Three Hobos Chicago 1929

If you’ve been paying attention, you know that older Baby Boomers are grossly unprepared for retirement. Theirs would be a riveting and tragic story, except that every other generation looks to be in worse shape.


A new report on retirement from the Pew Charitable Trusts points out that Generation-Xers, who are now between 38 and 47 years old (where does the time go?), “lost almost half their wealth” during the Great Recession (2007-2010). The trailing edge of the Boomers (now between 48-57) actually lost more money but a smaller portion of their overall wealth.


Surprisingly, given what others have said about Boomers’ savings, the Pew report says they are in better shape than the generations that came before them. And the generations coming after are screwed. Particularly those aging Gen-Xers, who were supposed to be piling up money for retirement but instead saw their savings collapse.


“The research shows that the youngest groups have less wealth than their older counterparts had at the same ages.” And for Gen-Xers, poor savings before the recession, coupled with an over-sized hit during the recession, exposes them and other “younger groups to the real possibility of downward mobility in retirement.”


The language of the report’s last key finding is even bleaker: “Replacement rate analysis shows that the youngest cohorts will not have enough assets for a secure retirement. Early boomers may be the last cohort on track to retire with enough savings and assets to maintain their financial security through their golden years.” [Emphasis added.]


So heads up, Boomers. The kids will need that money you squirreled away. And they won’t abide letting most of it go to keeping your broken, comatose body alive during the last few months of your life. Don’t have assisted-suicide/right-to-die/end-of-life-choice where you live? Vermont just became the fourth state to allow it. It’ll come soon to a state near you. (And it should.)


Photo: “Three hobos sitting under a covered structure in Chicago, Illinois, 1929″ from the Chicago Daily News via Wikimedia Commons. Text on image reads: “Hoboe’s ‘Jungle’ Under Loop Street.”