ARBOR WEALTH: Boomers, Bryson, credit cards, and Gloria Gaynor


Margaret McDowell

Published: Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 03:32 PM.

“It took all the strength I had not to fall apart…” from “I Will Survive” Recorded by Gloria Gaynor


A young acquaintance, just graduated from college, recently chided me about what a complete financial failure my generation is compared to others. 

Some of that criticism is probably warranted.  Many of us fell in love with credit cards and created a new genre of individual debt. When Baby Boomers were young adults, our standard of living and level of consumption were incredibly high. As author Bill Bryson says in “Lost Continent,” “That is the great, seductive thing about America-the people always get what they want, right now, whether it is good for them or not.  There is something deeply worrying, and awesomely irresponsible, about this endless self-gratification…”

During our watch American economic power receded for the first time in a century. And soon, China will replace the U.S. as the world’s largest economy.

Well, that’s one perspective. I tend to look at Baby Boomers as the generation who were asked to pay when the bill finally came due. 

Yes, we overspent our credit cards.  But we also subsequently cut them up and downsized our consumption habits, so much so that government was forced to step in and replace declining levels of consumer spending with creative economic stimuli. 

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