Burn the Boomers

UFOinsider's picture
Rank: Human | 15,660

I'm sure that a lot of you saw this post. It bought to mind a larger concept that has been in the back of my mind for a few years: The Baby Boomer generation is selling everyone out.

How is this happening? And how is it related to young people sitting around diverting themselves with the age old pastimes of games and ferralism? This article very accurately sums up and documents what I'm talking about:
Europe's Screwed Generation and America's

Personally, I was extremely rebellious in my 20's and while I made some very bad mistakes, I realized that you can't trust your elders the way you were taught to. You can learn from them, associate with them, but just never trust them because they're out for themselves. This is deeply saddening, as it is not the natural order of things and is contrary to how I was raised. My understanding is that each generation passes on expertise, resources, and discipline to the next. But this seems not to be the case with the Boomers. After fighting things, I became depressed, and then decided to adopt a ruthless approach to dealing with them. However, the Boomer generation is getting old, weak, and mentally feeble: they couldn't even hold the economy together a few years ago.

The recession was my entry point towards moving to full independance: I saw the industry as overpopulated with increasingly crooked, impotent, and irrelevant tyrants. I don't cry for Lehman, AIG, or Bear as institutions, I welcome their demise and danced on their graves. Hell, I literally walk through the graveyard at the end of Wall every morning as part of a mental excercise to reinforce this point. Had the general system not been at stake, I'd have welcome more failures, it just means less competition for me and and less dead weight to stifle innovation, creativity, and freedom. The recession was a good hard slap in the face of the whole industry, and I welcomed the opportunity to rebuild where they had failed. My own small contribution has been rewarded with sponsorship towards greater opportunity, and I look forward to a future that wouldn't have existed had not some of the dead weight finally died off and the playing field opened up a bit.

Not every area of our society is as open to radical change as finance: unions, academia, government, and many other sectors are hopelessly gridlocked. I can't change the system, and I spent the better part of my 20's fighting it to no avail, so I've moved on. But change is needed.

What's your take on this?

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Comments (15)

Jun 4, 2012

Here's a longer and much more well stated article:
http://www.esquire.com/features/young-people-in-th...

Jun 4, 2012

Lol, dude...

Take it easy on the sugar.

(I learned that from grandma)

Jun 4, 2012

The only thing that breeds more fear/dislike than someone who thinks their industry is a zero-sum game is someone who comes off as very aggressive and sees things that way.

If banking truly is a zero-sum game, I am leaving it. There is always someone smarter and harder working than you, and he will end up with all of the money- albeit a shrinking amount every year- if that really is the case. But I don't think that's the case. I think there's a lot of value to be created in helping investors match liabilities with revenues and technology provides a lot of tools that didn't exist 20 years ago to help do that.

Jun 4, 2012
IlliniProgrammer:

The only thing that breeds more fear/dislike than someone who thinks their industry is a zero-sum game is someone who comes off as very aggressive and sees things that way.

If banking truly is a zero-sum game, I am leaving it. There is always someone smarter and harder working than you, and he will end up with all of the money- albeit a shrinking amount every year- if that really is the case. But I don't think that's the case. I think there's a lot of value to be created in helping investors match liabilities with revenues and technology provides a lot of tools that didn't exist 20 years ago to help do that.

Agree, I've been looking around at alternatives to my original plans since coming here and I'm doing this largely because I have to at this point. Something will open up. In the meantime, I look at the larger world very differently in light of the actual work I do. This trend has been developing for decades and it's been on the fringe of my conciousness for at least 5/6 years, but until now I didn't have the vocabulary to describe it.

EDIT: I came here to make a living. Being liked is a bonus.

Jun 4, 2012

^^^ In order to make a living in this business, unless it's purely trading and you are ultimately smarter than everyone else, folks have to like you.

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Jun 4, 2012
IlliniProgrammer:

^^^ In order to make a living in this business, unless it's purely trading and you are ultimately smarter than everyone else, folks have to like you.

Agreed.

Not sure what this has to do with the original post though...

Jun 5, 2012
IlliniProgrammer:

^^^ In order to make a living in this business, unless it's purely trading and you are ultimately smarter than everyone else, folks have to like you.

^^^ This... The most important thing IP has posted in 2012 so far... SB for you.

Jun 4, 2012

thought this thread was gonna be about my bishes, sometimes i call them the Burnin Boomerz cause their bootys boom so hard it give u a burnin sensation

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Jun 5, 2012

I always supported the theory that the US would eventually come together and solve the demographic problem because "it was going to hit Europe first." The thinking behind this being that the catastrophy in Europe would scare Americans of both the left and the right into making some reasonable reforms, specifically to Social Security. However, even with Europe starting to melt down people cannot even seem to agree to modest reforms such as raising the age at which one can take SS into the mid to late 60s.

Because elderly Americans go to the polls in record numbers, I think two things will happen:

  1. Most defined benefit pension plans, which many older Americans currently enjoy and are planning their retirements around, will not be available for their kids and grandkids. This means that for those of us born between about 1970 and 2000, we will all be responsible for most if not all of our retirements through personal savings and things like IRAs and 401k's.
  2. "Means testing" of social security will gradually become a reality. Why? Because it's politically much easier than raising the retirement age. What do I mean by this? Wealthy people who do not need SS will be much less likely to "fight the good fight" to keep beneifts they do not need while those who were counting on SS will fight to the death against something as small as raising the eligibility age to 65-67.

Eventually, this will all take care of itself (Hopefully). People born from 1970-2000 (or maybe even later) will work later into their lives (many of them probably by choice) and have fewer offspring. Ideally, this will shift the demographic problem the other way and hopefully, once most of the boomers are pushing up daisies, allow for Gen Xers, Yers, and Millenials to make some decent and well needed reforms.

What I often ponder is what will happen when the big tuition bubble pops..... As a service academy grad who paid for his Top 10 MBA with the GI Bill, it's not something I fortunately have to worry about. However, to give an example, a former neighbor of mine just graduated medical school and is $380,000 in debt and most of my future colleagues in finance will probably be reporting to work with somewhere in the neighborhood of $100k. While medicine and IB are well-paying enough to support significant debt, what about all those Ivy League Art History majors?

Jun 5, 2012

I pretty much agree with your take on this. It's unlikely I'd openly state this, but personally, I have lost a lot of respect for that generation and have had to begin the process of dissociating from a lot of the disingenuous values I learned from them. The short-medium term is less than desireable in absolute terms, but ultimately we're free to live our lives as we choose, so it's just a matter of making it work on an individual level.

As for the student loan situation, I really don't know what to think at all. There's a bunch of theoretical possibilities ranging from debt forgiveness, restructuring, etc... all the way down the line to the gov't cutting off access to debt. The problem is very large and multifaceted, so there will probably be many elements to a solution. Hopefully, the general economy will pick up over time and people can work off a large amount of debt. I've looked at so much data at this point that it's a soup in my head that all looks the same, so I really have to take a break from it and get some perspective. If you have any ideas though, I'm interested in hearing them.

Jun 5, 2012

Don't tell Obama, but if he wants to 're-motivate' all those youthful Ivy League hipsters who went to the polls in droves for him when they were bright-eyed idealistic college students with useless majors and are now serving Venti Lattes at Starbucks, but some kind of taxpayer-funded student loan bailout would be an interesting plan.

Jun 5, 2012

I don't hold much contempt for the boomer generation. I read through the Esquire article and I agree that a lot the problems developed from more naive ignorance than malicious intent. However, there is no question that the political system in place now completely gives the younger generation the shaft.

I think there are a decent amount of guys out of college now that feel like they have no direction. I think for a lot of people it makes them try to seek out something purposeful. It may be that feeling that prompted a good number of the "I'm leaving banking" articles written recently. I mean, we've arguably been one of the most "groomed" generations in a long time. There was a blueprint with check points and progress reports guiding us since we could walk. I don't know about everyone on here, but when you spoke with an adult as a kid they could tell you with unwavering certainty exactly what you needed to do to be successful. Here's what you need to do today, so you can do "x" tomorrow, and do "y" three years from now.

Once you get out of school that guidance seems to end abruptly. What, no job? crappy economy? Hey... we prepared you for this, you're on your own now! And to be fair I do feel prepared to handle myself. I've learned a lot that has helped me land a decent job and take care of myself. However, I can distinctly feel that missing sense of certainty. Five years ago I "knew" what I had to do, now, I'm out and realize that everybody is pretty much just as clueless as I am on what the next move should be. I understand that's a part of growing up in general, but lucky or unlucky, our generation didn't grow up learning how to deal with uncertainty.

Now, for whatever "problems" we might have as a generation, I actually think we're going to end up being a major force. If you look at our adult timeline (one that begins when you enter the workforce) we are being forced to deal with some major problem at a relatively young time in our lives. I think this is going to end up making us a lot more responsible and more willing work together to solve the problems that are being dumped in our laps.

Jun 5, 2012

This is a very optimistic outlook, and I just learned a great deal from your post. Thank you.

Jun 5, 2012

Europe's current sovereign financial problems don't stem from demographics, rather from a failed monetary integration without the requisite political / fiscal integration (you can't have the former without the latter and the politicians knew people wouldn't have gone for the Euro if it meant giving up sovereignty over fiscal matters).

I don't see why you can't keep the Social Security scheme going (in the USA or elsewhere)... As long as you have a country that is a going concern (i.e. you're not liquidating the country) and it doesn't fall significantly in wealth / population you can keep the scheme going without issues. The reason being is that it isn't a true ponzi scheme where you need to exponentially grow the number of people that contribute in order to keep going, in reality you're really only carrying the costs of the first generation's benefits without the equivalent contributions and spreading these costs over (often larger) generations far into the future.

Not a bad trade off when you consider the alternatives of inter-generational warfare (you might have big biceps, but granddad has a lot more political power) and euthanasia...

Jun 5, 2012
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