Drunken Speculation

Goddamn Old People, Part II

HamplWipe that shit-eating grin off your face, grandpa.

The last post I did about grey-haired fuckface baby boomers was, quite frankly, surprisingly successful. While we don’t get much traffic through our little blog, Goddamn Old People was the destination for 30% of the blog’s visitors in the month after it was published. It was more popular than the home page. So, like, four people read it.

That got me to thinking about a follow-up.

Last time, I only touched on the ways Gens X, Y and Z were being screwed. Not surprisingly, in the last week, there’s been more attention given to the topic. Not least in my drunken ramblings at the pub but also at MacroBusiness in a post aptly titled The Coming Inter-Generational War.

It’s not an Australian only problem. Compare the American (which features the awesome line “So essentially, you are in favor of genocide of seniors” – boom! And maybe?) and Canadian situations. In fact, it’s worldwide.

To summarise:

  • There will soon be more dependent old people relative to the number of people working in the economy.
  • Many of them are completely financially unprepared for retirement.
  • It will fall on the younger generations to pay to keep boomers at their current standard of living, if not just to keep them alive.

This raises two questions.

old-people-birdWho do we blame?

Baby boomers. I thought I established that last time out.

To be clear, they didn’t do it intentionally but I thought the point of civilisation was that each subsequent generation should do better than the previous. For example, if I was insane enough to want to buy a home, I’d pay twice as much, relative to my income, for the same fucking house in the same fucking location, as a boomer did twenty-plus years ago.

It’s not just houses. Whichever way you look at it, the future is looking pretty grim.

So we know that there is a huge inter-generational wealth transfer in the offing. Maybe it’s time for the baby boomers to put their interests aside and let the next generations come through? Unfortunately, entrenched interests in the media and politics (eye rolls for democracy) mean that, unless the baby boomers insist on making a change at their own expense, then we may need to examine the below.

Eugène_Delacroix_-_La_liberté_guidant_le_peupleWhat do we do about it?

Just imagine the carcasses of defeated old people as a topless chick leads you to victory. In France. Yeah. Awesome.

Moving on…

Before you read the next sentence, imagine I’m sucking my teeth before responding, “Shit son, that’s a tricky one.”

I think the first step is if everybody who is the son or daughter of a baby boomer should sit their parents down and calmly explain the situation to them. Then ask them about their financial plans for retirement. If they refuse to talk about it, kill them now because it’ll save them from what’s coming (see below). If they do talk about it, discuss how they might shore up their account (e.g. save more, sell house, shift retirement fund into bonds and cash) and better prepare for the fact that they won’t be pulling an income soon. If we can get the percentage of people who are financially unprepared for retirement down sufficiently, we might just scrape through.

Failing that, it’s time to take up arms because, as history repeatedly shows, an economically disadvantaged class has no qualms about getting violent (been to Athens lately?). It will be an easy battle, as the twenty- and thirty-somethings will likely carve up senior citizens with the same ease that a teenage boy finds porn online. It is important to remember that, and it must be stressed, this is a battle an aging population cannot win. Once the mob is in charge, who knows what will happen? Makes that awkward conversation about money seem a lot more palatable now.

I’m a little more optimistic than the above would indicate. Likely, there will be some solutions that will ease the burden. The increasingly large role that robotics plays in medicine is one promising avenue. Like global warming, I suspect human ingenuity will win the day but, unless we agitate for it now, no one is going to get off their ass and solve the problem. And if we are to sort it out in time, we must start now.

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