“For the Baby Busters, It’s Downsize or Die”
By: Richard Benson
Tuesday, 29 June 2010
Living realistically is not something anyone wants to do in an election year, and it may be especially difficult for the Baby Boomer generation to grasp, along with their children. Over the last two decades as wages swelled, and job prospects were unlimited, the Baby Boomers became accustomed to living well beyond their means. Moreover, if money wasn’t coming in fast enough, there was either a stock market or housing bubble to tap into to keep spending alive. Even condominium buildings were built and given names with this in mind.
A high-rise condominium completed around 2005 in Boca Raton, Florida, was named “Luxuria”. Models are lavishly decorated with names like “Milano” and “Toscana”. The project back then was marketed as “a gem and one of the most spectacular preconstruction projects in Florida”. One ad even claimed it would be “an exceptional privilege” to live there.
The last time I drove by the “Models Open” signs were flapping in the wind, many units remained unsold, and prices were slashed (still extraordinarily expensive) with no buyers in sight. My research also indicates that well over one-half of the units are still owned by the developer.
American Boomers thought that the future would always bail them out, but the future is here and the house is upside down, the credit cards are maxed out, and job stability has vanished. The prosperity they thought they had achieved was only a fantasy and the Boomers have now become the Baby Busters.
When you actually sit down and examine the cost of living these days, the nickels and dimes can add up real fast. After paying for food, phone, cable, electricity, newspapers, maintenance, gas, taxes, and insurance, most of us are left with only pennies. Also, a healthy lifestyle – gym memberships, organic fresh fruits and vegetables – is beyond reach for many creating a frustrated society where diabetes is fast becoming a pediatric disease. It’s no wonder fast food restaurants continue to thrive as they cater to the masses; they’re inexpensive for sure, but the food can make you obese and send you to the emergency room.