Bankrupt generations?

There’s an excellent article in the WSJ about the challenges that retiring baby boomers face as 401(k)s fail to meet their retirement needs.

I don’t know if this can be accessed without an online subscription to the WSJ, so to summarize…buffeted by two major stock market crashes, most baby boomers on the cusp of retirement don’t have close to what they need (median 401(k) for ¬†the 60+ age bracket is about $150,000).

The letters are especially interesting for what they reveal about peoples’ generational attitudes.

As examples of sentiments encountered:

  • The “Greatest Generation” was really a generation of moochers all too happy to fund their retirements and other obligations on the back of the taxpayers.
  • People will need far less income upon which to retire comfortably than financial planners claim (very good back and forth arguments on that point).
  • Baby boomers should stop whining about their plight as it was they who got themselves into it.

I find that last point interesting from the perspective of what it means to be living “paycheck-to-paycheck”. For many people I know, this definition encompasses the need to pay-off massive credit card and other debts accumulated whilst purchasing toys, vacations, entertainment and all other expensive lifestyle expenses that many have come to view as entitlements.

Does this square with your observations, or am I being too harsh?

I ask this because my amazing spouse and I have been fairly heavy savers and have denied ourselves many of these pleasures during the years when we raised children. Yet I know that, inevitably, the gimlet eyes of those who lived high on the hog when times were good but failed to prepare for their future will turn their focus on our savings as the solution to their penury.

UPDATE **********

HT/Sadie

This is too good of a summary not to include in the post:

Thanks, SADIE.