READER REPORT:

Baby boomers caught in the middle

PHIL O'DONOGHUE
Last updated 05:00 08/01/2013

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Every generation has its advantages and disadvantages, its virtues and faults.

As a mid-baby boomer, I'm well over Gen X and Gen Y envy and criticism of the baby boomers.

For a start, the baby boom was spread over a long period so there are variations, eg: early, mid and late baby boomers.

The early ones didn't go to university but the midway ones, like me, had our fees paid and were the first in our families to get the chance at a university education.

That was only possible because of the welfare state our grandparents and parents' generations had built up before and after World War II.

The Gen X gripe about having to take out student loans unlike the baby boomers is a legitimate one.

But many of us tried to fight the other baby boomer Rogergnomes, like Prebble etc, by pointing out that they were denying the next generation the tertiary education they [themselves] had enjoyed, paid for by the preceding generation.

This has saddled Gen X and Gen Y couples with effectively a double mortgage, that is two student loans before they even try to get a home loan or mortgage in an inflated and over-valued housing market.

On the other hand, while the baby boomers were "involved" in fighting for social justice - anti-Vietnam War, anti-apartheid, feminism etc - a lot of Gen X and Y seem more self-absorbed and even more materialistic than the baby boomers.

However, I have to admit that while the baby boomers' parents leave them money in their wills, some seem to have an attitude of "let's blow it all" on overseas trips and let our kids look after themselves.

With Gen X and Y preoccupied with paying off student loans and massive mortgages, it's no wonder economists are worried that the rapidly ageing population may not have enough rest homes or working taxpayers to pay for their pensions.


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