A recent Times article “Old vs. Young” says that a new generation gap is developing, with political leanings aggravated by a widening economic gulf. The political differences started developing around the time of George W. Bush’s re-election, midway through the last decade, after two decades of more common political views and voting patterns. According to the author, current polls say those under 40 will generally support Obama and those over 65 will generally support Romney.
The article continues that both groups have suffered economically in recent years, but the young have suffered more and at the expense of their elders, with the largest gaps in wealth and income between the groups since such records were begun in the 80s. He borrows Warren Buffet’s comment that there really is a class war going on in the country, suggesting that not just the rich, but that the old are winning it.
Meanwhile, Investment News notes that boomers who continue to support their adult kids could be undermining their retirement.
That article quotes a Brookings fellow that children are still many boomer’s largest expense, long after they leave home. This trend has planners concerned since they should instead be saving more for their own retirement. An Ameriprise survey found that 93% of those surveyed provide some support for their adult children, 71% helping pay student loans, 55% allowing children to move back home rent-free, and 53% helping with a car purchase.
Meanwhile, the number of boomers saving for their future dropped from 44% five years ago to just 24%. The article notes that parental support continues as an offset for the slow recovery from the credit collapse and ensuing high unemployment. Clearly there is an income squeeze on both ends of the age scale. Parents, well situated or not, continue to help their children along.
A graph in the Times article indicates that in 2004 about 14% of both the millennial (18-31 this year) and the pre-boomer Eisenhower generation (67-84 this year) were “angry with the government.” In 2011 only 13% of millennials are “angry” while angry pre-boomers have more than doubled to 30%.
One wonders if pre-boomers are angry because they have to bailout their kids along with the banks and auto companies, Warren Buffet doesn’t pay enough taxes, or maybe people just get crabbier when they get older, like Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon. What do you think? How do you feel!