The G.I. Generation – “the greatest generation” – made it through the Dust Bowl, World War II, and the Great Depression. They saw it all, survived it all, and learned from it all.
They knew to save for hard times, to live within their means, to buy only when they had enough cash, and to prepare for the worst.
So, how are the Silent Generation (70-87) and the Baby Boom Generation (52-69) handling finances on their watch?
According to AARP:
• About 600,000 people who are 50 years or older Americans are in foreclosure.
• About 625,000 in the same age group are at least three months behind on their mortgages.
• About 3.5 million — 16 percent of older homeowners — are underwater, meaning the home value has gone down and homeowner now owe more than their homes are worth.
The Baby Boom Generation’s characteristics include materialism, a focus on spending over saving, and an aspiration for luxury items. In other words, they want too much, they spend too much, and they don’t learn from their mistakes.
Silents, though more financially conservative than Boomers, follow the book: if experts tell them to live on a fixed income in one’s later years, Silents take that as gospel. If experts tell them that money, historically, will do better in the stock market, Silents invest like crazy. If experts say muni bonds are safe, Silents consider them risk-free.
Did Boomers and Silents contribute to the hard times they face today, simply because they were too caught up in their own unique generational values, attitudes, and values?
For more on AARP’s stats on U.S. home losses and generations, check out: