We are the Baby Boomers. We are 73 million strong and the most economically influential generation yet.
Because of our vast numbers, we have made a huge impact all our lives. And now, ranging in age between 58 to 76, we are retiring in droves.
You’ve only seen the first waves of the aging tsunami. Get ready.
Although we account for 50.3% of the wealth in the United States, many of us aren’t retiring anytime soon. We have seen the dark side of fiscal irresponsibility, having already lived through recessions, inflation, and market collapses. We know irrational exuberance when we see it, and we know government double-speak when we hear it.
We came of age in the 60’s and 70’s. We were the counter-revolution. The “movements” of today are anemic in comparison. We never thought of claiming we were “triggered” or that the world owed us a “safe space.” Such a concept was absurd; our parents had lived through WWII and the Great Depression, so what did we have to complain about? We were taught from a young age that it was up to us to make our place in a brutal world.
We debated ideas freely and passionately and never dreamed of shouting down, and shutting up, a speaker because we disagreed. We watched Archie Bunker and recognized satire, irony, and humor. We’ve seen ideologues ruin movements, myopic reasoning crash economies and unrealistic social theories topple governments. We know the difference between facts, opinion, and newscasts.
We’ve seen pot used as casually and freely as alcohol.
Yet some things still surprised us. It never occurred to us that an elected official could openly refuse to enforce a law because they disagreed with it, that a politician could shut down lawful businesses, or that anyone would think that cutting funding to the police would work.
We recognize bullsh*t when we see it.
None of us want to play out our last days in a dehumanizing facility with faded green walls, linoleum floors, overmedication, lime jello and Barry Manilow background music. We demand and expect a small private setting with gourmet food, an open bar, and Metallica, Aerosmith, The Eagles, Pink Floyd, Kiss, Led Zeppelin and AC/DC on repeat.
We have other demands.
We have paid into social security our entire lives. The full benefit age has already been moved once. Don’t move it again. If the government can’t make good on its promises, then cut government spending.
We have paid into Medicare our entire lives. Don’t price physician and hospital Medicare reimbursements so low that the health care community will not provide services to us.
We put our lives on the line and our military families through hell to defend our country. VA benefits were promised. Keep the promise.
We moved from pensions into qualified retirement accounts like IRAs and 401ks based on the government’s rules. We thought they were inviolate, yet the government changed them in 2020. We were not happy. Don’t do it again.
Death should not be taxable. The government changed the federal estate tax exemption to a high enough amount that most of us don’t have to play shell games with expensive trusts, family limited partnerships and the like. If that exemption halves as planned in 2026 when the majority of us are of retirement age, then estate plans everywhere will need to be rewritten. Abolish the federal estate tax before that happens.
We control half the country’s wealth.
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Virginia Hammerle is in her fourth decade of practicing law. She is Board Certified in Civil Trial by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and an Accredited Estate Planner. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.hammerle.com. This column does not constitute legal advice.