I read an interesting piece last week which addressed some of those realities of the Baby Boomers heading into retirement – they truly are the last generation to do better than their parents, as a rule. And their kids and grandkids serve to bear the brunt of that legacy.

We’ve recently published statistics that explain the severity of this problem, but the truth of that matter is only just now beginning to sink in.

Unfortunately, with everyone collectively doing poorly at present – believe what you will about the exception being elusive 1 percent, though I feel it’s probably true – I don’t think we have the clarity of mind to consider exactly what the financial implications will be of these poorer and lower-producing generations, especially as the Boomers really do begin to crowd the system.

Even better, as outlined in the SmartMoney article, the retiring Boomers are bringing with them a heavy load of extra baggage, including issues we might not have associated with the (once) prosperous and free-spirited Me Generation types:

  • Blaming the kids (who are not getting the inheritance, anyhow): the all-American notion that the kids had to attend a good college to get a good job meant that Boomers’ retirement savings went into post-secondary education for their offspring, a sizeable portion of whom are unable to find jobs with their degrees and have now ended up back at home.
  • False expectations: Considerable percentages of Boomers, who’ve enjoyed unusually healthy lives (at least compared to their own parents) feel that their youthful resilience will continue and that health care costs won’t drastically escalate as they move into their golden years. Such is not the case.
  • A sense of personal disappointment: Sure, they’ve done well for themselves as a generation, but surprisingly, studies show that many Boomers feel things haven’t worked out as well as they hoped, especially as the specter of retirement looms on the horizon.
  • And obesity and perhaps even drug and alcohol problems are a result: Obesity rates for adults aged 50-59 are skyrocketing, compared to the older and younger generations. Admissions to drug and alcohol treatments for Boomer-aged clients are also on the increase.

These in addition to saddling the future generations with debt so astronomical it seems unthinkable to manage.

So as the last generation to (at least somewhat more easily) finally take advantage of those accrued Social Security benefits and pensions as they head into retirement, things might not be quite as rosy as they seem. They are, certainly, better than the prospects facing Generation X and the Millennials, unless they too work to get their acts together. You can be the missing link in helping to make sure this happens.