Starting at a young age, people are told to respect their elders and take care of them. From helping them down the stairs to paying social security, younger generations take on the responsibility to care for older generations. Baby Boomers are a group of people that were born during the time period of 1946 to 1964 (US History). Once Baby Boomers head out of the workforce and into retirement, younger generations will not be able to keep up with what it will take to allow social security to continue.
Life expectancy in the United States has done nothing but increase throughout the years. The implementation of social security did not account for these advances. “When Social Security began in 1935, life expectancy at age 65 was an additional 12.5 years. In 2016, it was an additional 20.7 years for women and 18.2 years for men. By 2030, it is projected to be 21.6 for women and 19.2 years for men” (NASI). As older generations have longer life expectancies, there will be a greater need for social security money.
Since retirement age is constant, younger generations cannot keep up with the demand. The amount of years people need social security will increase drastically, but the volume of money taken from paychecks to go to social security will remain the same (NASI).
As the Baby Boomers start retirement, they begin to lead different lives. With longer life expectancies, they have a lot more time in retirement than previous generations. Medical advances have also facilitated a healthier life during retirement. When Baby Boomers retire, they decide to live extravagant lifestyles that previous retirees could not or would not indulge in.
The parents of the Baby Boomers were raised during the Great Depression time so they tended to live money- saving lifestyles. Retirees from the Baby Boomer age tend to be much more active and enjoy traveling, which causes a much more expensive living situation. During retirement, Baby Boomers have also taken interest in other activities such as public transportation or employment opportunities, which is not free (Investopedia).
Social Security for Baby Boomer retirees can also be compared to current retirees, those born between 1926 to 1935. Many current retirees continue to work in order to live a comfortable lifestyle. Current retirees face a much greater chance of poverty than Baby Boomers will face in retirement. Baby Boomer retirees will have easier access to a comfortable lifestyle during their retirement than the current retirees (SSA).
There have been many theories on how to handle the Baby Boomer social security crisis. One idea stems from the perspective of looking out for younger generations. The Baby Boomer generation can be viewed as very selfish. Baby Boomers started working in a very well market. They were able to earn a very decent living with little to no education. With the education level at a high school diploma, Baby Boomers were still able to lead a stable lifestyle. Compared to current standards where an Undergraduate Degree will not even start to be competitive in the workforce. Baby Boomers have taken advantage of aspects of the country other than the job market. The Baby Boomers used up cheap fossil fuels, non- renewable energy resources, leaving succeeding generations to pay for more expensive resources. The large Baby Boomer group of people also emitted lots of pollution and gas, contributing to global warming. The climate effects will also be left for younger generations to deal with. Along with those expensive outcomes, the current working people have to deal with the responsibility of paying for the Baby Boomer’s social security and healthcare. The financial burdens the Baby Boomers put on the current workers is crippling and will continue to rise as more go into retirement. “If policymakers don’t find the revenue to pay for it all, the CBO projects that the national debt will climb past 100 percent of annual gross domestic product — quadruple its post-World War II low” (Washington Post). Overall, it is estimated that Baby Boomers in retirement will accrue around $200,000 more than what they have put into social security and Medicare (Washington Post).
In all, the more I have begun to understand about the effect the Baby Boomer generation has on social security, I think that generation has put many burdens, especially financially, on the generations following them. I believe the Baby Boomer generation did work hard and not all of these issues are their fault. That generation may not have understood that the fossil fuels they were using would not be able to be replaced. It is also not their responsibility that the workforce has gotten so competitive that more education is required. It is not unfavorable that medical advances have allowed a longer life expectancy. I do believe that it is fair that retirees can lead very extravagant lifestyles, but I do not think it is necessary. The workforce should not have to live a little less comfortable to pay social security for retirees that decide to go traveling around the world.