Are Younger Generations Better Prepared than Boomers for Retirement?

by Kay Lynn

Bomb Shelter

Although the baby boomer generation may have the largest number of people, it does not dominate the blog world. At a recent blog conference I was trading elevator pitches about our blogs with another attendee.  Then she asked a question that stopped me cold.

Do you think younger generations are more prepared for retirement?

After a moment of reflection I answered: Yes.

Post-War Prosperity

Baby Boomers were brought up in the post-World War II Eisenhower and Kennedy years.  This was a time of great prosperity and technological advances in America and we thought it would never end.

Our biggest worry was the threat of communism so the ultimate in home perks was a bomb shelter.  Spending was plentiful after the lean years of the war and most kids of my generation didn’t lack necessities (plus we had the wonders of television and TV dinners).

There were more than enough jobs to go around as most women had left the job force and became stay at home moms. Some of us thought American life would always be so rich and plentiful.

Younger generations know more about hardship and economic decline.  They know there won’t always be unlimited growth and understood at an earlier age that there is a global economy.

The Decline of Pensions

401Ks and 403Bs didn’t exist until well into adulthood for baby boomers.  Our parents stayed at the same job for most of their lives and retired with an employer-sponsored pension.

There was no education at home or school on how to prepare for retirement.  We’re the retirement planning sandwich generation.

We grew up with expectations of pensions.  Today, rare is the person that stays at one job and just as rare is a pension.

I didn’t realize it was up to me until I was in my mid-30’s (slow learner).  My young co-workers know they need to start stashing it away now and understand the power of compounding and time.


The oldest of my generation are turning 65 next year and the youngest are approaching 50.  We are living the reality of retirement preparation every day.  In our roles as parents, educators, mentors and bosses we’ve taught the younger generations.  They have the benefit of our experience and that’s a good thing.

Do you think your generation is better prepared for retirement planning?

photo credit: tj.blackwell

Content © Bucksomeboomer  2009-2010. All Rights Reserved.

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Mysti August 16, 2010 at 3:07 pm

Yes and no. How’s that for commitment!!??

Yes – there has been more education to the younger generations (I am right at the very tail end of Gen X) that it is necessary to save for retirement, that pensions and Social Security are not guarantees. The knowledge base of HOW to save for retirement is there.

No – my generation is also the I WANT IT NOW generation. Waiting isn’t in the vocabulary. Clothes, toys, houses, vacations….why sacrifice these things NOW? More and more people have dipped into their 401k, equity in their homes, etc, in order to either have it now, or to try and pay off what they wanted last year. The savings deplete. Then what???

Kay Lynn August 20, 2010 at 5:33 am

Mysti, yes there is gray in life:)

I think your generation wants it now because my generation (in general) spoiled our kids. So, the bottom line is that your generation has the know-how but difficulty putting it in action. That’s a common human situation. I know how to lose weight and eat healthy but can’t consistently doing it. I keep trying though and we need to do that with financial issues as well.

Money Reasons August 18, 2010 at 4:31 pm

I think the younger generation isn’t. I think the are more aware of the matter and more knowledgeable, but less prepared.

One of the reasons they are less prepared is because most will not have pensions. Pensions was a great perk!

Another reasons is a lot of the high paying jobs are going overseas to cheaper labor.

So while they may be more knowledgeable about the matter, they are definitely in a worse financial situation.

Hopefully, that will change someday in the future 🙂

Kay Lynn August 20, 2010 at 5:38 am

Money Reasons, many boomers don’t have a pension either (other than social security), myself included. Good point about high-paying jobs. The boomers have overall had good jobs with benefits our entire careers.

Pretty Unfamous August 23, 2010 at 10:13 pm

Looking at my parents (47 and 53), I would say I will be more prepared for retirement at their age than they are currently. As far as I know, my dad has NO retirement, but my mom has a nice little bit. However, my mom gets into credit card debt pretty easily and then borrows AGAINST her retirement to pay it off–I know this isn’t a good cycle whatsoever. My dad RARELY uses a credit card, has never had a checking account, and has been unemployed for the past two years.

At 23, I just started my first real job two months after I graduated college, and I already have money taken out of my paycheck every month to put into my work’s 457 retirement plan. Since I’m used to living like a poor college student, I figure whatever money gets taken out before I see my paycheck won’t hurt me–it’ll only work FOR me in the long run. I’m looking forward to that =)

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