April 19, 2019

What Do Baby Boomers Owe Their Kids?

“I’m a 65-year-old member of the Me Generation. I’m writing to people my age and older about the iGeneration — those under 25, often called Generation Z. Many of them worry about their futures and could use help. If we’re to avoid living down to our self-centered nickname, our post-65 narrative must change.

A half-century ago, many of us grew up expecting to work hard and quit at 65, or sooner. With decent pensions and government benefits, we would live on the golf course or the beach for 10, maybe 20 years.

Many of us are retiring before 65 or not returning to work after our children leave. But now many of us will live into our late 80s and 90s. Since we were as young as the iGen is now, average life expectancy in America has risen more than five years, and higher for the most affluent. One reason is Medicare, covering Americans over 65 or disabled.

Now that doctors keep us alive longer, we’re costing far more than our parents and grandparents did. Annual health spending — $2,200 per American in 1970 when we were their age — almost quintupled to more than $10,000 in 2016, after inflation, according to the National Health Expenditure Accounts.”

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