Friday, September 25, 2015

Have We Given Up on Living the American Dream? ... Too Many Gen Xers (Young Americans in Their 30s and 40s) Have Resigned Themselves to a Lifetime of Debt and Government Dependence in Their Retirement Years ... That's Not Smart and Must Change

The FUD factor (fear, uncertainty and doubt) is unfortunately very much an integral part of living in present day America.

Have We the People thrown in the towel and given up on realizing the American dream for ourselves, our children and future Americans?

Have we decided to forfeit the belief in self reliance and instead decided to depend on government for such things as 'free' college, government provided health care and complete dependence on government determined Social Security benefits to meet nearly 100% of our income needs in retirement?

Well, it sure seems that way these days as the economy continues to struggle, and politicians of all stripes continue to avoid the real government dependence, economic, globally job related and educational issues. Meanwhile, we have become less competitive globally and are losing manufacturing jobs due to a weak global economy. And to top if off, debt levels are historically high, both for individuals and our nation as a whole.

For the job loss example du jour, see Caterpillar Cuts Jobs, Revenue Outlook which is subtitled 'Equipment maker projects 10,000 job cuts, revenue falling for record fourth-straight year.'

And as an integral part of this weakened economy and growing debt driven defeatist attitude in America contributing to less self reliance and increased government dependence, many of our younger Americans in their 30s and 40s have already given up on leading a responsible life financially. That has to change.

These Americans have yet to recover from the recession discusses these rather negative views of Gen Xers about saving and investing for the future:

"The Great Recession is officially over, but one group of Americans is struggling to leave it behind.

Members of Generation X, defined by most demographers as those born between 1965 and 1980 and now in their 30s and 40s, are carrying higher debt, “and appear to be remarkably complacent about its implications for their financial future,a new survey by Allianz Life Insurance of 2,000 Gen Xers and baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1964 with a minimum household income of $30,000 a year. . . .

The recession came at a bad time for Gen X respondents, who said they feel more hopeless about their ability to achieve retirement goals and about their overall financial situation . . . .

Although each generation feels their circumstances have been tougher to manage, more than two thirds (67%) of Gen Xers agreed with the idea that suggested targets for how much is needed to retire are way out of reach versus less than half of baby boomers (49%).

As a result, members of Generation X have become accustomed to their debt. “More Gen Xers are seeing debt as a necessary way of life,” the study concluded. Around 20% of that group believes that going into debt to handle day-to-day purchases is “just a fact of life” versus only 14% of boomers. When asked which financial philosophy they preferred, half of Generation X members surveyed said “enjoy and live for today” versus only 39% of baby boomers, with the majority of baby boomers (61%) choosing “save and plan for tomorrow.”

One major reason for the difference? The housing bubble. Rising home prices helped build wealth for those who bought homes before the year 2000. But in the mid-2000s, at the height of property bubble, many in Generation X bought their first home just in time for the collapse of that market ....

Bottom line: “Living with debt has become a way of life for both Generation X and baby boomers as the stigma of owing money is gradually disappearing,” the researchers found. Nearly half (48%) of both generations agree that credit cards now function as a survival tool.

But Gen Xers reported carrying 82% more nonmortgage debt (student loans and credit cards) than baby boomers. . . . (Of course, millennials are also more likely to have more student debt than their older cohorts.)

But Generation X and baby boomers agree on one thing: An overwhelming number of both boomers and Generation X — 84% and 92%, respectively — agree there is a retirement crisis and both groups reported being heavily impacted by the 2008 crash. (Millennnials were in high school or college, or just starting their careers during the economic crisis, and obviously have more time to save for retirement.) And Generation X and boomers surveyed also agree that it’s been much harder for Generation X to keep a job or plan for retirement.

More than 84% from both generations said they feel that a retirement starting at age 65 spent “doing exactly what you want” is now unrealistic."

Summing Up

It's tough out there for too many Americans these days, and especially for those in their 30s and 40s.

Individual debt burdens are excessive and the young among us believe that they have no realistic chance of liquidating those debts anytime soon, if ever.

But it's definitely not a smart thing for us to give up on a life of financial self reliance and instead opt to rely completely on Social Security and other government entitlement programs.

To repeat, choosing to place our financial future in the hands of government 'leaders' while we 'live only for today' and take on excessive individual debt burdens are definitely not smart moves.

If We the People will take the time to talk to each other, stick together, work hard, believe in the possibility of both a solid and inexpensive education, and plan for the future while living in the present, together we'll achieve the American dream.

And in time this current period of FUD factor related gloom and doom shall prove to have been a painful but passing thing.

That's my take.

Thanks. Bob.

No comments:

Post a Comment