Our Future: Moving Back Home?

Give or take a few years, the Millennial generation is roughly composed of those born between 1980-2000.  We number over 80 million (yes, that’s more than the number of Baby Boomers).

The eldest of this generation are starting to become parents.  Parents of Millennials are nearing retirement.

Explore this: in 15 years, the oldest Millennials will turn 43.  If they had children at 30, their oldest will turn 13.  The parents of those Millennials will largely be retired.

What’s the big deal?

From The Wall Street Journal’s Real Time Economics blog:

The study, by the McKinsey Global Institute, the think-tank arm of the consultants McKinsey and Co., carefully examined the saving behavior of various generations. The “silent” generation, the 52 million Americans born from 1925 to 1944, followed the classic pattern closely, with their household savings rate rising from below 15% in their early 20s to about 30% in their late 40s. But that pattern is almost absent for early boomers, those born 1945 to 1954; their saving rate tops out about 20%; and it’s completely absent for late boomers, those born 1955 to 1964, whose saving rate so far has remained stuck at around 10%.

Combine that with this troubling story from LifeWire via CNN:

When Stephen Leach gave up his Rockaway, New Jersey, condo at age 48 to move back in with Mom and Dad, it was out of need — his parents’, not his.

With his father suffering the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease and his mother struggling to remain in the large Randolph, New Jersey, home in which they raised five children, Leach stepped in a year ago to stabilize matters.


Such arrangements are becoming more prevalent as the population ages. An estimated 10 million American adults need help with daily activities, and family members are responsible for 80 percent of such caregiving, according to the AARP.

If the people who supposedly saved enough are having trouble paying for health care in retirement, what lies in store for the Baby Boomers who most assuredly have not?  What are the implications for their Millennial children who may incur the burden of taking care of both their parents and children simultaneously?

Expensive health care has ramifications (see above) far outside its sheer cost.  But money has the most prescient impact.  Our health care spending becomes more difficult to sustain every day.  It is expected (pdf) that there will be 2.9 workers for every Medicare beneficiary by 2020, down from 3.9 in 2003.

A sustainable health care future is desirable for all.  Eighty (plus) million Millennials will think along the same line.  The last thing we need is a parents vs. children struggle for government dollars.  Expensive health care could ignite just such a fight.

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