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UNCOMMON SENSE: Help out the babies of the baby boomers
I’ve written before about “old economy Steve,” the Internet’s invention of a stereotypical baby boomer who got a job straight out of high school, worked and progressed under steady employment, and retired with a good pension and a home that’s paid off.
Turns out the stereotype wasn’t just a joke.
According to a new Stats Canada report, older baby boomers in Canada enjoyed long-term job stability throughout their lives, usually working for between three to six private-sector employers and experiencing few layoffs.
Now in their mid-60s, two-thirds of these boomers worked at “long-term” jobs, defined as lasting 12 years or more. A majority worked even longer, 20 years or more, the report says.
To a baby of a baby boomer–namely me–that’s just kind of impossible to wrap your head around.
According to a Stats Canada report from 2006, the so-called Generation X (especially those born between 1972 and 1976) were three times more likely to move back home after leaving the nest.
I’m right in the sweet spot of that one. Born in 1974, I had several false starts to my life, returning to my parents home at least three times following layoffs, recessions and failed careers.
The last one wasn’t too long ago either. In 2007 I moved in with my father while trying to swap the B.C. job market for the one in Ontario.
Those lost years of income in my 20s and early 30s mean that, much like a lot of Generation Xers and now the Ys, I’m farther behind than my parents in terms of savings, credit, and asset accumulation. I have no investments, no stocks, no home equity.
But the crazy thing is that I’m now bankrolling my boomer parents’ retirement through my taxes. And it’s about to get worse.
Referred to as the “Grey Tsunami” by some statisticians, the 2011 census found that today’s taxpayers are carrying nearly five million seniors, or 14.8 percent of Canada’s population. In 1971, the heydays of the boomer generation, that number was eight per cent.
Anticipating this tsunami, in 2011 the federal government raised the age eligibility to receive Old Age Pension to 67 years, following a 32 per cent projected cost increase between 2010 and 2015.
Where the money is going to come from to support Canada’s social security network, including health care and pensions, is a huge unknown, particularly as job scarcity and higher educational requirements have delayed wealth accumulation for today’s youth.
If the boomers want to help their babies, try getting them into a mortgage so they start building equity. Postpone your trip to Europe and babysit your grandkids so both parents can work. And give us some financial advice.
Because at this point we’ll take all the help we can get.