Baby boomers

I didn’t know I was a baby boomer. Amazing the things you learn in your fifties.

To me baby boomers were 60s babies, maybe something to do with the whole idea of sex and hippies.

But a bit of research as ever, shows differing timescales for baby booms. While it may well be a post world war two boom, ie from 1946 onwards, the end point varies hugely.

So, as America rules the world, it’s commonly taken to be the American model of 1946-1964. And because this is all-American, those born after 1954 apparently are different, Generation Jones. Huh? I’m so not up on these generation Jones, X, Y and Z….

While Canada (end of boom 1965) and Aus and NZ (end of boom 1961) may have followed a similar pattern, those of us in Europe did not.

For once the UK had something in common with France, we ended our boom in 1974 together. Ah, that must be why I thought boomers were post 60s. The Netherlands were close behind us, finishing in 1972. And for some reason Iceland ended in 1969.

On the other hand, the reserved Scandinavian nations of Finland, Sweden and Denmark had an extremely short boom. Too cold maybe? But Denmark and Finland only managed 1945/6 – 1950, and Sweden struggled on a bit longer from 1946 – 52.

So, baby booms mean different times to different countries. I’m explaining this because I have readers from different countries.

Having finished the statistical preamble, let’s get on to the nitty gritty.

The reason I discovered I was a baby boomer (my partner didn’t know he was either, also thinking it was a post 60s thing) was because I read an article somewhere on the tinties that said everything in the world that was wrong was my fault. Whooooooa!!!

Maybe it was this one by Jeremy Paxman. (What is it with Jeremys – as bad as obnoxious Jeremy Clarkson..)

The Luckiest Generation will be around for a long while yet, strumming their guitars and enjoying their concessionary fares, ensuring young people keep working to pay their pensions, outraged at demands they cash in their property wealth to fund their future in care homes, consuming the vast — and increasing — quantities of National Health Service funds necessary for geriatric medication (half the NHS budget is spent caring for old people).
They have already persuaded the Government to make it impossible for employers to get rid of them just because they reach the age of 65, while also ensuring that many Boomers will be able to claim their pension two or three years earlier than anyone entering the workforce now.
Getting on for a million of this generation have taken themselves off to live in parts of continental Europe where they think the weather is kinder and the fags and booze are cheaper.
In southern Spain or rural France they watch Sky television, demand the assistance of British consuls paid for by their hard-working offspring and are begged by the big parties to register for postal votes.
Thousands more enjoy a healthier old age than they had any right to expect jetting around the world on holidays of one sort or another.

I have read some shit on the internet but this beats it all.

1) I’ve never had a guitar

2) I’m a later babe so I’m nowhere near concessionary fares, and quite frankly what is wrong with that for pensioners? Apart from anything else if people are using public transport it saves clogging up the roads, and is better for the environment.

3) My dad (born 1925) was saying I was paying for his pension thirty years ago. Nothing new there. Of course younger working people pay for pensions of an earlier generation.

4) Care homes are nasty money pits. It’s a shame people don’t want to look after their families.

5) Why shouldn’t the NHS fund older people as their bodies break down? It funds people who are ill through smoking, drinking, obesity, drugs, snuffles, coughs, sore throats, etc etc etc – why not age?

6) Dear Jeremy, have you even tried getting a job in journalism at age 50+ let alone 60+? Oh, not a problem for you is it? A job would be nice. A pension would have been nicer at 60 rather than having to wait until 65, which I now have to do, so claiming pension earlier is pie in the total sky. Thanks to funding all these people who can’t fund themselves with their flat screen TVs and the obligatory foreign holidays (see next linky article).

7) I don’t smoke, but I’ll admit to being an economic migrant. If there was a choice between Blythe and Andalucía what would you choose? In fact the property in Costa del Sea Fret is expensive but the lifestyle is cheaper. To suggest that everyone drinks and smokes themselves to death is patronising classist garbage. Otherwise why say fags and booze? How about cigarettes and alcohol?

8) I live in southern Spain, don’t watch Sky television, don’t want or need the assistance of the British consul, I have no offspring, and no-one would beg me for a postal vote because I don’t live in the UK. Wherein lies the flaw in Mr P’s argument, he is talking about people with two homes. One in the UK and one elsewhere.

9) Jetting around the world? The last time I got on a ‘plane was in 199? when I flew to Madrid. I was still working and it was a week’s holiday.

10) Fortunately a few other people thought he was talking rubbish too. (see comments on the site if you can be bothered to click on the link)

Here is a totally different perspective. Interesting they are both written in British papers that come from the same right of centre perspective. The Torygraph article.

Baby boomers shouldn’t feel guilty about being better-off than younger generations, because people aged over 50 today saved harder and spent less when they were young than is the case today.
That’s the conclusion of analysis of more than 2,000 people by the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII).
But the CII claims that ‘generation rent’ are partly to blame for their own misfortune because many fail to follow their elders’ example by starting to save early. They have come to expect regular foreign holidays, among other treats once regarded as luxuries, often funded by credit cards taken out earlier than their parents did.
A third of the people surveyed who are now in their thirties spent more than half their net income on leisure and entertainment when they were in their twenties, compared to a fifth of those who are now in their fifties and sixties. Most of the younger generation now expect to holiday abroad an average of 2.5 times a year, whereas a quarter of baby boomers never travelled overseas in their twenties.
David Thomson, a director of the CII, said: “Despite the current financial climate, the younger generation is more likely to spend money on a meal out rather than put it in their pension pot, as their older counterparts might have done.
“Holidays abroad are now an accustomed treat for 20-year-olds rather than a luxury for baby boomers, many of whom never took overseas holidays at that age and where a vacation might have meant a week in Norfolk rather than a beach in foreign climes.
“While some of this can be baby boomers received undeniable financial advantages during their working lives, there’s no doubt that their financial security today is also due to a more frugal mentality in their youth. Today’s generation spends more and saves less when compared to the baby boomers, and while people should enjoy their youth and live for today they should not do so at the expense of planning for their tomorrow.”

Ah, that would be me. In nearly two years, two meals out. A cheap meal at an Indian restaurant for our silver wedding and one last month – a shared pizza.

Holidays abroad? That would be grapepicking wouldn’t it? Working holiday. Or, a cultural one funded by the National Trust and a grant from my old school. When we first got married, our holidays were backpacking in the UK.

I can do the paper bag on the side of the road as well as anyone.

I’m where I am because I bust my arse in my 30s and worked as many hours as it took (and no overtime because I was salaried) – if it was after midnight I did it. Nobody tells me I am guilty of damaging someone else’s future.

Right now, my partner is the oldest person on the construction site where he is working. Because we won’t have a fucking pension. We look after ourselves and that’s what we have always done.

Yes, I got a partly state-funded university grant. Yes, I got a free place at a private school – courtesy of the school trustees, not the taxpayer. What else? I try and avoid using the health service (remember, I worked in it), I buy nothing inessential, I throw nothing out that can be re-used, and we pick up from skips.

Yes, I have an extremely small finca on the Costa del Sol. And yes, I have an even smaller flat in Gibraltar. That’s what I (we) decided to do with my (our) money.

No-one will take care of me or take responsibility for me. That’s up to me.

What would happen if I went back to the UK? I’d be treated worse than an eastern European immigrant.

Baby boomers – or at least my age group – look after themselves because they have to.

And actually, it’s my life, and as the Land Rover saying goes, ‘One life, live it.’

But hey, blame people born between 1946 and 1974 because shit happens. It ain’t my fault.

I may write more about this…. I may not… gotta go and do the washing up rich idle stuff in the sun.


About roughseasinthemed

I write about my life as an English person living in Spain and Gibraltar, on Roughseas, subjects range from politics and current developments in Gib to book reviews, cooking and getting on with life. My views and thoughts on a variety of topics - depending on my mood of the day - can be found over on Clouds. A few pix are over on Everypic - although it is not a photoblog. And of course my dog had his own blog, but most of you knew that anyway. Pippadogblog etc
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12 Responses to Baby boomers

  1. bluonthemove says:

    Oh, am I a fellow baby boomer.

    I think one should also remember the amount of tax baby boomers have paid, especially in the UK. In the days of Harold Wilson, I found myself just in the 60% tax bracket, whilst the top rate of tax was, for a while 85%.

    What the government of the time did with all this money is of course another matter entirely.


    • I think most of the people reading my blogs are baby boomers. I think I paid 40% but never 60% 😦

      What do governments ever do with money though?? Anyways, me, I gotta go work for free to save money…..


  2. EllaDee says:

    Fantastic post. Had me laughing & shaking my head (the most animated I’ve been in the office for a while 😉 )… I thought I was a tail end BB but according to the stats above, & those I missed out and God forbid am Gen X, who apparently are “between the Baby Boomers who refuse to let go, and the younger, cooler more tech-savvy Gen Ys who are already snapping at their heels. They are ageing and feeling the pinch financially… ” ( Interestingly, people agonise over birthday gift giving but really the perfect one-size-fits-many item so many people covet is someone/something to blame, and the generational issue is perfect. Blame the people who came before or after you. Navigate your own life? Hell no. I/we follow your philosophy and will look after ourselves for the rest of our lives but if we eventually qualify for pensions we’ll happily accept reimbursement of the lifetimes of taxes we’ve paid. One of the saddest things is my Dad upon retiring anticipating the pension he believed was his due but finding out because my (11 years younger) stepmother works (for not huge wages) he’s not entitled. He’s never recovered from the indignity…


    • Just been reading that article which was really interesting, also – another article I didn’t agree with!! Interesting that he posits baby boom as a generational description rather than an accurate description of when the boom actually was on a country by country basis. I can see why of course. One of those articles where you can state anything make the cap fit in a way. I may quote it in my next baby boom post.

      Anyway thanks, pleased you enjoy the read. One of the many posts I have been meaning to write for ages – I have too many posts in my head and not enough time. And I appreciate everyone else doesn’t have time to spend reading my blogs every minute of the day 😉

      I think the fact that, although there are a few years between us (less than ten I think), we follow a similar lifestyle and have similar aspirations knocks the idea of categorising people on the head by generation. People are individuals and always will be. Some might be unlucky enough to suffer wars, poverty, or – not be able to afford a foreign holiday, a new car every year, or buy the house of their dreams at age 21. World events of whatever type impact on our lives. The year of our birth is almost irrelevant in the scheme of things.


      • EllaDee says:

        More “damned lies & statistics” you can manipulate any way you want 😉 Depending on the reference, my birth in late 1965 makes me not a baby boomer, but as you say the year of birth is irrelevant. I grew up surrounded with and influenced by BB’s but people I have come into contact with born later (like my sisters & cousins) are Gen X, Y & Z… As you say there are a whole world of influences.


        • That’s true, and when you are getting into the heady area of human resources and corporate recruitment, there are even more lies and statistics thrown around. My simple brain thinks along the lines of, you are younger/older than me, you have more/less/differing life experience. Somebody younger may have done more, someone older less. It’s fatuous to say because you were born in 1950 (for example) and so we can ascribe these characteristics to you and your life.

          Generation Z (?) or was it Y? is more highly educated, ie more have a degree. So what? Most of the people I knew had degrees because those were the circles I mixed in. Can the same people rewire plugs, change brake shoes, make clothes? Life is about far more than a degree.

          I think it is pigeonholing for the sake of it. Yes, statistically (this one actually is a hard fact) there were post war baby booms of differing periods in different countries. Any more than that is sheer interpretation and gross generalisation. I’ve nearly written the next blog post on the topic now!!


  3. reb says:

    I’ve often heard the word, but always knew I wasn’t one [see Sweden], because I was born 1955.


    • Although of course you would be had you been born in the UK or the USA. I thought of you when I read about Sweden and figured you would have missed out on it 😉 In the article EllaDee quoted above, the author refers to babyboomers as a generation rather than the literal period of peak birth rates. So if someone in Canada asked for the year of your birth, I guess they would consider you to be a BB because you have enjoyed all the alleged perks of those born between 1946-64.

      Given the period of ‘boom’ was so short in Sweden and elsewhere, I guess it didn’t have as much impact as it did in other countries. Six years in Sweden, 18 years in America, and a glorious 28 years for France and Britain. Big difference there.


  4. Iquitoz says:

    Another great post. The definition of Baby Boomer for me was influenced by an article I read around 1989 in a financial magazine. The boom in U.S. population began in 1946 and ended about 1952-3 due to the Korean Police Action (the undeclared war). USers thought there was the possibility of another prolonged conflict and were again thinking twice about raising a family. There was a slight dip in birth rates. Of course I have not been able to find the supposed birth rate dip nor the article for reference. The true boom was during the six or so years between the two conflicts. The boys were back home and hopes were high only to be dashed by the Korean problem. Those few years were a special time with special circumstances. The period of the true boomer. Proud to be one but I had absolutely nothing to do with it. My parents were responsible. Being a contrarian, I agree with the Swedish point of view, 1946-52 are the real “Boomer” years.


  5. Thanks. I have to say that my incredibly thorough and painstaking research was confined to Wiki as I just wanted to give an idea of the years, and the differences in countries, to set some context. However, if you look at the graph for the USA on the wiki page it does indeed have a dip and then curves up again. I’ve just been reading an interesting article, UK-based but still relevant, (I’ll add a link next time I write about baby booms) which considers there are two booms.The first short one as you mention, and then a much longer one, certainly for the UK that continued into the 70s. It was well-written and thoughtful and seemed to be able to manipulate use statistics well.


  6. Oh…in the US, there were plenty of baby boomers older than me and younger than me. I was born in 1952, so I consider myself to be smack dab in the middle of the baby boom. In Seattle, there were plenty of kids born during the time of the Korean war. Wiki says the boom was from 1946-64 and that sounds about right to me. You might like my take on the Gen X Bashing of Baby Boomers:

    I don’t know if you allow links, but I don’t think boomers are to blame for everything. What did the politicians do with all the money that was paid as “social security” tax?


    • Thanks Tina. I do allow links, I just like to check them out first to make sure they are not advertising – related personal blog ones, or even just related ones are fine. I enjoyed your post 🙂

      I did read wiki, but I thought iquitoz above made an interesting point about the first boom, which includes you, and that made me do a bit more research which is why I want to do another post too.

      I don’t think boomers are to blame for anything! What a load of tosh. I noticed your financial quals, so you obviously have a different take on politics to me, but really, blaming the person in the street for a hike in house prices is just totally crass.

      Thanks for the comment and the visit.


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