18 Reasons Boomers Had It Harder Than Millennials and Gen Z

Life was no walk in the park for boomers. Although millennials and Gen Z face their own unique challenges, boomers dealt with issues that shaped their lives in significant ways. Let’s explore some of the struggles boomers encountered that might make today’s problems seem like a breeze.

Job Market Struggles

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Boomers faced a much more rigid job market. Unlike millennials and Gen Z, who can hop between gigs or freelance, boomers often had to stick with one job for life. This lack of flexibility made career shifts and work-life balance more challenging.

Economic Downturns

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The economic crises boomers endured were brutal. The oil crisis of the 1970s and subsequent recessions hit hard. While millennials and Gen Z have also faced economic downturns, the instability boomers experienced right out of college was a real game-changer.

Gender Roles

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The NIH says that traditional gender roles were still deeply ingrained in boomers. Women entering the workforce faced significant barriers and discrimination. Although issues remain, millennials and Gen Z benefit from more progressive attitudes towards gender equality.

High Interest Rates

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Interest rates were sky-high for boomers. Buying a house or taking out a loan meant forking over a significant chunk of change; rates in the ’80s were over 18%! While buying a home may not be as simple for millennials and Gen Z, they have historically low interest rates.

Limited Technology

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Boomers didn’t have the luxury of modern technology. Without smartphones, the internet, and social media, connecting with others and accessing information was a whole different ball game. Researching for a project or staying in touch required far more effort.

Social Movements

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PBS says that boomers lived through the Civil Rights Movement, the Vietnam War protests, and women’s liberation. These social upheavals were both inspiring and tumultuous. While millennials and Gen Z are also active in social movements, the scale and intensity of those earlier times were unique.

Lack of Mental Health Awareness

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Mental health wasn’t a topic of conversation for boomers. The stigma around mental health issues was profound. Unlike millennials and Gen Z, who have greater access to mental health resources and a more open dialogue, boomers had to tough it out in silence.

Limited Career Advancement

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Climbing the corporate ladder was a slow and steady process for boomers, unlike millennials and Gen Z, who can often advance quickly. “Providing robust career development opportunities for younger employees may be the key to keeping… young talent,” says World at Work. Boomers had to put in years of hard work, which made achieving career goals a more arduous journey.

Healthcare Challenges

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Boomers had fewer healthcare options. The medical advancements we’ve come to take for granted simply didn’t exist. Millennials and Gen Z benefit from better healthcare services and treatments, making health issues less daunting.

Financial Literacy

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Financial literacy was not emphasized for boomers. Unlike millennials and Gen Z, who have a plethora of resources at their fingertips, boomers had to navigate personal finance with little guidance. This often led to financial missteps and hardships.

Housing Crisis

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Boomers dealt with several housing crises. The housing market was volatile, and securing affordable housing was a significant challenge. Millennials and Gen Z also face housing issues, but the historical context for boomers made it particularly tough.

Environmental Concerns

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Environmental awareness was minimal during the Boomer era. Unlike millennials and Gen Z, who are more eco-conscious and have access to sustainable options, boomers grew up in a time when environmental degradation was rampant and largely unchecked.

Political Instability

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Boomers experienced significant political instability. The Cold War, the Watergate scandal, and other political crises created an atmosphere of uncertainty. While millennials and Gen Z also face political challenges, the historical context for boomers was particularly turbulent.

Family Expectations

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Family expectations were stringent for boomers. Unlike millennials and Gen Z, who often have more freedom to choose their paths, boomers were expected to follow traditional family roles. This societal pressure limited their personal and professional choices.

Work Benefits

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Employee benefits were less generous for boomers. Unlike millennials and Gen Z, who often enjoy comprehensive healthcare, retirement plans, and flexible working conditions, boomers had to make do with minimal benefits, affecting their long-term financial security.

Technological Adoption

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Adopting new technology was a slow process for boomers. Unlike millennials and Gen Z, who grew up with rapid technological advancements, boomers had to adapt to new tech at a slower pace, often feeling left behind in the digital age.

Social Connectivity

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Social connectivity was limited for boomers. Unlike millennials and Gen Z, who can easily stay connected through social media and instant messaging, boomers relied on face-to-face interactions and phone calls, in some cases making it harder to maintain relationships.

Retirement Security

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Retirement security was a significant concern for boomers. Pensions were not always reliable, and saving for retirement was a daunting task. While millennials and Gen Z also face retirement challenges, the lack of robust retirement plans made it particularly difficult for boomers.

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