The birth of the boomers signaled the end of 16 years of depression and war. The largest generation had dominated American society for decades and may get a bad rap, but they paved the way for the lives millennials appreciate today. In this article, we’ll share 18 things boomers did that paved the way for millennials.
The post-war era saw a new confidence in the economy, with corporations growing larger and more profitable and labor unions promising higher wages and benefits. They were also responsible for the “invention” of the suburbs, as they began building and buying houses for their families outside of the city.
Women in the Workforce
The new movement from cities to the suburbs was great for family life, but for women, it could feel lackluster. Women had served in the U.S. Armed Forces or joined the workforce at home during the war years, and many weren’t ready to return to the traditional role at home yet, leading to the feminist movement of the 1960s.
Sheer numbers helped shape and change the way society looked at a lot of things. Boomers were coming of age in the 1960s and 1970s, which put them in the perfect position to push forward the later stages of the Civil Rights Movement, protest the Vietnam War, and start a second wave of the feminist movement.
The reality is that baby boomers are an aging population, and with age comes a greater need for healthcare services. This leads to a need to research and create better medical technology, which stimulates the economy, creates jobs, and of course, can help increase our life expectancy.
Travel Industry Growth
Now is the time to get into the travel industry. With many boomers already retired or retiring soon, they’re finally looking to experience the parts of life they put off to work. “Boomers open their wallets wider than any other demographic when it’s time to plan travel. The website Insure My Trip broke down spending habits and found that boomers, on average, spend $6,700 for their vacations, taking an average of 16 vacation days. Millennials spend $2,000 less and take an average trip of 15 days.”
At one point, boomers represented 40% of the country’s population, giving them a lot of pull in what was in and what was not. They used this influence for social justice as well as trends in music, clothes, and more. They were also the first generation to grow up with TV, making them the target audience for marketers for decades.
The Silent Generation suffered through the Great Depression and not one but two world wars. Their children, the baby boomers, were taught the importance of a strong work ethic. Most boomers got jobs straight out of college and were loyal to their employers for most of their careers. This led to an increase in promotions and the need for benefits for companies to get and keep great employees.
Boomers also value family. Vacation time, flexible work schedules, and the ability to tend to the needs of not only their children but also their aging parents are priorities for boomers. They’re the generation who forged the path for our work-life balance policies today.
Baby boomers didn’t want just any job; they wanted a career that gave them a sense of purpose, and in a booming economy, they were able to do that. We now enjoy workplaces that value employee morale and satisfaction because of boomers.
Boomers stayed with employers long-term, meaning they often moved up the corporate ladder. With upward movement, there was a need to focus on and promote professional development and learning throughout their careers. They have also been in the workforce through many technological changes—from typewriters to smartphones.
We’re living longer now than the generations before the baby boom, which means thinking about long-term retirement plans is a more recent need. Though many have put off retirement to a much later time than they had initially planned, due to the Great Recession, they’re still planning to retire! Eventually.
Hope and Optimism
Boomers are the “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” generation. They believe that anything can be achieved with hard work and passion. They’ve seen these changes happen right before their eyes with the change in social policies and the always-innovating world around us.
They raised their children with the idea that they could achieve anything.
Service and Volunteering
John F. Kennedy delivered his inaugural address on January 20, 1961, that inspired a generation of baby boomers, saying, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” Later in 1961, the Peace Corps was launched, opening the door to volunteerism. Boomers followed President Kennedy’s lead and created an era of service and volunteering. Today, 7% of Peace Corps volunteers are retired boomers.
“The Baby Boomer generation is expected to leave a significant amount of money to their Millennial children. It’s estimated that more than $68 trillion will be bequeathed to their offspring. The great wealth transfer is expected to make Millennials the richest generation in American history,” according to Forbes.
Labor Market Impact
Boomers have been in the workforce longer than any generation before them. They have become top CEOs who have worked their way up from the bottom and are now mentoring Generation X and millennials, and maybe some Gen Z as they make their way up the ranks.
Supporting Younger Generations
Honestly, millennials didn’t inherit an easy market to buy a home in, and prices have skyrocketed in many places, including education. Now, 50% of boomers are using their retirement to help their adult children, and 38% have adult children living with them. So we can’t buy a home for $60k, but the one our parents did has space for us still.
Promotion of Anti-Aging Products
We’re living longer, and with that comes the desire to age gracefully or not show our age at all. The beauty industry shows this need by the number of anti-wrinkle and anti-aging creams on every drugstore and cosmetic store shelf, along with the growing market for face-lifts, Botox, and fillers. Men are also taking action to stay young with the “little blue pill” and a touch of gray hair products.
Coming from the generation that struggled through the Great Depression, boomers wanted things when they wanted them. The “buy now, worry later” generation truly created the credit card economy we enjoy today. However, they do have to work longer to pay off debts, so with the good comes the bad. CF
Times change, and some of us are old enough to remember how much. Some things that were seen as affordable or reasonable a few decades ago are now luxury items kept as a rare treat, only exist in certain instances (or not at all), or are reserved for the wealthy. One internet user recently inquired, “What was normal 20–30 years ago but is considered a luxury now?” Here are the top 20 replies:
A recent internet survey posed the question, “Married men: what’s one thing you wish you could tell your wife but won’t because you know it will start a fight?” Here are the 23 best responses.
Some things never change, and a few products hold onto the past. Here are 21 items that scream ‘Boomer’ and are associated with outdated technology and nostalgic trinkets. Check your home to see if you have any of these relics.
As times change, there are inevitably some things that baffle our beloved seniors, while leaving the rest of us in splits or simply shrugging it off. From avocado toasts to e-books, in this article, we’re highlighting 19 things old people hate that the rest of us just don’t understand.
They say you are what you eat, but for these treats, you might want to wish otherwise. Read on for the top 20 foods that Americans may love but the rest of the world just absolutely can’t stand.