Generation Squeeze

I think we can all relate to this, yes?

In the current listless economy, every generation has a claim to having been most injured. But the Labor Department’s latest jobs snapshot and other recent data reports present a strong case for crowning baby boomers as the greatest victims of the recession and its grim aftermath.

These Americans in their 50s and early 60s — those near retirement age who do not yet have access to Medicare and Social Security — have lost the most earnings power of any age group, with their household incomes 10 percent below what they made when the recovery began three years ago, according to Sentier Research, a data analysis company.

Their retirement savings and home values fell sharply at the worst possible time: just before they needed to cash out. They are supporting both aged parents and unemployed young-adult children, earning them the inauspicious nickname “Generation Squeeze.”

New research suggests that they may die sooner, because their health, income security and mental well-being were battered by recession at a crucial time in their lives. A recent study by economists at Wellesley College found that people who lost their jobs in the few years before becoming eligible for Social Security lost up to three years from their life expectancy, largely because they no longer had access to affordable health care.

“If I break my wrist, I lose my house,” said Susan Zimmerman, 62, a freelance writer in Cleveland, of the distress that a medical emergency would wreak upon her finances and her quality of life. None of the three part-time jobs she has cobbled together pay benefits, and she says she is counting the days until she becomes eligible for Medicare.

In the meantime, Ms. Zimmerman has fashioned her own regimen of home remedies — including eating blue cheese instead of taking penicillin and consuming plenty of orange juice, red wine, coffee and whatever else the latest longevity studies recommend — to maintain her health, which she must do if she wants to continue paying the bills.

“I will probably be working until I’m 100,” she said.

As common as that sentiment is, the job market has been especially unkind to older workers.

Tell me about it!

4 Responses to Generation Squeeze

  1. Tom February 3, 2013 at 3:36 pm #

    By the time the food shortages, gas price hike and further bank problems hit everyone by the fall of this year it’ll be a whole new ballgame. No one is safe from the Inquistion! oh, uh, i mean “collapse.”

  2. lless February 3, 2013 at 6:08 pm #

    Now remind me again about why we should increase the retirement age for Social Security and Medicare and prostitute COLAs. Die seniors die!

  3. Not Anonymous, though may as well be February 4, 2013 at 2:02 am #

    Well …it’s certainly not a surprise that the following, John Hopkins Report, . .. UNDER EMBARGO UNTIL NOVEMBER 20, 2012, 12:01 AM ET (per the long form, pdf file)…. never saw the light of day:

    Rate of Suicide by Hanging/Suffocation Doubles in Middle-Aged Men and Women – First paper to examine changes in the method of suicide committed in the U.S. over the past decade


    Increase in Suicide by Hanging/Suffocation in the U.S., 2000–2010

    (and yeah, I did get suspicious when NYC Bloomberg, so very recently, donated that HUGE CHUNK …. to John Hopkins)

    and if one thinks that is horrid, well combine the above with the November 5, Lancet data, …if one can stomach it:

    Increase in state suicide rates in the USA during economic recession.

    And yes, as much of a drag as they are, the “pdfs” are generally …even more …’enlightening’ :

  4. Allie February 4, 2013 at 11:41 am #

    Blue cheese, orange juice, red wine and coffee in vast quantities prolong life? Dang – I’m set! I’ll be a 100 yr-old bag lady with 12 cats.

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