Author Topic: More "I'll never be able to retire!" hand-wringing  (Read 9398 times)

The Guru

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More "I'll never be able to retire!" hand-wringing
« on: January 10, 2018, 12:17:35 PM »
From the article:

"Gen Xers were derailed by three market downturns — the 1987 stock market crash, the 2000 tech stock meltdown and the 2008 financial crisis. They also were the "first 401(k) generation," which transferred the responsibility to fund retirement from employers to workers. This generation was also more likely to have grown up in a family split by divorce and as latch-key kids, two factors TD Ameritrade says lead to less financial security as adults."

Waaaait a minute...most of us would consider those 3 great opportunities to invest. The oldest Xer's interveiwed would have just started investing around the time of the '87 crash; the youngest wouldn't have even started, eliminating that as an excuse.

FWIW I had just stated getting serious about investing in '87; mysteriously I managed to accumulate a mid-6-figure nest egg despite enduring these same three tragedies.

BTW this is not a critique of Gen Xers; complainypants is complainypants, despite the generation.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/savingandinvesting/a-third-of-gen-xers-say-they-wont-be-able-to-afford-retirement/ar-BBIbyLQ?li=BBnbfcN&ocid=LENDHP

nereo

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Re: More "I'll never be able to retire!" hand-wringing
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2018, 12:57:03 PM »
"Gen Xers were derailed by three market downturns — the 1987 stock market crash, the 2000 tech stock meltdown and the 2008 financial crisis. They also were the "first 401(k) generation," which transferred the responsibility to fund retirement from employers to workers. This generation was also more likely to have grown up in a family split by divorce and as latch-key kids, two factors TD Ameritrade says lead to less financial security as adults."

[Channeling Luke Skywalker] Amazing.  Almost every word of that is completely wrong.

Let's break this down, shall we?
1) Three market downturns 'derailed' investments.
The facts:  Recessions have been occurring for longer than the US has been a country, but the above mentioned recessions were notable for their incredible bull markets which book-ended them.  The biggest economic expansion in history occurred before the 2001 "dot-com" recession, and the most recent expansion is now the second longest in history.  The 1987 crash did not prelude a recession at all. Since most Gen Xers were between the ages of 7 and 25 at the time of the "Black Monday" stock market crash it's a stretch to say this market downturn substantially impacted their long term savings.

2) This generation was also more likely to have grown up in a family split by divorce.
False. This is part and parcel to the urban myth that "50% of marriages end in divorce" or its even more extreme cousin "50% of marriages fail in the first 5 years."  The data refute these myths.  As it turns out, divorce rates from people married in the 1970s (the parents most likely to produce GenXers) and 80s (parents of millennials) are nearly identical, and only marginally different from those married in the 90s or early 2000s. Regardless of the decade, fewer than a quarter of marriages had ended in divorce after a 10 years.
source.

3) "... as latch-key kids".
Unlike the divorce assertion, I have no hard data on this, but neither (apparently) does the author.  Given that 'helicopter parenting' and 'overparenting' both became things for gen-x children, it seem dubious to suggest that kids of this generation were more prone to running around with no supervision when compared to generations past. Social services were called on parents who let their kid walk the four blocks to school alone. In fact, as a member of the tail-end of this generation I remember the societal change where kids suddenly had to always walk with a buddy and you could no longer roam the neighborhood without supervision in contrast to how my older siblings and cousins were raised. Amber-alerts and the National Center for Missing Children both were unveiled during GenXer's adolesence.  We were the first generation that couldn't run around like latch-key kids.

4) "...the first 401(k) generation"
There's a few things wrong with this assertion.  For context, the 401(k) provision was put into place in 1978.  It was rapidly adopted by large firms (and later smaller ones) as it provided a form of employee compensation that cost far less to the employer than simple raises.  But there are two inherently misleading parts to calling GenXers the "first 401(k) generation.  First - most GenXers were young kids (or not even born) when it was implemented; many GenXers did not get their first full-time job until the end of the 1990s, a full two decades after the program began.  Second, it silently suggests that up until this point a company pension provided for most workers' retirement, echoed in the phrase "...transfered responsibility to fund retirement from employers to workers".  This is yet another great retirement myth.  Truth is there has never been a point when a majority of workers were covered by a pension plan. The high-water mark for retired people claiming a pension was in the early 1990s, and was barely over 1/3 of this cohort. Total  pensions income has never averaged above 20% of total income.  Bottom line: there has never been a time when the majority of workers in the US have recieved a pension, regardless of the generation, and at its peak income from a pension was (on average) a fairly small percentage of their total budget.

Laura33

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Re: More "I'll never be able to retire!" hand-wringing
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2018, 06:46:52 AM »
I think the article misses the point about the market crashes:  it is not the market crashes themselves that hurt, it was the fucking recessions.  I believe we've talked here about the newer studies showing that people who graduate into the teeth of a recession tend to earn less over the course of their lives than those who don't.  I think it also affects your mindset:  my whole HS years were marked by the Reagan recession and the factories shutting down, and it very much felt like there were no opportunities.  So when you top that off with finally getting to invest and watching the market crash, I can see why people would have been scared away from the market (in the same way I have heard Millennials have been more focused on saving than on investing given the 2008 crash) -- and at that age, you likely don't have the experience to know you need to buy in just when it seems the most terrifying, or at least hold your course and keep throwing your money in and watching it shrink.

And as an older Gen-X-er, my experience is that the 401(k) thing is absolutely true.  I did not have a 401(k) option until I was 28.  Then I had to wait for a year to be allowed to participate; then I got a good 18 months of 401(k) before I left that job and went to another company.  That company also had a one-year waiting period -- but worse, they still offered a pension (with cliff vesting after 5 years, so I knew I'd never get it), and because of that, they limited my contribution to their 401(k) to 2%-8% of my salary (don't ask me why; the amount scaled up every year I was there).  So in reality, I was not able to fully max out a 401(k) until about 36, simply because my employers had not yet adopted what has now become so common.  That's over a decade of investment lost -- and the most important decade, too, given the power of compounding.  Let me tell you, it is massively easier to save when you can take $18-24K tax-free off the top of your income!  And if your employer kicks in a match (mine never did, ever), that's gravy.

That said, the conclusion is bullshit.  Every generation has its struggles -- and different cohorts within every generation have struggles that make them very different from other cohorts.  I had all the shit mentioned, and yet somehow I managed to be FI before 50 (and would have been before then had I not married spendy DH and let lifestyle inflation take hold).  The vast majority of my generation could be FI and be in a position to retire at a reasonable age had they chosen to live a more frugal life and prioritize savings.  Maybe it means not doing all of the "stuff" that now seems to be expected as a marker of "success" (e.g., I don't know how any normal person in a normal job could fully-fund private college prices).  But life is always about tradeoffs.  Realize that no one has it perfect, make the best choice you have from the specific options available to you, and then don't whine about the consequences.

fattest_foot

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Re: More "I'll never be able to retire!" hand-wringing
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2018, 11:14:14 AM »
4) "...the first 401(k) generation"
There's a few things wrong with this assertion.  For context, the 401(k) provision was put into place in 1978.  It was rapidly adopted by large firms (and later smaller ones) as it provided a form of employee compensation that cost far less to the employer than simple raises.  But there are two inherently misleading parts to calling GenXers the "first 401(k) generation.  First - most GenXers were young kids (or not even born) when it was implemented; many GenXers did not get their first full-time job until the end of the 1990s, a full two decades after the program began.  Second, it silently suggests that up until this point a company pension provided for most workers' retirement, echoed in the phrase "...transfered responsibility to fund retirement from employers to workers".  This is yet another great retirement myth.  Truth is there has never been a point when a majority of workers were covered by a pension plan. The high-water mark for retired people claiming a pension was in the early 1990s, and was barely over 1/3 of this cohort. Total  pensions income has never averaged above 20% of total income.  Bottom line: there has never been a time when the majority of workers in the US have recieved a pension, regardless of the generation, and at its peak income from a pension was (on average) a fairly small percentage of their total budget.

This one drives me crazy, and it's gotten to the point where it's spread so much that people assume everyone used to have a pension. The reality is even when pensions were most prevalent, the majority of the population still didn't have one.

And even then, company provided pensions weren't really a "thing" until the 20th century (they appeared earlier but were pretty rare). So it was mostly the silent generation and a portion of the boomers who were around when they were "widespread." That's hardly enough to feel slighted that they've disappeared. Really, pensions are a blip on the radar. Heck, retirement in general as a concept is incredibly new. We should all feel lucky that the only option isn't to work until you die.

ixtap

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Re: More "I'll never be able to retire!" hand-wringing
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2018, 12:01:24 PM »
4) "...the first 401(k) generation"
There's a few things wrong with this assertion.  For context, the 401(k) provision was put into place in 1978.  It was rapidly adopted by large firms (and later smaller ones) as it provided a form of employee compensation that cost far less to the employer than simple raises.  But there are two inherently misleading parts to calling GenXers the "first 401(k) generation.  First - most GenXers were young kids (or not even born) when it was implemented; many GenXers did not get their first full-time job until the end of the 1990s, a full two decades after the program began.  Second, it silently suggests that up until this point a company pension provided for most workers' retirement, echoed in the phrase "...transfered responsibility to fund retirement from employers to workers".  This is yet another great retirement myth.  Truth is there has never been a point when a majority of workers were covered by a pension plan. The high-water mark for retired people claiming a pension was in the early 1990s, and was barely over 1/3 of this cohort. Total  pensions income has never averaged above 20% of total income.  Bottom line: there has never been a time when the majority of workers in the US have recieved a pension, regardless of the generation, and at its peak income from a pension was (on average) a fairly small percentage of their total budget.

This one drives me crazy, and it's gotten to the point where it's spread so much that people assume everyone used to have a pension. The reality is even when pensions were most prevalent, the majority of the population still didn't have one.

And even then, company provided pensions weren't really a "thing" until the 20th century (they appeared earlier but were pretty rare). So it was mostly the silent generation and a portion of the boomers who were around when they were "widespread." That's hardly enough to feel slighted that they've disappeared. Really, pensions are a blip on the radar. Heck, retirement in general as a concept is incredibly new. We should all feel lucky that the only option isn't to work until you die.

American are pretty short sighted. I know people who think that houses built in the 1970's are too old and too small to raise a family in and who genuinely believe that if you can't purchase a home larger than the one you were raised in, you have lost out on the American dream.

nereo

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Re: More "I'll never be able to retire!" hand-wringing
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2018, 12:07:21 PM »
4) "...the first 401(k) generation"
There's a few things wrong with this assertion.  For context, the 401(k) provision was put into place in 1978.  It was rapidly adopted by large firms (and later smaller ones) as it provided a form of employee compensation that cost far less to the employer than simple raises.  But there are two inherently misleading parts to calling GenXers the "first 401(k) generation.  First - most GenXers were young kids (or not even born) when it was implemented; many GenXers did not get their first full-time job until the end of the 1990s, a full two decades after the program began.  Second, it silently suggests that up until this point a company pension provided for most workers' retirement, echoed in the phrase "...transfered responsibility to fund retirement from employers to workers".  This is yet another great retirement myth.  Truth is there has never been a point when a majority of workers were covered by a pension plan. The high-water mark for retired people claiming a pension was in the early 1990s, and was barely over 1/3 of this cohort. Total  pensions income has never averaged above 20% of total income.  Bottom line: there has never been a time when the majority of workers in the US have recieved a pension, regardless of the generation, and at its peak income from a pension was (on average) a fairly small percentage of their total budget.

This one drives me crazy, and it's gotten to the point where it's spread so much that people assume everyone used to have a pension. The reality is even when pensions were most prevalent, the majority of the population still didn't have one.

Yup, just another case where we are nostalgic for a time-period that never really existed.
What irritates me even more is when people assume a company pension was better than having a 401(k) and IRAs.  Let's examine some very real pitfalls of a pension.  1) your company goes bankrupt (lose your pension, go back to zero). 2) Your company cuts its pension plan (go back 3 spaces). 3) You get laid off before your pension vests (lose your pension, go back to zero) 4) You hate your pension job (choose 1: change jobs and lose the pension, or be miserable until you can retire) 5) company/boss makes you do ...things... you don't want to do. (risk losing your pension or suck it up).
401(k)s hold none of these problems.  We ought to phase out pensions entirely and mandate/allow everyone access to a 401(k).

I would like to comment on something Laura33 said regarding the psychology and lasting effects of recessions.  SHe is of course absolutely right, deep recessions can scare people away from investing for generations.  My parents (boomers) are still wary of very high inflation, even though we haven't seen it in about three decades. My dear departed grandmother kept the lessons of the depression with her through life.  I'd argue that its the millennials (not the GenXers) who's behavior has most been effected by the 'great' recession (and somewhat backed up by the data showing they are more debt adverse and less willing to take on a mortgage).

Rife

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Re: More "I'll never be able to retire!" hand-wringing
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2018, 04:30:06 PM »
Not defending the article at all but want to comment on 3) from above. Latch key kids were a real thing and I was one. Now, it was great really cause what kids want adults around all the time? Women were entering the workforce in far greater numbers and mothers went back to work. There was a period before everyone decided kids can’t be left alone for five minutes where kids went to school with a key ( often hung around their neck ) and just let themselves in the house after school. Parents didn’t even huddle around bus stops when I was a kid. I was born in 1971 for the record.

The stupid part to me is the assumption that becoming overprotective was so much better for millennial kids. Personally I don’t see it having as much effect either way as people want to think.

ixtap

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Re: More "I'll never be able to retire!" hand-wringing
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2018, 04:32:46 PM »
Not defending the article at all but want to comment on 3) from above. Latch key kids were a real thing and I was one. Now, it was great really cause what kids want adults around all the time? Women were entering the workforce in far greater numbers and mothers went back to work. There was a period before everyone decided kids can’t be left alone for five minutes where kids went to school with a key ( often hung around their neck ) and just let themselves in the house after school. Parents didn’t even huddle around bus stops when I was a kid. I was born in 1971 for the record.

The stupid part to me is the assumption that becoming overprotective was so much better for millennial kids. Personally I don’t see it having as much effect either way as people want to think.

I have often wondered how many helicopter parents were themselves latchkey kids.

Fomerly known as something

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Re: More "I'll never be able to retire!" hand-wringing
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2018, 05:43:33 PM »
Not defending the article at all but want to comment on 3) from above. Latch key kids were a real thing and I was one. Now, it was great really cause what kids want adults around all the time? Women were entering the workforce in far greater numbers and mothers went back to work. There was a period before everyone decided kids can’t be left alone for five minutes where kids went to school with a key ( often hung around their neck ) and just let themselves in the house after school. Parents didn’t even huddle around bus stops when I was a kid. I was born in 1971 for the record.

The stupid part to me is the assumption that becoming overprotective was so much better for millennial kids. Personally I don’t see it having as much effect either way as people want to think.

I have often wondered how many helicopter parents were themselves latchkey kids.

I'm proud that I was a latchkey kid.  My Mother feels guilty about it when I mention it for some reason.  Even when I talk about how it helped me to figure out how to problem solve.  (anything too hard just waited until Mom got home.)

nereo

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Re: More "I'll never be able to retire!" hand-wringing
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2018, 07:41:00 PM »
To be clear, what i question is that GenXers were somehow more prone to being ‘latch-key kids’ than any of the previous generations.  THat’s what the author is alleging, and I think its dead wrong.
Near as I can tell, kids of the 50s and 60s (“boomers”) were allowed to roam free through the neighborhood until the dinner bell (in some cases and actual literal bell).

WhiteTrashCash

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Re: More "I'll never be able to retire!" hand-wringing
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2018, 01:26:35 PM »
The real difficulty from those economic downturns is that most Gen Xers didn't have enough savings and investments to weather the storm when the downturns struck and they lost their jobs. Many of them ended up dipping into their retirement savings to stay afloat. We need to remember that most Gen Xers grew up in a time before the internet existed (or at least before it existed in a form that provided free personal finance training). Stuff like "Your Money or Your Life" was out there, but mostly as seminars you paid to attend and most Gen Xers had never even heard of any of that.

Today, it's much easier to survive stock market crashes and recessions, but back in the day it was a little more challenging for the average person.

Laura33

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Re: More "I'll never be able to retire!" hand-wringing
« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2018, 09:39:36 PM »
To be clear, what i question is that GenXers were somehow more prone to being ‘latch-key kids’ than any of the previous generations.  THat’s what the author is alleging, and I think its dead wrong.
Near as I can tell, kids of the 50s and 60s (“boomers”) were allowed to roam free through the neighborhood until the dinner bell (in some cases and actual literal bell).

But the difference is mom was at home then - she may have been taking care of housework or cooking or whatever while the kids ran around the neighborhood, but mom was expected to be generally around.  What set the “latchkey” kid’s apart was, as Rife says, that women were going into the workplace in large numbers, and the kids were coming home on their own to empty houses, because women working (at least MC and UMC women - poor women always worked) in large numbers was a relatively recent phenomenon, and we didn’t have the daycare infrastructure that we do now. 

So, yeah, this was a real thing — I was also one.  And it was usually discussed with the barely-hidden pity and disdain shown in this article (right up there with “broken homes” - another personal fave).  I just don’t see what the hell that has to do with the generation’s ability to save for retirement — I happen to agree that that kind of independence was a feature, not a bug, and that the trend towards hyper-conscious parenting is much more damaging long-term.

Hula Hoop

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Re: More "I'll never be able to retire!" hand-wringing
« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2018, 01:34:25 PM »
To be clear, what i question is that GenXers were somehow more prone to being ‘latch-key kids’ than any of the previous generations.  THat’s what the author is alleging, and I think its dead wrong.
Near as I can tell, kids of the 50s and 60s (“boomers”) were allowed to roam free through the neighborhood until the dinner bell (in some cases and actual literal bell).

But the difference is mom was at home then - she may have been taking care of housework or cooking or whatever while the kids ran around the neighborhood, but mom was expected to be generally around.  What set the “latchkey” kid’s apart was, as Rife says, that women were going into the workplace in large numbers, and the kids were coming home on their own to empty houses, because women working (at least MC and UMC women - poor women always worked) in large numbers was a relatively recent phenomenon, and we didn’t have the daycare infrastructure that we do now. 

So, yeah, this was a real thing — I was also one.  And it was usually discussed with the barely-hidden pity and disdain shown in this article (right up there with “broken homes” - another personal fave).  I just don’t see what the hell that has to do with the generation’s ability to save for retirement — I happen to agree that that kind of independence was a feature, not a bug, and that the trend towards hyper-conscious parenting is much more damaging long-term.

Latch key Gen X kid from a "broken home" here.  I actually felt sorry for my best friend who had married parents and a SAHM always breathing down her neck.  I came home from school and got to watch bad TV, read Nancy Drews and munch on sugar cubes straight from the sugar bowl until my mother got home.  My best friend wasn't allowed to watch terrible TV and had to eat a healthy home made snack while her mother grilled her about her day.  I definitely preferred the freedom I had.

Laura33

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Re: More "I'll never be able to retire!" hand-wringing
« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2018, 10:41:55 PM »
To be clear, what i question is that GenXers were somehow more prone to being ‘latch-key kids’ than any of the previous generations.  THat’s what the author is alleging, and I think its dead wrong.
Near as I can tell, kids of the 50s and 60s (“boomers”) were allowed to roam free through the neighborhood until the dinner bell (in some cases and actual literal bell).

But the difference is mom was at home then - she may have been taking care of housework or cooking or whatever while the kids ran around the neighborhood, but mom was expected to be generally around.  What set the “latchkey” kid’s apart was, as Rife says, that women were going into the workplace in large numbers, and the kids were coming home on their own to empty houses, because women working (at least MC and UMC women - poor women always worked) in large numbers was a relatively recent phenomenon, and we didn’t have the daycare infrastructure that we do now. 

So, yeah, this was a real thing — I was also one.  And it was usually discussed with the barely-hidden pity and disdain shown in this article (right up there with “broken homes” - another personal fave).  I just don’t see what the hell that has to do with the generation’s ability to save for retirement — I happen to agree that that kind of independence was a feature, not a bug, and that the trend towards hyper-conscious parenting is much more damaging long-term.

Latch key Gen X kid from a "broken home" here.  I actually felt sorry for my best friend who had married parents and a SAHM always breathing down her neck.  I came home from school and got to watch bad TV, read Nancy Drews and munch on sugar cubes straight from the sugar bowl until my mother got home.  My best friend wasn't allowed to watch terrible TV and had to eat a healthy home made snack while her mother grilled her about her day.  I definitely preferred the freedom I had.

I still remember the day my stepdad came home from work and found me on the roof. He was a very mild-mannered man, and I don’t think I ever remember seeing him that mad before or after (because, of course, I scared the crap out of him, and I pretty much failed to see what the big deal was — I mean, it wasn’t that steep). :-)

StarBright

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Re: More "I'll never be able to retire!" hand-wringing
« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2018, 08:46:43 AM »
To be clear, what i question is that GenXers were somehow more prone to being ‘latch-key kids’ than any of the previous generations.  THat’s what the author is alleging, and I think its dead wrong.
Near as I can tell, kids of the 50s and 60s (“boomers”) were allowed to roam free through the neighborhood until the dinner bell (in some cases and actual literal bell).

But the difference is mom was at home then - she may have been taking care of housework or cooking or whatever while the kids ran around the neighborhood, but mom was expected to be generally around.  What set the “latchkey” kid’s apart was, as Rife says, that women were going into the workplace in large numbers, and the kids were coming home on their own to empty houses, because women working (at least MC and UMC women - poor women always worked) in large numbers was a relatively recent phenomenon, and we didn’t have the daycare infrastructure that we do now. 

So, yeah, this was a real thing — I was also one.  And it was usually discussed with the barely-hidden pity and disdain shown in this article (right up there with “broken homes” - another personal fave).  I just don’t see what the hell that has to do with the generation’s ability to save for retirement — I happen to agree that that kind of independence was a feature, not a bug, and that the trend towards hyper-conscious parenting is much more damaging long-term.

^^^^ to the bolded.  Both of my parents were latch-key kids in the 60s because their mothers had to work to pay the bills. We were straight up middle class growing up and I was home unattended for about an hour in the afternoon's during middle school (I am right on the cusp between X and Millennial and everyone in our blue collar neighborhood was a latch-key kid). The pearl grasping on the latch-key kids seems to be a decidedly upper middle class phenomenon.

But maybe when UMC people see their children struggling in the world they just need to look for some explanation and working mothers is certainly a popular drum to bang for a portion of that population.

mm1970

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Re: More "I'll never be able to retire!" hand-wringing
« Reply #15 on: January 16, 2018, 12:40:42 PM »
To be clear, what i question is that GenXers were somehow more prone to being ‘latch-key kids’ than any of the previous generations.  THat’s what the author is alleging, and I think its dead wrong.
Near as I can tell, kids of the 50s and 60s (“boomers”) were allowed to roam free through the neighborhood until the dinner bell (in some cases and actual literal bell).

But the difference is mom was at home then - she may have been taking care of housework or cooking or whatever while the kids ran around the neighborhood, but mom was expected to be generally around.  What set the “latchkey” kid’s apart was, as Rife says, that women were going into the workplace in large numbers, and the kids were coming home on their own to empty houses, because women working (at least MC and UMC women - poor women always worked) in large numbers was a relatively recent phenomenon, and we didn’t have the daycare infrastructure that we do now. 

So, yeah, this was a real thing — I was also one.  And it was usually discussed with the barely-hidden pity and disdain shown in this article (right up there with “broken homes” - another personal fave).  I just don’t see what the hell that has to do with the generation’s ability to save for retirement — I happen to agree that that kind of independence was a feature, not a bug, and that the trend towards hyper-conscious parenting is much more damaging long-term.

^^^^ to the bolded.  Both of my parents were latch-key kids in the 60s because their mothers had to work to pay the bills. We were straight up middle class growing up and I was home unattended for about an hour in the afternoon's during middle school (I am right on the cusp between X and Millennial and everyone in our blue collar neighborhood was a latch-key kid). The pearl grasping on the latch-key kids seems to be a decidedly upper middle class phenomenon.

But maybe when UMC people see their children struggling in the world they just need to look for some explanation and working mothers is certainly a popular drum to bang for a portion of that population.
My dad's first wife died when she was 29, leaving a passel of latch-key kids, aged 11 down to 2.  For 7 years until he married my mom.

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Re: More "I'll never be able to retire!" hand-wringing
« Reply #16 on: January 17, 2018, 09:04:12 AM »
Not defending the article at all but want to comment on 3) from above. Latch key kids were a real thing and I was one. Now, it was great really cause what kids want adults around all the time? Women were entering the workforce in far greater numbers and mothers went back to work. There was a period before everyone decided kids can’t be left alone for five minutes where kids went to school with a key ( often hung around their neck ) and just let themselves in the house after school. Parents didn’t even huddle around bus stops when I was a kid. I was born in 1971 for the record.

The stupid part to me is the assumption that becoming overprotective was so much better for millennial kids. Personally I don’t see it having as much effect either way as people want to think.

I have often wondered how many helicopter parents were themselves latchkey kids.

I'm proud that I was a latchkey kid.  My Mother feels guilty about it when I mention it for some reason.  Even when I talk about how it helped me to figure out how to problem solve.  (anything too hard just waited until Mom got home.)

Yep. I was in my mid twenties (or around) when I found out that the term isn't a positive one. I always understood it to be something to be proud of: "My kid got an A, scored a goal and is a latchkey kid!"

Walking too school and home I always made sure the key was visible. I was damn proud of being given the responsibility.

Just Joe

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Re: More "I'll never be able to retire!" hand-wringing
« Reply #17 on: January 18, 2018, 01:00:21 PM »
That's how I looked at it too. I figured my parents trusted me not to burn down the house nor kill my sibling. I did neither and had a fair track record (perhaps 70%) of getting my few chores done before the parents got home.

Our kids today are still latchkey kids. Still no fires nor medical events. We are perpetually out of snacks though.

Just like everything else there are kids I would trust to do this and kids I wouldn't turn my back on. I grew up knowing a few kids who were (ir)responsible for some real whopper events.

I figure every generation has a few topics that get alot of attention. As a GenX'er finding a Playboy magazine was quite a moment for many adolescent boys. Now people give their tween kids a device that connects to the web where anything and everything is available to their dear little Snuggle Bunnies. Some of these parents still won't trust their children to walk to the park alone.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2018, 01:04:57 PM by Just Joe »

SugarMountain

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Re: More "I'll never be able to retire!" hand-wringing
« Reply #18 on: April 04, 2018, 09:51:06 AM »
From the article:

"Gen Xers were derailed by three market downturns — the 1987 stock market crash, the 2000 tech stock meltdown and the 2008 financial crisis.

As an older Gen X'er (50), I was only 20 and in college when the '87 crash happened.  I seriously doubt very many, if any Gen X'ers had much money in the market when the '87 crash happened.  As you say, it was a buying opportunity.  Even the '00 meltdown, Gen X'ers were only in mid 20s to mid 30s and probably didn't have much in the market.  By 2008, we were into prime earning years and were hopefully buyers in the market.

Honestly, I think those three crashes probably had a much bigger impact on Boomers.  They'd have been in their 40s, then 50s, and finally about to retire in 2008.  I am sure we Gen X'ers will have a couple more major crashes in our lifetimes.  Heck, seems like one might be knocking on the door right now.

I had a 401k (and a pension!) from day 1 of my first job out of college and fortunately recognized that it made sense to put in enough to get full match.  Sadly, I didn't fully understand the implications of taking the cash payout for the pension when I left the job, so I didn't roll the money into an IRA and got dinged with penalties.

sherr

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Re: More "I'll never be able to retire!" hand-wringing
« Reply #19 on: April 04, 2018, 01:09:11 PM »
2) This generation was also more likely to have grown up in a family split by divorce.
False. This is part and parcel to the urban myth that "50% of marriages end in divorce" or its even more extreme cousin "50% of marriages fail in the first 5 years."  The data refute these myths.  As it turns out, divorce rates from people married in the 1970s (the parents most likely to produce GenXers) and 80s (parents of millennials) are nearly identical, and only marginally different from those married in the 90s or early 2000s. Regardless of the decade, fewer than a quarter of marriages had ended in divorce after a 10 years.
source.

Well I know this comment is old and this is not the main thrust of the thread, but FYI it's not that the "myths" are "wrong" it's just that you're counting different things. Roughly 50% of marriages do end in divorce (although if that has been dropping in recent decades, then great!), and roughly 70% of marriages begun in the 90s survive to their 15th anniversary. Both are true. The reason they're not contradictory is that people can get married / divorced more than once.

Just listen to the language in the statistics quoted at this divorce lawyer's website (I know, consider the source, but still):

Quote
Median duration of first marriages that end in divorce:
Males: 7.8 years
Females: 7.9 years

Median duration of second marriages:
Males: 7.3 years
Females: 6.8 years

It is entirely possible for only 30% of the population to ever get divorced and for 50% of marriages to end in divorce. As usual with statistics the perspective through which you look at the numbers matters a lot.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2018, 01:10:42 PM by sherr »

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: More "I'll never be able to retire!" hand-wringing
« Reply #20 on: April 25, 2018, 01:06:17 AM »
Yep, I had all that, but the main thing for me was that the year I left tertiary education was the highest unemployment that my country has had. It took me years and years to get any traction in employment in an area in which I could earn decent money, and it had very little to do with my tertiary education. Most people of my age in this country were in a similar position, and we are REALLY behind the people who came a few years before or after us. It's how you handle things, though, innit?

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: More "I'll never be able to retire!" hand-wringing
« Reply #21 on: April 25, 2018, 01:57:38 AM »
Sorry, but this is garbage masquerading as 'journalism'.

Quote
The TD Ameritrade survey included 828 Gen Xers and 990 Baby Boomers.

I am squarely Gen X and the 1987 'Black Monday' referenced did not affect myself nor my family in any appreciable way.  I know it was bad for Wall Street, but the quick recovery meant it was hardly noticed by a Baby Boomer family.  The 2000's affected Gen X because it was a massive drop in the super-hot, tech-heavy NASDAQ, but the S&P did OK.  The only real point in the article that makes sense is that the 2007 - 2009 market drop ('2008 Financial Crisis') actually was a temporary setback for everyone. 

But there are no logical conclusions drawn between the earlier market returns and later low savings.  Maybe the 2000 people surveyed disproportionately represented an unfavored industrial area or housing market.  There is literally no way to know from this article.

If they don't really connect the big dots, how can I trust their results of a tiny survey (probably taken in a short time and small area) being representative of much of anything?   

Roadrunner53

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Re: More "I'll never be able to retire!" hand-wringing
« Reply #22 on: April 25, 2018, 06:25:07 AM »
There is always a car at the end of a development that I live on the corner of at 6:15 am. It is the time I seem to need to let the dogs out front on a rope. My one dog doesn't like the car sitting there waiting for the bus. So yesterday I am curious on this car and kid(s) waiting for a bus this early in the morning. Well, I see the bus approaching and the kid gets out of the car. The kid is about 6 feet tall! His mother drives him from up the hill where they live to the bus stop. It is not that far of a walk and it was daylight, warm and no snow or rain and all downhill! He looked perfectly healthy. Why can't these moms tell the kids to walk to the bus stop? It also wasn't like this kid was a first grader! I am assuming he was on an early bus to go to a Technical school in a town that is about 20 miles away. One of my neighbors kids did that a few years ago. I had not paid attention to this car or kid before but was quite shocked to see that a big ass kid was being driven just a short distance to a bus stop! Helicopter Mom???

nereo

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Re: More "I'll never be able to retire!" hand-wringing
« Reply #23 on: April 25, 2018, 07:10:48 AM »
There is always a car at the end of a development that I live on the corner of at 6:15 am. It is the time I seem to need to let the dogs out front on a rope. My one dog doesn't like the car sitting there waiting for the bus. So yesterday I am curious on this car and kid(s) waiting for a bus this early in the morning. Well, I see the bus approaching and the kid gets out of the car. The kid is about 6 feet tall! His mother drives him from up the hill where they live to the bus stop. It is not that far of a walk and it was daylight, warm and no snow or rain and all downhill! He looked perfectly healthy. Why can't these moms tell the kids to walk to the bus stop? It also wasn't like this kid was a first grader! I am assuming he was on an early bus to go to a Technical school in a town that is about 20 miles away. One of my neighbors kids did that a few years ago. I had not paid attention to this car or kid before but was quite shocked to see that a big ass kid was being driven just a short distance to a bus stop! Helicopter Mom???

dunno... but maybe there's more going on there. As stupid as it might seem to us outsiders, this could be the one time where mom gets to spend a few minutes alone with her child that's rapidly becoming more independent. Or maybe the kid's acting out and has been skipping school, and she's doing this to ensure he at least gets on the bus (at which point the school shares some of the burden if he ditches).
could be lots of things. 
I wonder why she just doesn't walk with him though (on her way to work? or just lazy?)

Laura33

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Re: More "I'll never be able to retire!" hand-wringing
« Reply #24 on: April 25, 2018, 07:34:08 AM »
Yep, I had all that, but the main thing for me was that the year I left tertiary education was the highest unemployment that my country has had. It took me years and years to get any traction in employment in an area in which I could earn decent money, and it had very little to do with my tertiary education. Most people of my age in this country were in a similar position, and we are REALLY behind the people who came a few years before or after us. It's how you handle things, though, innit?

So you graduated in 1982-1983?  https://tradingeconomics.com/united-states/unemployment-rate.

I don't want to get into the whole "who had it worst" thing; honestly, the 2008 recession was horrible, and it was especially horrible for new grads.  But I do get very frustrated with "we had it harder than anyone else" -- because the reality is, I knew a ton of people back in the '80s who could write exactly what you wrote here.  And my generation then benefited from a huge market run over the next @15 years; yours may as well.  In the end, your last line is exactly the right conclusion:  every generation has its own significant challenges; how you make out in the end is largely related to how you handle them. 

Roadrunner53

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Re: More "I'll never be able to retire!" hand-wringing
« Reply #25 on: April 25, 2018, 08:54:37 AM »
There is always a car at the end of a development that I live on the corner of at 6:15 am. It is the time I seem to need to let the dogs out front on a rope. My one dog doesn't like the car sitting there waiting for the bus. So yesterday I am curious on this car and kid(s) waiting for a bus this early in the morning. Well, I see the bus approaching and the kid gets out of the car. The kid is about 6 feet tall! His mother drives him from up the hill where they live to the bus stop. It is not that far of a walk and it was daylight, warm and no snow or rain and all downhill! He looked perfectly healthy. Why can't these moms tell the kids to walk to the bus stop? It also wasn't like this kid was a first grader! I am assuming he was on an early bus to go to a Technical school in a town that is about 20 miles away. One of my neighbors kids did that a few years ago. I had not paid attention to this car or kid before but was quite shocked to see that a big ass kid was being driven just a short distance to a bus stop! Helicopter Mom???

dunno... but maybe there's more going on there. As stupid as it might seem to us outsiders, this could be the one time where mom gets to spend a few minutes alone with her child that's rapidly becoming more independent. Or maybe the kid's acting out and has been skipping school, and she's doing this to ensure he at least gets on the bus (at which point the school shares some of the burden if he ditches).
could be lots of things. 
I wonder why she just doesn't walk with him though (on her way to work? or just lazy?)

Yes, there could be more to the story or maybe not. I just remember I used to walk to school till I was in the 5th grade. No matter the weather. Poor little kid in a Catholic school jumper hauling a dang book bag that the books weighed 50 lbs! No roller bags back in the day! When we moved and I got to ride the bus, I was so happy! A friend of mine has grandchildren that one kid is in first grade and they pick her up rather than letting her ride the bus. Reason being is that it is a 10 minute ride from school to house and it would be an hour on the bus. My feeling is that the kid may learn some independence by riding the bus. What do I know...

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: More "I'll never be able to retire!" hand-wringing
« Reply #26 on: April 25, 2018, 09:22:56 AM »
Yep, I had all that, but the main thing for me was that the year I left tertiary education was the highest unemployment that my country has had. It took me years and years to get any traction in employment in an area in which I could earn decent money, and it had very little to do with my tertiary education. Most people of my age in this country were in a similar position, and we are REALLY behind the people who came a few years before or after us. It's how you handle things, though, innit?

So you graduated in 1982-1983?  https://tradingeconomics.com/united-states/unemployment-rate.

I don't want to get into the whole "who had it worst" thing; honestly, the 2008 recession was horrible, and it was especially horrible for new grads.  But I do get very frustrated with "we had it harder than anyone else" -- because the reality is, I knew a ton of people back in the '80s who could write exactly what you wrote here.  And my generation then benefited from a huge market run over the next @15 years; yours may as well.  In the end, your last line is exactly the right conclusion:  every generation has its own significant challenges; how you make out in the end is largely related to how you handle them.

I live in NZ - it was 1988. Totally agree with you, however. There were whole generations who lost countless opportunities to war, for example. Pretty glad I didn't have that particular issue. What I learned from my years of 'starvation in the wilderness' was more valuable than money would have been. Now that I make a decent wage, my operating expenses are so habitually low that I can save more than half my income without batting an eyelid.

SwordGuy

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Re: More "I'll never be able to retire!" hand-wringing
« Reply #27 on: April 25, 2018, 11:11:31 AM »
Yep, I had all that, but the main thing for me was that the year I left tertiary education was the highest unemployment that my country has had. It took me years and years to get any traction in employment in an area in which I could earn decent money, and it had very little to do with my tertiary education. Most people of my age in this country were in a similar position, and we are REALLY behind the people who came a few years before or after us. It's how you handle things, though, innit?

So you graduated in 1982-1983?  https://tradingeconomics.com/united-states/unemployment-rate.

Me too.  Throw in child support and raising a kid with Downs Syndrome at 1/3 median family income.  Cry me a river.

Damn near everybody has had it hard at some point.

And yet here I am retiring earlier than normal as a millionaire.   

And I could have done it 15 years faster if I had a clue of how to go about it - or even that it was possible.

Or with a tad of luck, I could have gone from 1/3 median family income to millionaire before I hit median family income.  It was that close - close enough to have arranged for a $3 million line of credit had I been awarded the contract.   

The biggest obstacle to success in this country is a lack of imagination as to the possibilities that are all around us.

The second biggest obstacle is not doing the work to make the possibilities happen.