husband's healthcare plan got downgraded several years ago to a "don't get sick" plan. The same thing, only worse, has happened with retirement plans. It's not so much a plan as it is "cross your fingers and hope for the best." The stock market is a gamble, not a plan.

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Yep. 

 

Gen X has had it tough here.

 

A lot of us were in the first cohort to pay for university ( no, our boomer parents didn't ). We graduated into a recession. Housing affordability has been declining for as long as I've been an adult. Boomers bloomin' won't retire. Casualisation of the workforce ? Yep. It's shadowed our working lives. 

 

We are doing better than our grandparents - we haven't had to deal with a world war or a depression. But we're not the golden generation, not by a long shot.

 

Why yes, I am a little bitter, thanks for asking :)

Boomers cannot retire.

 

Most cannot make it, thanks to the destruction of pensions, the pittance that is Social Security, and the ridiculous cost of health care. 

Some were naive enough to co-sign for school loans either for their children returning to school or their grandkids.  The jobs still aren't there so guess who they come after for repayment? 

 

It's not that they are fulfilling a lifelong desire to be greeters at Walmart...

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Oh, we were.  It was talked about in every "career counseling" session in school and teachers and counselors were adamant that a teaching, healthcare, or STEM degree would never be compromised and be guaranteed stability and money (well, college level teaching, but that even public school teachers would always be needed and not have to worry about layoffs).  

 

I agree with flexibility, but after the last bust, I'm wary of investments.  One of my uncles lost pretty much everything. :/

 

Maybe the difference is that we didn't really have career counseling!  My husband and I are both Math people so we knew that there would always be some sort of work for us.  I went the teaching route while my husband did computer based things. My husband is a professional engineer (a certification that comes from testing) with a specialty in software engineering.  I don't want to tempt fate by stating it but I do hope that he has guaranteed stability in his profession.

 

But I have never kidded myself by believing that life is stable. We knew petroleum engineers and programmers who could not find a job in this country after living the high life.  Back in the early '90's one of our friends took a temporary job in Saudi Arabia because he could not find anything in the States during the tech recession.  We had friends who took a major hit on a house in Oklahoma during an oil bust.

 

Population shifts have moved teaching jobs but I believe that they are still around.  Unfortunately they are not paying as well as they did formerly in states like mine--and they don't have some of the sweet perks formerly associated with the profession like healthcare in retirement.

 

Healthcare really is the elephant in this room.  Other countries can offer healthcare to all of their citizens for much less than what we pay in the US.  Unfortunately many Americans don't even want to have a civil conversation on the topic--which is depressing.

 

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Absolutely. My husband's healthcare plan got downgraded several years ago to a "don't get sick" plan. The same thing, only worse, has happened with retirement plans. It's not so much a plan as it is "cross your fingers and hope for the best." The stock market is a gamble, not a plan.

Heh, heh.  The "Don't Get Sick" plan. 

 

Yeah, we are on that one too!  ;)

 

Whoever was behind the shift from pensions to IRA's deserves to work in one of those low wage jobs until he is 100. 

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Pensions shifted to 401-Ks with many companies; IRAs are supplemental for us.

 

And I actually love the concept of the Roth IRA.  It takes some savvy to know where to put your money but it is not a bad deal.

 

Just sayin'...

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