Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Almighty Buck

Generation Wrecked 1667

Posted by michael
from the born-with-a-plastic-spoon-in-our-mouths dept.
Ryosen writes "Fortune magazine has an interesting article discussing how members of Generation X (those born between 1966 and 1975) have been damaged by the fall of the economy and the life-long ramifications of the dot.com boom-bust, stating 'No generation since the Depression has been set up for failure like this.' Particularly disturbing is the statement 'Worse yet, for some Gen Xers, their peak earning years are behind them. Buried in college and credit card debt, a lot of them won't be able to catch up as they approach their prime spending years.' Are the best years of our lives truly behind us?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Generation Wrecked

Comments Filter:
  • by mekkab (133181) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @10:08AM (#4423934) Homepage Journal
    I missed all this crap!

    WHoo hoo! I'm living the high life like it was 1989!

    • by gabec (538140) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @10:25AM (#4424133)
      So.. I've always considered myself part of the "Generation X" generation, but... according to this I'm not. So.. what comes after Generation X? I remember pepsi promoting their 'generation next' but that was just a marketing campaign... hm... maybe the 'MTV Generation'? I've heard that one, since we grew up with such short attention spans and so on purportedly due to such things as MTV, but really.. what comes after Generation X?
      • by Jonny Ringo (444580) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @10:51AM (#4424430)
        I think the next one is "Generation Y oh God Y!"
      • by Chris Y Taylor (455585) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @12:57PM (#4425647) Homepage
        http://www.inthe80s.com/dynamic/child8e.shtml
  • Woe is me! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 10, 2002 @10:09AM (#4423942)
    It's not my fault I'm a bum, it's all because I was born in a twenty year period of time.

    Does all this 'Generation whatever' crap annoy the hell out of anyone else? People do not care about their 'generation' in general.
  • by The Turd Report (527733) <the_turd_report@hotmail.com> on Thursday October 10, 2002 @10:10AM (#4423948) Homepage Journal
    But, those of us who didn't blow every paycheck on toys and assorted junk are doing ok. I drive a modest car, live in a modest apartment and don't live beyond my means. I have 0 credit card debt and 8 months of salary saved away.
    • by FatherOfONe (515801) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @10:16AM (#4424023)
      I also fall in to this category. I have less than $100.00 on credit card debt, modest car and an ok job. I don't have anywhere 8 months of salary saved up, becuase our family just had some major remodeling done; but this begs the question.

      What the heck are you doing in an appartment? You are pissing away your rent every month. If you owned a home, then you would get a tax break (one of the few left). If you have the means to save 8 months of salary, then you should be able to afford a home. My God the interest rates are rock bottom now. What are you waiting for?

      At least consider a condo. I would still get a house though...

      • by EnderWiggnz (39214) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @10:26AM (#4424145)
        if you bought a house in the last 2 years, you're going to look worse than this guy after the bubble bursts in the housing market.

        houses arent that great of investments, and unless you are sure you are going to be in it for 5-10 years, you will get screwed.

        and this housing market is as nuts as the 2000 stock market.

        me, i'm a gunna wait until all those foreclosure sales start happening next spring.
        • by Zathrus (232140) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @10:47AM (#4424381) Homepage
          Depends on your local housing market... some are way overinflated, but not all are.

          As for the investment bit - houses are not a short term investment. Neither are stocks. If you're not going to be in either one for 5 years minimum then you might as well spend your money gambling.

          If you do happen to live in an area where the housing market has gone over the top then you probably will see some deals in the next year or so.

          As usual, the more things change, the more things stay the same. Don't overbuy on your house. Don't buy the best house in the neighborhood. Location, location, location.
        • house != investment (Score:4, Informative)

          by mekkab (133181) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @10:58AM (#4424501) Homepage Journal
          Yes the bubble will burst in the housing market.
          However in the mean time, my monthly payment GOES somewhere (part to interest (which is TAX free!) and part to equity) AND my rent doesn't raise every year.

          And if you aren't going to be in a house for 5 years, DO NOT BUY! I REPEAT, DO NOT BUY!

          I have a fixed cost per month. Also, I have a town house well situated close to schools in a pretty good neighborhood. When I go to sell in a few years I will have no problems.

          So lets see, instead of paying 1200 for a 1 bdroom apt, I pay 1000 for a 3 level town house.
          Hmmmm, do the math. Never mind equity and investment... I get more space for less money. Plus my income keeps rising while my mortgage stays fixed. Sounds like a great deal to me!

          Oh, and the reason why I am not paying extra money to bring down the principal: This is the starter home. In 4-5 years when the market drops I will be in a prime position to buy a fat lot of land. All the money that I could have put towards principal will instead be in a REAL investment vehicle (short term, we're talking about 5 years here) which I will then use towards downpayment of the house- getting me a teensy-weensy mortgage.
      • by Artifex (18308) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @10:50AM (#4424424) Journal
        He's not going to buy a house with his 8 months' saved salary, because that's his cushion against unemployment.
        What happens if he buys a house, spends that savings on a big down payment, and then 3 months down the road he gets laid off? If he can no longer make his house payment, he's out on the street, having lost his capital investment. If he's renting, on the other hand, he's not used that capital yet, and retains the flexibility to move to a cheaper place, as well.

        Now, if he wants to start saving up separately from that 8 months' salary, then using that other saved amount to buy into a house, that would be a great idea. But it would be foolish for him to give up his position of security by using his major savings up and going into a position of debt if he doesn't have to.
    • by lutzomania (139132) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @10:30AM (#4424202)
      Me, too. I never bought a Beemer or a Boxster, never took part those $200-per-person dinners at (usually) overrated restaurants, never bought a plasma-screen TV. I cashed in my options in 2000/2001 and dumped the proceeds directly into an undervalued house that needed some fixing up, which won me a tiny mortgage & even more control over my cash flow. I still drive my 1995 Honda Civic and have plenty of lovely mazuma piling up in the bank.

      However, before we congratulate ourselves too much for our prudence, we should remember that spending is a very important to our economy. We can't slam on the brakes on our spending altogether. If we do, we're looking at deflation. The Forbes article is full of FUD, but I'm surprised that the authors didn't mention the biggest threat facing GenX--deflation. Deflation was the biggest and longest-lasting effect of the great Depresssion. Banks & the government were unable to stop falling prices. Right now the Fed is similarly ill-equipped because they've cut interest rates so aggressively. They've very little left to cut.

      If prices start falling today, look out, things will get much, much worse....

  • by FortKnox (169099) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @10:11AM (#4423960) Homepage Journal
    Baby boomers are all the people currently in very high positions (VPs, and other execs). The baby boomers are starting to retire, so in the next five to ten years, we'll see a drastic increase in jobs and promotions in attempt to fill the void left by the them.

    Also, we are seeing another 'baby boom' coming lately with the tradegy of 9/11. This past year there has been a drastic increase in weddings and births. Wish I had the doc to support it (has been in the news, but I can't find any articles or studies atm. Anyway, there is a rise in families and such, so the need for higher paying jobs, and spending on kids will help the economy get out of the rut (IMHO).
    • by Duds (100634) <dudley AT enterspace DOT org> on Thursday October 10, 2002 @10:15AM (#4424009) Homepage Journal
      http://www.snopes.com/rumors/babyboom.htm

      Apparently it's all an urban legend.
    • by Ctrl-Z (28806) <tim@timcolTEAeman.com minus caffeine> on Thursday October 10, 2002 @10:18AM (#4424044) Homepage Journal
      Baby boomers are all the people currently in very high positions (VPs, and other execs). The baby boomers are starting to retire, so in the next five to ten years, we'll see a drastic increase in jobs and promotions in attempt to fill the void left by the them.

      I disagree. Those positions will simply be downsized in cost-cutting efforts, rather than filled with younger employees.
    • by Phronesis (175966) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @10:28AM (#4424169)
      The baby boomers, having lost much of their retirement savings in the bursting of the bubble, we can expect them to put off retirement for quite some time. A few at the top will retire, but most will continue to work well into their seventies.

      If the average baby-boomer works until age 75, the retirement will start at 1946 + 75 = 2020 and will hit its peak ten years later as the mode of the baby boom hits retirement age. If you feel like waiting until 2030, more power to you.

    • we'll see a drastic increase in jobs and promotions in attempt to fill the void left by the them.

      Naw, we'll just replace them with very small shell scripts. :-)

    • by ianscot (591483) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @11:01AM (#4424528)
      The baby boomers are starting to retire, so in the next five to ten years...

      We can look forward to their joining the ranks of activist elders agitating for entitlements like social security and medicare to be improved? Guess which generation gets to foot the bill for their retirements, payroll-tax-wise?

      Okay, putting the bitch-and-moans down...

      This retirement is going to destablize the U.S. economy. Personally I think the generation politics stuff is crap, but there is a big population bubble. The effect in a capitalist society is sort of like the effect in a despotism when one of the great kings lives too long: You get chaos after the king dies, because the people who would have ordinarily succeeded him are longer in the tooth. The situations aren't quite analogous -- typical thing in a monarchy is for the king's elder sons to turn on the younger, named successor in a civil war. But economically, this is a huge burden for the so-far-suppressed generation to take up just when they could be out from under things.

      (What was that story maybe a decade ago comparing the Gen X generations to the depression years in terms of earning power, job prospects and so on? Must've been just before the internet bubble.)

      Oh, and:

      Also, we are seeing another 'baby boom' coming lately with the tradegy of 9/11. This past year there has been a drastic increase in weddings and births.

      Actually that seems to be a myth. Salon had an article debunking it, anyway, with the actual birth rate numbers. Ain't going up.

    • by guacamolefoo (577448) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @01:11PM (#4425797) Homepage Journal
      Warning: some of this may be "off-topic", but I think it is important. Read until you get sick of my self-righteousness:

      Baby boomers are all the people currently in very high positions (VPs, and other execs). The baby boomers are starting to retire, so in the next five to ten years, we'll see a drastic increase in jobs and promotions in attempt to fill the void left by the them.

      (1) I expect that the baby boomers retirements/deaths may open up some jobs, but that this will not significantly impact on Gen X earnings. Gaining additional marketable skills will.

      (2) Baby boomer retirements will also have a negative effect in the following manner: They will live longer than prior generations of old people (better health care) and they will follow the established trend of voting more as they get older (old people just vote more).

      The impact of this will be devastating, as the ratio of people employed per social security recipient drops to around 1.5 or 2.0. The addition of a prescription drug benefit for the elderly (who incidentally are the wealthiest people in the country -- ignore the B.S. about "income") will likely require benefit cuts or massive tax increases. Given the fact that the boomers are a massive group and that they will be voting disproportionately more than the rest of the population, and you can guess the result.

      (3) Boomers are about to receive an enormous amount of money from their parents, the Depression and WWII crowd -- those folks knew how to save for hard times, and even in good times, they kept spending under control. As a result, a large number of people can be expected to have nice, high-paying jobs such as waitresses and caddies as the boomers piss away the "Greatest Generation's" (I hate that) money having a good time.

      (4) Student debt is probably one of the biggest problems facing kids. My wife and I have a huge amount (law school), and if we throw that out, we're doing great. As it is, we're effectively living as well as factory workers. We made the choice, we're happy we did it, and we expect that in five years, we'll be debt-free and saving like fiends for our kids' college and for our retirements.

      Nevertheless, this is what many boomers did: Go to school on loans, get out of school, declare bankruptcy, live happily ever after. Once they got done, the bankruptcy rules were changed to make student loans non-dischargeable in bankruptcy barring a "hardship" (which nobody ever can prove).

      College costs are out of control, and there is a point (which I wonder whether we have crossed) where the time you lose paying college loans is more detrimental than the benefit of increased income. The lesson may be to avoid student loans altogether -- if you can't, don't go to college. I can see a day not too far off where that is a reasonable financial decision. Definitely consider state schools as opposed to private schools, even if the private school is objectively "better" statistically.

      The quality of life implications for the financing problems with college education are huge -- it's not just about increasing earnings capacity, although from a naked economic perspective it is. There are collateral issues -- educated people are healthier, less likely to get into jail, less violent, etc., etc.

      The costs of higher education (and healthcare) are largely driven by desires for lower class sizes (doctors to patients) and have a high percentage of the service costs made up of labor Neither of those industries has benefitted much from increased productivity resulting from application of technology to their businesses -- warm bodies are still needed for the primary, labor-intensive tasks. I don't know how to fix this. Bacta tanks? "Jacks" to allow uploading of subject matter to the nervous system? Where is Ray Kurzweil? What is he doing right now?

      (5) The Fortune article mentioned a lot of scary things -- people not saving for retirement, but banking on Social Security being busted. Are they planning on dying young (one person in the article specifically mentioned her death wish as a financial planning tool).

      People not paying off student loans and not saving for retirement. Where is their money going? Why is there such ignorance of financial issues? Why is there so much credit card debt?

      People: Spend less money. Very few people ever earn their way out of financial trouble.

      Here's a plan, sort of top-down. Start at one and try to work your way through. It's not perfect, but it's working pretty well for me:

      1. Think about your finances, don't ignore them.

      2. Buy less stuff. Stuff does not make you happy. Debt definitely makes you unhappy.

      3. Get health insurance or a job that provides it. Most personal bankruptcies result from the use of credit cards to pay unexpected medical expenses. Be willing to take less money for a job that has health care coverage, even shitty coverage.

      4. Try to get at least $10,000.00 in cash in a savings account. Save it as "crisis cash". Do not spend it unless there is a terrible emergency. Many people float along ok, but an unexpected expense (the water heater goes, or the car needs a new engine) screws up everything. Everybody needs crisis cash. Once you have it, pretend it doesn't exist. Think "break glass in case of emergency".

      5. Pay off the credit cards. Then pay them off every month. Use only no-fee credit cards that give you something, like cash back or free gas (BP).

      6. Pay off the car loans.

      7. Do not buy anything else, except a house, that you cannot pay cash for. Avoid debt like you avoid syphilis.

      8. Do not try to spend as much as possible. Just because a bank will lend you $200,000.00 for a house doesn't mean you should borrow that much. My wife and I "qualified" for a loan that was grossly more than we spent on our run-down, dumpy little house. In an area where the average 3BR house costs $150,000, we paid $72,500 for a livable house in a safe neighborhood. It isn't fancy, and it isn't as pretty as a new house in a new development, but it didn't take long for it to become "home" for us. We're proud of being frugal.

      9. Never borrow money to buy a new car. It loses 20% of the value the instant it's off the lot. Pay cash for a used car. No cash? Guess you shouldn't be buying a car, or at least not an expensive one. As soon as you buy a car, you should be setting aside money to pay for the next one. That way, the interest works for you instead of against you.

      10. Once the above steps are under control, start saving for retirement. Go for your 401(k) first to the extent that you can get matching funds. Max your Roth IRA next. Open and fund a 529 plan for your kids' college education. Save additional money for retirement.

      The media can say our "generation" is going to hell in a handbasket, but you can take care of yourself. You aren't a statistical aggregate, you are a person, but you have to think for yourself, defer gratification, and take pride in being the cheapest person you feel comfortable being. I feel stupid if I buy a new CD for $15 when I see it later at the used CD store for $5. Why rip yourself off like that by being lazy?

      I am sick (and tired) of people who cry about the future, but never think to sit down and try to deal with their financial planning. Every situation is different, and I am not fully along on the plan I outlined above, and my plan won't work for everybody. The point is that you need to plan, starting by prioritizing for basic needs:

      1. Health insurance
      2. Shelter
      3. Food
      4. Clothing
      5. Transportation
      6. Money for your kids in case you die before they are adults (term life)
      7. Disability insurance
      8. Retirement savings
      9. Kids education

      No self-respecting /. reader would ever accept the default security setting on an 802.11b wireless router. Do not accept the default setting for your finances. You'll end up consuming too much, saving too little, and regretting the time you lost.

      guac-foo
  • by nonmaskable (452595) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @10:11AM (#4423961)
    I was born in 62, so I guess things must be sucking for some other reason...
  • Real Life Intrudes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by q2k (67077) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @10:12AM (#4423964) Homepage
    Gen-X'ers, (including me) may have to admit that the lifestyle we got used to from 1996-2001 was a mirage, and we really can't afford a county club house and two BMW's in the garage. Here in Northern VA we are starting to see people selling their $500K McMansions and downsizing to a house more in keeping with their current income levels. For those of us that have been working in the dot com environment the last few years, I think its necessary to assume you will make less money the next couple of years, and adjust your lifestyle accordingly.
  • not sure i agree.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 10, 2002 @10:12AM (#4423967)
    I'm not sure I agree totally with this article.. I mean it was because of this boom that I got thwarted into the IT market before I could even graduate from college. I was making nearly $40K at 23yrs of age. (im 26 now.) I was able to buy a house at 24 and become a *responsible* person. i.e. not living with momma. So it shot me up to a higher point in my life faster than the average bear and now i consider myself *ahead* of the game even though all those huge salary increases are gone. oh well..my two cents.
  • One time thing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Duds (100634) <dudley AT enterspace DOT org> on Thursday October 10, 2002 @10:12AM (#4423970) Homepage Journal
    What's becomming clear is that the inital tech boom was a 1-off. You're never going to get that kind of frenzy in the IT industry again. A lot of people were getting way over paid, or in this case of companies, way over funded.

    A few people were big winners, they were funded by the much larger number of people who were losers.

    It'll recover, of course it will, but never to quite the same excitement "next big thing" frenzy.

    The result will be a stronger long term industry but it is entirely possible people will struggle to earn as much in the future as they could during the boom.

    Especially as there are a lot of good graduates now that started degrees during the boom in the hope of getting a massive payig job. This over supply is going to restrict saleries for a few years.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 10, 2002 @10:12AM (#4423971)

    Sure, it's not a spectacular amount, but in my area you can get pretty nice house for $80,000, apartment rent is $400 a month, taxes aren't high....

    I'm 21 and I've gotten $1,000 raise each year. Sure, I'd like to make $50,000, but I'm in a pretty stable position in IT (basically, I'm the only person who touches it in a 50 year old, 150 person company) so I'll just tread water for a while.

    I think my first computer job was working as a PC Tech at Best Buy, making $9-$10 an hour, then I was a wiring goon/PC mover for $11 an hour at a 'consulting firm', then I got to where I am now.

    The days of reading an HTML/Java book and going to a $65,000/year job with a startup are behind us.
  • by totallygeek (263191) <sellis@totallygeek.com> on Thursday October 10, 2002 @10:12AM (#4423974) Homepage
    There are a lot of people that have lost jobs in the IT industry that are now working in smaller outfits doing consulting, programming, etc. Some have moved into other careers, but the bottom line is that this might fuel future innovations, or at least diversify the market so that you have more computer-savvy people using computers in other careers where the introduction of technology has been previously opposed.

    I am not trivializing the loss of jobs, nor am I saying the economy is about to boom again. However, there are many people that used to punch a clock working harder than ever to start up new businesses or boost the technology base in old businesses. Both of these are good things!

  • by Didion Sprague (615213) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @10:13AM (#4423977)
    My sister -- Sister Reba -- might be considered Generation X.

    She doesn't have a dime saved. Everything she spends comes from Riley the boyfriend (a Gen-X'r who dropped out several liberal arts colleges, got a short story published when he was hosteling around Europe, and now has such a severe case of Writer's Block (a fear that he can't reproduce his single success) that he and Sister Reba spend all their money just 'trying to have fun.'

    I think they live in a perpetual state of 'recapturing their youth.'

    It's sad. I've saved nearly everything, and not long ago loaned Sister Reba a thousand bucks to pay off the last of her college debts. But her credit rating is ruined.

    Yet the two of them -- Sister Reba and Riley -- continually talk about the 1970's like they were the best thing in the world. Riley tells me about the movies that changed his life -- Saturday Night Fever, Apocalypse Now, the Deer Hunter -- and swears that at even at age 33 he's still got a good novel inside of him -- somewhere.

    Not long ago Riley was reading Jonathon Franzen's _Corrections_ and was so enraged that Franzen had written *his* novel, that he pitched it at one of the plate glass windows in their townhouse. The window shattered, the super won't foot the bill, and now their even deeper in debt.

    Me, I know what's what. Or at least I think I do.

    If those wacko islamicists are targetting the economy like they say they are, then I know what I have to do. I have to save, save, save. I have to prepare for the day when the power goes out for good and there's no more water coming out of the tap.

    It scares me, and I'm only 16.

    But Sister Reba and Riley? Fuck it. They could care less. They work at their dumb jobs all days just to pay off their credit cards.

  • by sql*kitten (1359) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @10:13AM (#4423987)
    (article originally posted on E2 [everything2.com])

    Andrea Tinker, professor of Social Gerontology at King's College, London recently published the results of research into the way that the changing age distribution of the population is affecting different generations. Her conclusion is that today's under 30s are the first generation who can expect lower living standards than their parents. In this writeup, I will present some British demographic statistics, and my own hypothesis as to the underlying reason for Professor Tinker's conclusion.
    • In 1999, about 20% of Britain's population was over 60. This is predicted to rise to 34% by 2050, with half that number over 80.
      Fewer children are being born: 91 live births per 1000 women in 1961, dropping to only 55 in 2000. In the 25-29 age group, the drop is even more dramatic, from 178/1000 in 1961 to 95/1000 in 2000.
    • Between 1993 and 2000 the number of under-25s owning their own property has fallen from 21% to 19%. The number of 25-29 year olds living with parents rose from 18% in 1978 to 23% in 1998.
    • The number of 25-35 year olds living alone rose from 2% in 1973 to 12% in 2000. The average age of a first time house buyer is now 35. The average household income is GBP 24,000/year - the average mortgage exceeds GBP 140,000.
    • Tax relief on mortgages and grants for university education have been slashed. Professor Tinker believes that people born within the last 30-40 years face paying 1/3 of their lifetime's earnings in taxes just to support pensioners born before them.
    • In 1997, Gordon Brown started taxing pension funds. It is estimated that GBP 100 billion has already been siphoned off - money that belonged to current contributors. The principle of compound interest means that the people who suffer the most will be the most recent joiners. Meanwhile, MPs recently voted themselves a 20% boost in the pensions - funded by the taxpayer.

    It is clear that the trend is towards fewer taxpayers supporting more pensioners. I believe that this is no coincidence, rather that the generation(s) born since 1970 were systematically and deliberately set up by the policy makers of the so-called "baby boomer" generation.

    They set up a system for healthcare and pensions under which taxation is immediately paid out to recipients, rather than being invested for growth and the purchase of an annuity in a real pension system. They did this at a time when they knew that their own contributions would be minimal, given the population's age distribution at the time. Quite cynically, they decided that it would be easier to levy punitive taxation on their own children and grandchildren than invest for their own futures.

    The money they saved by doing so, they poured into the housing market, driving up prices and placing mortgages out of the reach of many first time buyers. This created massive inflation in property prices - almost 20%/year at present - which they benefitted immensely from, already being owners of at least one property.

    The state education system has been systematically wrecked. Grammar schools and the Assisted Places Scheme which sponsored children to attend fee-paying schools have been abolished, as the baby boomers further try to pull the ladder up after themselves. These same baby boomers, who once swore never to trust anyone over 30, are now in positions of responsibility and have carefully structured corporations to ensure that today's under 30s cannot enjoy privileges such as a job-for-life that the baby boomers enjoyed. They are scrapping defined-benefits pension schemes, after making sure that they got them for themselves, at the expense of those currently paying into employer's pension funds - us.

    We are also paying the price for their disasterous social experiments. Soaring crime rates and falling literacy rates originate in the pseudo-liberal ideals of the baby boomers, who knew that they would escape scot free while their children and grandchildren would pick up the pieces for them. Rather than being the unfortunate result of a well-intentioned experiment than didn't work out, it is indicative of the baby boomer's defining attitudes: firstly, that nothing matters to them more than instant gratification, and secondly that they will never have to face any consequences for their actions.

    What can we do? It may be too late; huge damage has already been done to the economic and social fabric of our country. The only hope is that when those of us born since 1970 are in power, that we use that power wisely: to ensure that not a penny of our our generation's money is wasted on or by those that came before us. Let them live on the pensions that they knowingly intended for us, with the standards of healthcare and accomodation that they intended for us, and let us invest our own money in our own future and our own children.

    • US stats even worse (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Ars-Fartsica (166957) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @10:37AM (#4424280)
      Many people have done the math on social security - its frightening. Here it is in its shortest, most brutal form:

      In order to reasonably support the people expected to make social security claims over the next thirty years, taxes would have to be doubled at a minimum.

      In other words, it is only a matter of time before social security breaks. The only things that can save are an incredible development in the economy that drastically increases real wealth in a short period of time, or massive immigration to increase the number of paying (but not deducting) parties by a huge amount. Its just turned into a pyramid scheme at this point, and that really is what drive most immigration policy.

      • by BitGeek (19506) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @12:34PM (#4425404) Homepage
        In order to reasonably support the people expected to make social security claims over the next thirty years, taxes would have to be doubled at a minimum.

        Nevermind that the social security tax rate has already gone up %700!

        Assuming you're talking about just doubling your social security taxes (Rather than all taxes) then that would mean social security alone would be taking %30 of your income!
        (Right now it takes %15. Though only half of that is reported on your paychecks.)

        http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/COLA/taxRates.html

        If a private pension plan were administered in this way the perpetrators would be in jail the money returned and everyone would be really angry.

        And nobody would be joining the scheme-- its reputation would be ruined.

        Yet why are people paying social security now? Cause they get shot by thugs with guns if they don't.

        Aint it great to be the government? You can commit widespread fraud on the people and they don't have a choice-- they HAVE to pay!

        THIS is what everyone is talking about when they say the government should take care of something-- they are talking about tyranny and oppression the government will take care of it by using lethal force to coerce compliance with whatever scheme it comes up with.

        Liberals are just fascists who want someone else to hold the gun for them because it scares them.

    • by cyranoVR (518628) <cyranoVR.gmail@com> on Thursday October 10, 2002 @11:19AM (#4424712) Homepage Journal
      What's more disgusting is that they are judging us for not having the "free-spirit, live for today" worldview that they had when they were all hippies. They were "discovering themselves" and now can blow their own parents inheritance on more selfish "self-discovery." They take for granted everything they got from their parents, but don't think we are deserving of any such help at all.

      Maybe we're not, but my point is that the double standard is absurdly unjust.

      See, to them, we are "spoiled whiners...children." But when you look at the facts THEY are the ones who were spoiled by THEIR parents, and now we are the ones who are going to foot the bill.

      Some posters have said that the X'ers dug their own grave by "wasting money on electronic toys and cars." That's chump change. Most people I know have 10s or even 100s of thousands of dollars in debt from Higher Education. The American Dream is long dead. Time for us to get together and take the system down.
    • by BitGeek (19506) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @12:26PM (#4425311) Homepage

      I think you laid it out quite well:

      Social security and education are both scams perpetrated on the public to take their tax money and return little or nothing of value.

      This is true here in the US, where the average family pays over %50 of their gross income in taxes and gets little or nothing in return. Where government meddling has ruined our health care system, our educational system, even our roads aren't getting the money they need- even though we pay far more than enough in taxes to cover them.

      We're getting taken by a vendor who demands our money at gunpoint in exchange for services-- and then fails to deliver the services.

      And the really amazing thing is whenever you point this out a lot of people scream bloody murder about who "evil" you ware! Obviously, these are people who are on the take for a cut of that tax money that people are being mugged for.

      But nature has her own forces, and just as you cannot defy gravity forever, you cannot demand a free lunch every day.

      Already people don't count on Social Security-- how long will they continue to pay it when they know its worthless? Furthermore, people are starting to move their money offshore. And the cost of doing so is getting lower-- even though the government is now trying to know everything about what you do. Combine that with the virtual contracting and telecommuting trends and soon the most valuable and profitable members of society will be living in the Caribbean in a tax haven, happily refusing to "Do their part" for the scam that is the US People's Wealth Redistribution Republic.

      Any society that makes the cost of living there exceed the value returned by the society itself will soon have to put up an iron curtain as the most productive (and therefore wealthy) members refuse to pay the burden and leave. The US has some nice advantages, but let me tell you, as soon as I Retire, I will become the citizen of another country (Belize has no income tax and charges about $20,000 to become a citizen).

      I will take my money elsewhere, and I'm doing absolutely everything legal I can to avoid taxes... fortunately, there are enough loopholes that it seems there is some justice: The financially ignorant, credit card debt having, stock market avoiding, liberal idiots who love this tax system so much are the ones who end up paying the most taxes- cause they can't be bothered (or think its "immoral") to legally avoid those taxes.

      Thats one of the things about the free market-- it is robust, and will fill whatever void. You cannot distort it forever because it is a force of nature. You make taxes higher, and you get LESS tax revenue, not more. You make taxes lower and you get more tax revenue, up to a point.

      Not all GenXers are stupid slacker idiots, just as not all Boomers are hippie idiots (in fact, most weren't.)
  • by georgeha (43752) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @10:13AM (#4423988) Homepage
    who knew how to use Frontpage and dropped out of college to make 75k a year at a dotcom selling petfood over the internet, their best years are behind them.


    For people with a bachelor's who are willing to continually learn, and stick with companies with a sound business plan, things will be a little tight, but they will get through.


    Of course, my version isn't as dramatic, and makes people take responsibility for their careers.

  • by Ars-Fartsica (166957) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @10:14AM (#4423997)
    Gen X is the first instant gratification generation, much to their own dismay. Credit card and other short term debt is killing this generation, as well as an affliction for absurd consumption.

    Working in Silicon Valley I see an incredible entitlement mentality, particularly with cars. No one under forty wants to drive a modest car, and they'll rent an apartment if it means they can drive a BMW.

    The malls are still jam packed around here, with the under forty crowd engaging in the only ritual that makes them feel accepted: shopping.

    Most Gen Xers can forget retirement - with our spending habits, my generation will have three choices for post-retirement:

    1. Work at part time jobs until death.

    2. Move in with the kids.

    3. Jump off a bridge.

    One thing is for sure, my generation is allergic to saving and won't be able to look after itself in retirement.

  • Hmph. (Score:4, Funny)

    by OS24Ever (245667) <trekkie@nomorestars.com> on Thursday October 10, 2002 @10:15AM (#4424003) Homepage Journal
    It's just an article written by THE MAN (tm) to keep us down!

    Oh wait, wrong generation.

    Let's see, The appropriate Gen-X reponse would be, whatever, man.
  • Poor Us (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jjohn (2991) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @10:15AM (#4424010) Homepage Journal

    Yep. It's all over. I'm 30 years old and I guess I should pick out a headstone or something. There's no way to catch up. All those adolescent dreams are in the trash. It's impossible to have the Good Life now. No one will hire me to work 80 hour weeks for a company with no business plan. No more free soda.

    boo-hoo.

    Give me a break. This is simply another challenge to over come. It's not the end of the world. It's not the Great Depression. The only thing stopping us is ourselves. It's just a reminder that capitalist economies go through boom-bust cycles. I feel badly for those who believed the "New Economy" tripe.

    Just a friendly reminder -- kill your TV.

  • Some comments (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Katravax (21568) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @10:17AM (#4424026)
    Some quotes from the article:

    "Age 32 and piercing-free, Karen Doss . . . has just $5,000 in a 401(k) and $20,000 in home equity. Ideally, someone her age should have at least $100,000 stashed away." Fuck me, $100,000 by age 32? I'm about $100,000 behind, then.

    "Gen Xers managed to survive in that environment by denouncing long-held workplace tenets like corporate loyalty. " Did we eschew loyalty, or did they treat us like "human resources" and fire us and lay us off? I loved my first computer job , and would still be there if they weren't evil bastards.

    "The Campbells' luck dried up in April, when Alex was laid off, rehired as a contractor without benefits, then rehired yet again as a full-time employee but at a lower level. " Well, sounds like all he needed was company loyalty, huh? I've said for a year this shit was intentional, that the whole "tech downturn" was an intentional ploy to lower our salaries and benefits.

    "So is Karen prepared? On this subject, she does her best slacker impression. " They call people our age "slackers" several times throughout the article. Sorry, I thought we were working? The article says how we keep working jobs, the economy sucks, etc., but it also keeps calling us slackers. How are we different than our parents and grandparents? We work, pay the bills, try to do better, etc. The author of this piece is torn between wanting to tell how fucked up things have been for a lot of us, and wanting to insult us.

    • by FreeUser (11483) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @10:46AM (#4424379)
      The article says how we keep working jobs, the economy sucks, etc., but it also keeps calling us slackers. How are we different than our parents and grandparents? We work, pay the bills, try to do better, etc. The author of this piece is torn between wanting to tell how fucked up things have been for a lot of us, and wanting to insult us.

      Amen.

      The baby boomers were the most well educated, richest, most spoiled generation in the history (of the United States, at least). What did they do with all this wealth, all this privelege?

      They did some great things. They rebelled against the establishment and ended institutionalized racism (and the social acceptance of common racism in most circles, despite the nagging existence of a few ethnocentric throwbacks in populations of every ethnicity). They rebelled against the establishment and won the right for a woman to choose the fate of her own body. They rebelled against the establishment and won a large degree of gender equality and sexual freedom.

      And they engaged in excesses that proved to be a little less positive, such as excessive drug experimentation in the 60's, arguably excessive sexual experimentation in the 70's, excessive conservatism and reactionsim in the 80's, and excessive dishonesty in the 90's.

      They took all the freedoms they inherited and enjoyed, abused some of them, and then took those same freedoms away from us in the name of their 'knowing better', they systematically and deliberately inundated us with incessent marketing from the day we were born, tempted us with easy credit, pounded into our heads the compulsion to use that credit to buy their products and enrich them, then blamed us for our irresponsiblity when many of us succumbed to their repeated conditioning and actually did what they were telling us to do, an average of 10 minutes each hour (of television viewed or radio heard), and countless other times as we innocently walked or drove down the street to work.

      Do we bear some of the responsibility for our alleged lack of self control? Sure. Do the generation of our parents and grandparents, who have orchestrated the incessant advertising that conditions us into submissive little shoppers and consumers, often as unable to resist a shiny new object as we are unable to join a protest for a cause we are forbidden, by that very same conditioning, from feeling strongly about? You bet they do.

      There is enough blame for everyone to share, but no generation ever engaged in as much excess, or stripped their descendents of as much freedom and constitutional protection, not to mention financially mortgaging their children's future with unprecendented government deficits and ponzai retirement and real estate schemes than did the generation of our parents.

      So while they may condemn us of our weaknesses (and they are real, valid weaknesses we must address if we are to survive), they would be well advised to check out beam in their own eyes.

    • Re: Slackers!? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by theBraindonor (577245) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @10:51AM (#4424425) Homepage
      You are absolutely correct! The slacker nomenclature was applied time and time again without just cause.

      There are plenty of very hard working people in the workforce right now. Just look at the productivity numbers. Our productivity is so high, that we are only hurting ourselves.

      Higher worker productivity increases economic strength at a high price--no new jobs. We are working ourselves right into what analysts call a "Jobless Recovery". That basically means that the economy gets better for everyone but the working stiffs.

      Of course, we all know what the baby-boomer execs do. They take credit for the increased productivity as a result of their management skills, and caller us slackers for not increasing productivity more.

  • by qurob (543434) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @10:17AM (#4424032) Homepage

    Everyone jumped ship to go 'design web pages' for 60k and now they don't have college degrees.

    The people who stuck it out, have graduated and now can make 60k, 'legitimately'
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 10, 2002 @10:20AM (#4424070)
    I've never seen such whining about a "generation".

    Before the dotcom bubble, we saw these same exact articles on how jobs were tough to find, people with college degrees were bussing tables.

    Let me give you a hint: except for very narrow slices of american history, the economy has always been "tough".

    If GenX (and its a dumb label) has a failing its this:
    They're convinced debt is no big deal and is inevitable.

    I see kids in college with brand new cars!

    Then they whine that they graduated with debt and no job!

    Here's some myths that I wish the media would start pushing:
    1) Don't overpay for college. A 4-year degree from any accredited university is pretty much the same as any other. The idea of paying more is stupid except in about 2 or 3 "big name" schools. But boys, Penn State = Michigan = Duke = Virginia Tech = USC = Oregon = Cornell.

    So if you have a choice, go for the cheapest school! Use your fricking head!!!

    2) Debt matters - if you graduate from college with significant debt (and yes, $10K is significant debt) you're handicapped financially for the rest of your life.

    3) Students should not have credit cards - (see debt matters). This does 2 bad things, first it puts you in debt when you can't afford it second you never learn to put off your "wants" until you can afford it.

    4) Learn the difference between want and need - you may "need" a laptop computer (although I doubt it). But you "want" the latest $2500 wonder laptop. You can get by with a used $300 laptop.

    I could go on and on. The people whining are people who don't think ahead, put themselves in a bad financial position and then whine society isn't taking care of them.

    They're a bunch of spoiled rotten babies.
  • Failing skill set (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Cirrius (304487) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @10:21AM (#4424084)
    I joined the internet rise in 1995 straigh out of college, and my entire skill set was based on the following years of experience. I worked through a lot of successful start-up companies, building up enough seed money to start one of my own. Enter the dot com failure due to the choking number of net companies. Not only did I lose my company, I lost all my money, and gained some hefty debt trying to keep things afloat.

    At that point not only was my skill set the same as the other 50,000 people out there applying to every small position that cropped up for half the pay it used to be, I had a failed company on my resume. An emergency change of my skillset from web to video games is all that kept me from going back to salaries I was making in 1997-8.
  • Bah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jACL (75401) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @10:23AM (#4424113)
    Being labelled a "slacker" by the "me generation" is such a crock of shit. Their only concern seems to be that they're not screwing me enough by getting me to work 80 hours a week to fund their fat salaries and Lexus payments. The current generation always seeks to undo the excesses of the previous generation. Maybe we actually want to spend some time with friends and family and "live life like we mean it."

    Gen X has the highest contribution to their 401(k) of any generation -- why? Because instead of fixing social security, money is getting doled out in a tax cut to benefit the "me generation" so that we can fund 14 retired people when we're at 50. And we have the highest rate of vounteerism. Slacker, my ass.
  • by Newer Guy (520108) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @10:24AM (#4424121)
    There is a change in the paradigm of life since the sixties. Up until the sixties, one working parent families were the norm. Now two working parents represent by far the largest majority of families. Why? because you need the incompe produced by two to even approach the style of living that took one (income) then. I think that everyone under fifty is doing worse then their parents did. Why? well first off, for the reason above. Second, most people don't have retirement funds set aside. As they reach retirement age, they won't be able to do so. Up until the early seventies, Social Security was sufficent for at least a reasonably comfortable retirement. Now it falls far short of even poverty levels..and the baby boomers haven't really begun to draw it yet! Once they do, we'll be lucky if it can even stay solvent. If history proves me wrong on this, it'll make me happy.
  • by wowbagger (69688) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @10:25AM (#4424128) Homepage Journal
    throw BOO_HOO("Your own damn fault");

    I take exception to this statement - if you are up to your ass in credit card debt, you have no-one but yourself to blame.

    I was reading how the AVERAGE college student has over $5000 in credit card debt (and here am I obsessing over having a debt of about that when I have a high-paying job!) When I went to school, I didn't even HAVE a credit card! Why?

    BECAUSE I DIDN'T HAVE A FREAKING JOB!

    No income -> no way to pay -> no card!

    It's one thing to have a high student loan burden - but that's why you have TEN YEARS to pay it off!

    If people would stop going into debt for crap that will have no value when the debt is paid off, and ONLY go into debt for things of long-term value (i.e. don't go into debt buying a stereo, go into debt buying a HOUSE! Don't buy expensive cars that will be junk before you clear the debt, buy a car you can pay off in a couple of years or less) then they would be a lot less worried about the future.

    But because credit cards are easy to get, and kids in school are told "Go ahead, buy that stereo, buy that DVD player, go to Padre for Spring Break, you have a credit card", they end up with a lot of crap and a lot of debt!

    I was born in 1965, so I miss being a Gen-X'er by a year. I was fortunate to be born to parents that were children of the Depression, and who hadn't bought into the BS put out by Dr.'s Spock et. al. I was raised to take responsibility for my life.

    So BOO HOO HOO, cry me a river for the kids who screwed up by charging a bunch of crap on their credit cards. Maybe they will learn from their mistakes.

    But I doubt it.
  • by Noryungi (70322) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @10:25AM (#4424138) Homepage Journal

    Just don't believe any corporate BS. They are out to get you.
  • $100,000 by 32???? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by futuresheep (531366) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @10:26AM (#4424141) Journal
    After going to culinary school, my starting income was $18,600. This was for a sous chef position at a large, expensive hotel. This was 9 years ago. Over the next 5 years, my income in the culinary industry, rose to a whopping $26,000 per year. I'm at a loss on how I should have saved $100,000 during that time, purchased a house, and had more than $20,000 in equity in it. I wasn't exactly driving a BMW during that time. 4 years ago, I changed careers, ( I wanted to have a regular family life), and my income has changed becuase of it, so it's easier to save now, but I think the expectations in the article are a bit higher than what the average person is capable of.
  • CONSUME (Score:4, Insightful)

    by spoonyfork (23307) <spoonyfork@NOSpAm.gmail.com> on Thursday October 10, 2002 @10:27AM (#4424156) Journal

    ... prime spending years ...

    Gee, if life was all about money (spending it, making it) and I read this article, I would be rather depressed.

    Personal enrichment and the best years of your life have little to do with things you can buy. I don't expect the writers and editors over at Fortune to understand this.

  • Here in Canada (Score:4, Interesting)

    by 2000 Britneys (549923) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @10:29AM (#4424195)
    in the next 2 to 5 years all the Baby boomers will start retiring from their "life long" government jobs. If you have good education (and I mean Grad school degree or professional designation like I do) the future is bright.

    As a matter of fact I am looking forward to the Baby Boomers retiring because I will be able to secure a government (Municipal, Provincial or Federal) job position that will last me till the retirement and will pay above average wage for the next 25-30 years. Plus the pension benefits are insane. I don't need to contribute to my pension plan for the rest of my life once I get me one of those jobs.
  • by MAXOMENOS (9802) <maxomai&gmail,com> on Thursday October 10, 2002 @10:31AM (#4424213) Homepage
    Please.

    Yes it's true: my career is getting chainsawed by the dot-com bust. I went from AI programming to mainframe programming (and took a $10,000 pay cut) and was told a little while ago that, barring a miaracle, my position is going to be eliminated in February. The good news is I have four months to find a new job before I start collecting unemployment; the bad news is that computer jobs are scarce and I may end up just packing groceries or something.

    Are the best years of my life behind me? No.

    For the first time in my life, I have more friends than I can count on both hands, a girlfriend who loves pizza and beer and horror movies, a positive reputation in the circles that matter to me, and all the comforts I've ever wanted. My biggest concern if I end up packing groceries is health insurance.

    As for computers: I can still do computers for fun. Well-documented, professionally-designed free software builds resumes. I can still take courses toward a Masters' degree in CS. If the field ever recovers, I can get a job. If it doesn't, I have a fun hobby.

    What about the future? I admit I didn't plan on being a security guard for the rest of my life. Ultimately, however, a career is two things: an opportunity to do what you love, and a tool for getting the things you want and need. I can do the one and I have the other. Let the career get chainsawed.

    The best years of my life are here, and are still to come.

  • Scaremongering (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Malc (1751) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @10:39AM (#4424294)
    In a recent paper Wolff notes that young households lay claim to a smaller percentage of total U.S. wealth than they did in 1989.

    I thought that we had an aging population with fewer and fewer young people. Of course they represent less wealth of the total economy! Statements like this seriously diminish the credibility of the article.
  • Puh-leeze (Score:5, Insightful)

    by anomaly (15035) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .3repooc.mot.> on Thursday October 10, 2002 @10:45AM (#4424356)
    I was born in 1968. I almost flunked out of two colleges and worked in food service to scrape through school. I ran up a bunch of debt on my credit cards while in college and in the first few years afterward.

    I finally decided to grow up. I began spending less money than I was making. Reducing your standard of living is no fun, but it _is_ possible.

    I now have no debt. I own a modest house - with a ton of equity thanks to the current real-estate market and my accelerated payment schedule, I have two cars - both paid for, and I have a decent amount of short and long term savings.

    Don't give me that crap about it's because I'm white and I'm college educated.

    After all, the family from El Salvador living next door can do it. The husband has two jobs, the wife works, they have three kids, their parents live with them and they rent out the basement of their 1400 square foot house so make ends meet.

    This idea that the good life is over for GenXers is just FUD.

    Get real. Get responsible. Quit carping about how hard your life is. Ask your grandparents about living through WWII - rationing of food, metal, gasoline - no place to live, no furniture was being made, there were so many men involved in the war effort that the only way that that ware materiel could be manufactured was for the women to find child care and go to work building planes and bombs.

    We sit in our air-conditioned cars with CD changers, on our way to our air-condintioned homes with cable, DVDs, PCs and dishwashers and think that life is tough.

    We're rich. Life is EASY in the US.

    Don't believe me? Try living in India, China, Sudan or any other of dozens of poor nations.

    Quit complaining and just do the work necessary to be successful in this economy.
  • Interesting though the article was, their sampling could have been a little better. "Jessica, an art therapist and professional harpist, has $50,000 in student loans." Art therapist? Well duh! Everybody knows the big money is in pet psychiatry.
  • Get clue. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by budalite (454527) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @10:53AM (#4424456)
    Halfway to pension age, she has just $5,000 in a 401(k) and $20,000 in home equity. Ideally, someone her age should have at least $100,000 stashed away.

    What rubbish. I would like to see the numbers of people who have over $100K saved by the ripe old age of 32.5. Probably about the same number of people who are still rich using the Forbes philosophy of "buy and hold". Ideally, we would all love to be millionaires by the time we are 40, no, 30! While I would, indeed, recommend saving at least 10% of your pay and not spend it on anything less than a true emergency (after a house is bought), most of the people I know (most of whom make near $100K/year) spend just about every other penny on their families, especially on getting their kids quality education and giving them a quality environment to grow up in. Most of them took over 20-25 years to get to that sort of salary. Few of them got to their age without one or two episodes of work or family related emergencies that required tapping that next egg once or twice. (Unemployment would qualify. It did for me.) All of them worked their collective fannie off. Few of them or their parents read Forbes or any other magazine by and for people with silver spoons in every orifice. Few of them will retire rich, but they might have enough to have some fun for 5-10 years of retirement.
    I predict that, since he/she is an uninformed idiot, the author of that article will soon join the unemployed, too. But not the magazine owner. Nosirree, bob. He's some kind of insulated from the economy. That Forbes boy is about a good at giving financial advice (much less political) as the Catholic Church is at giving advice on how to avoid pedaphiles.
  • by Brian_Ellenberger (308720) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @11:00AM (#4424522)
    You cannot even *BEGIN* to compare this to the Great Depression.

    See http://www.korpios.org/resurgent/Timeline.htm

    Unemployment in 1933 was 24.9. 24.9 percent!!! GNP dropped 8.5 percent in 1931 and 13.4 in 1932.

    Unemployment is 6-7% and our GDP rose by 1.2% last quarter. We are not in any sort of hardship by any means. Hardship is not being able to eat. Not being able to afford a new PS2 is not hardship.

    For example, look at the quote "Salesclerks became programmers; coffee slingers morphed into experts in Java (computerese, that is)" So basically the dot-com bubble burst and things are getting back into reality.

    And I love this one: "Jessica, an art therapist and professional harpist, has $50,000 in student loans". Hmm, maybe racking up $50,000 in student loans for an unmarketable degree was not a good idea. Who would have thought?
  • by ethanms (319039) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @11:02AM (#4424542)
    Ever hear the story of the grasshoppper and the ant?

    The majority of the reason that these people are in trouble is because they stretched themselves beyond their means.

    People who had used some forsight could make a killing during the tech boom we recently had, or during the real estate boom following the crash in the late 80s.

    There are too many people in their late 20s and early 30s who want to run into buying houses, while at the same time leasing two mid-priced cars and paying for their cell phones and cable modems.

    I know way too many people who were quick to move out of their folks' homes as soon as they got a job... then after a couple of years they realize that they've barely breaking even on living costs and have no savings. Anything not in the budget goes on the credit card and takes them years to pay off.

    Sorry guys, maybe it's worth a year or two living at home and not being able to have your girlfriend stay over or throw parties on the weekend... but at least you won't be fucked if you lose your job.
  • by Arcturax (454188) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @11:15AM (#4424679)
    In my case, my parents basically made sure I had a job since I was 11, starting with a paper route. I had to learn in that time, how to budget my money and not to overspend or I had to wait until it was time to go collecting and then I had to figure out what I owed back to the newspaper and what I got to keep. While they helped a lot with the accounting, it did teach me early on how things work and how if you want something (Back then it was a Super Nintendo), you have to save for it and only buy it when you have enough money saved up so that you can buy it and still have a bit left over in case of a crisis.

    In high school I got a job at a grocery store and also got a bank account. Now I had a little more spending power but by this time, I knew how to be conservative with my money and to keep a close eye on my accounts, using software to track my spending and keep track of checks I had written.

    By the time I got a credit card, I knew well how to live within my means. I made sure to ALWAYS pay off the card in full each month unless it was an absolute emergency expenditure that I couldn't cover with one months pay. I also make sure not to have more than 2 credit cards and to try to never use more than one each month. I also make sure I can pay them in full each time unless its an extreme situation.

    On top of that, I also set a "Paranoia level" on my Savings account. What that means is I choose an amount, in my case $5000 (started at $500 when I first got my bank account all those years ago) and I go VERY conservative on spending if I go below that until I've built it back up to above that level. So far that has saved me from every major disaster (car breaking down expensively, sudden big bill or need to buy something expensive like furniture) I've had in the 10 years I've had a bank account. It also reduces the need to use the credit card to cover sudden needs, as I do not like spending money I don't have at all.

    Because of that, and driving a modest car ('95 Grand AM) and eeking out the most time I can from my computer (using a 5 year old Mac G3) rather than blowing it all on the latest and greatest every 6-12 months, I have managed to get a $120K home just this June and maintain over 5k in savings since then. I am going to try to raise that up to 10K soon as well as start cautiously getting into investing (maybe should have sooner but after the latest rounds of disasters in the financial world, glad I waited).

    The main thing is to learn how to budget, keep a paranoia level of cash in the bank and don't spend money you don't have when you can avoid it (i.e. no credit card debt or loans unless necessary).

    If you do that, you should be able to weather all but armageddon or the next great plague.
  • by wazzzup (172351) <.astromac. .at. .fastmail.fm.> on Thursday October 10, 2002 @11:27AM (#4424774)
    The article mentioned that we should have all been set for life by the dot.com era. What kind of blinded logic is that? I guess all of the GenX social workers, construction laborers, accountants, bank tellers, etc. dropped everything and became programmers? I suppose the boomers temporarily filled in those positions until they came back? Newsflash. The majority of jobs are not tech jobs. The dot.com boom and bust had no direct affect to most of us.

    However, many of us did go to college because it was a basic requirement to get a decent job. The Boomers got the same jobs without going to college. Here's the difference - we have to pay $50,000 up front to enter the job market where the Boomers got in for free. As a result, we can't save early enough for interest to compound and work in our favor. It used to be that parents paid for their child's college education but the Boomers have figured out that divorce works for them at the cost of their children's future irrevocably damaged. I am not knocking divorce. Some people genuinely need it. It is, however, a symptom of some sort of selfishness (i.e. adultery, substance abuse, gambling, spousal abuse, etc.) by making yourself feel good - however temporary - at the expense of others.

    I'm a 33 year old GenXer with two kids. I have no credit card debt. My wife drives a '93 Lumina and I an '89 Civic. We have massive payments on student loans. We have a mortgage on a $60,000 condo. There was no freakin' way we could have saved $100,000 by now. She's a teacher and I'm a CAD technician. I am sick of people on this site telling us it's our fault we won't have enough for retirement. It's not. The rules have changed and we're trying to adapt to them the best we can.

    Meanwhile the Boomers are threatening to break into the Social Security "lockbox". Our money, not theirs. Theirs is already guaranteed. Boomers aren't called the "Me" Generation for nothing.

    Ach, I'm rambling and venting and none of it matters.
  • by nomadicGeek (453231) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @11:52AM (#4425001)
    I have to admit that things look pretty bad right now but I am still optimistic. Life is hard, no doubt about it. You have to work your ass off and every strategy that you try is not going to be successful but I'm not willing to give up just yet.

    The recession in '92 taught me some valuable lessons and this latest bust has reinforced those lessons and validated my strategies. I'm glad that these events happened while I am still relatively young.

    1. Work for a company that is making money (as an employee or a businessman). If the company is not making money, find one that is. Don't wait, it will only get worse.
    2. If the company isn't making money and your department isn't making the company money, your days are numbered. Get out.
    3. Live lean. Keep your fixed expenses as low as possible.
    4. Avoid debt at all cost for non-appreciating assets. If it is going to be worth less after you buy it, then pay cash. If you can't pay cash then do without it.
    5. Use credit cards for convenience only and always pay them off every month.
    6. Keep a war chest. You must have 1 year's expenses in cash if you are going to have any options in a pinch. There is nothing worse than having all of your options limited because you need a paycheck in 2 weeks to cover your rent.
    7. When times are good, save your money. It won't stay that way. It NEVER does. The business cycle isn't going anywhere.

    The biggest mistake that I saw people make during the last boom was planning as if everything would stay optimum forever. They took shortcuts, they loaded up on debt and expenses so when things took a downturn, the house of cards came falling down. If you can't be smart then you have to be tough.

    Things seemed simpler in the past. Most of our parents probably worked for the same company for 30 years and retired with a pension that can sustain them for the remainder of their lives. The price that they paid was fewer choices in life. They couldn't start their own company and work out of their house. They didn't have portable pension plans that allowed them to change jobs or even careers. Many of them didn't have the opportunity to get a college education because there were not as many grant and student load programs. Given the choice, I would rather have things the way that they are now. More choices and thus more opportunity.

    I still think that we will end up being better off than our parents in the long run.
  • by scorp1us (235526) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @11:56AM (#4425055) Journal
    I work for in international company. roughtly 1/2 the people staffed here are from the company's 'mother land' in Europe.

    Working for this company, I have learned several things about the world, and reflexively, the US. See we (Americans) have a system where it pays to work hard and get ahead. In other countries, you work hard, get ahead, and make very little back. The 85% tax rate ensures you don't see much ROI. Now, what they do get is a workign social security system where your retirement is completely paid by the government.

    I have a friend here who is from that mother land, and he soo wants to be american so he can start his own company and experience the reward for his hard work. (AKA the American Dream) So I'm going to have to say: If you want to go to work, do the minimum as to not get fired, and have a good retirement, leave the US. If you want to work hard and get ahead, then stay. After listening to my friend, I have decided to start my own company. Ironically, this foreigner is helping me start it, pro-bono, because I don't know how.

  • Piss off (Score:4, Insightful)

    by floppy ears (470810) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @11:59AM (#4425079) Homepage
    -begin rant-

    I've never been so angry after reading Slashdot comments. I can't believe the number of people (both Generation Xers and people of other ages) who are sitting here and calling Generation Xers a bunch of whiners. Where the hell do you get off condemning an entire age group based on some stupid article written for people in the top 1% of income in the US.

    From various threads above:

    All I ever se when I read an article about them is a bunch of whiny bitches that think everything should be handed to them on a silver platter complaining about "corporate america" (whoever that is) conspiring to steal from them, take away their rights, and in general make their life miserable. Score 4: Interesting.

    What the fuck? You moderators find it interesting to stereotype an entire age group?

    I think they live in a perpetual state of 'recapturing their youth.' Score 5: Interesting.

    Yeah, we sure do, every one of us who was born between 1965 and 1975.

    Gen X is the first instant gratification generation, much to their own dismay. Credit card and other short term debt is killing this generation, as well as an affliction for absurd consumption. Score 5: Interesting.

    I don't know about the rest of the people from my generation, but the only times in my life when I had short term credit card debt was when I was unemployed. So fuckin sue me for needing to pay the rent.

    Unemployment in 1933 was 24.9. 24.9 percent!!! GNP dropped 8.5 percent in 1931 and 13.4 in 1932.

    Unemployment is 6-7% and our GDP rose by 1.2% last quarter. We are not in any sort of hardship by any means. Hardship is not being able to eat. Not being able to afford a new PS2 is not hardship.
    Score 5: Interesting.

    Right. So because fewer people are unemployed now than were in the Great Depression, that means that the people who nonetheless are unemployed right now are not really suffering. I guess the logic is that they have more ability to mooch off of their friends or something, because the friends are less likely to be unemployed.

    I could go on, but I have work to do. Please moderate this as flamebait, and go piss off.

    -end rant-

  • by alexhmit01 (104757) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @12:02PM (#4425102)
    You want to study engineering, go for it. Want to study something professional, great! Want to study things that are practical, great.

    The white collar world is still nice, and growth will resume, the economy is rebounding. After the election, everyone will stop "talking down the economy" and we'll probably avoid a double-dip recession. Sure things aren't as good now as they were 3 years ago, but they are better than they were 5, 8, or 10 years ago.

    The biggest problem in Gen. X was learning our parent's bullshit mistakes. The Babyboomers got everything.

    People saw that educated people have money, and confused cause and effect. Rich people sent kids to play in Ivy League schools before running the family business. Bullshit education is bullshit.

    Born rich? Go to Harvard to drink $8 cups of coffees and study the "classics." Sorry, but that's a luxury for the idle rich. Everyone else? Work hard, get an education to advance your career, and work harder. Invest money, and live within your means.

    Want to spend $100k studying garbage? If you parents have millions? Great. Otherwise, save enough money to do so on your own. Have at least 3 kids (the population aging, let's all do our part here to fix the situation, don't be selfish and hoard money with no offspring), and work hard. In "retirement" go to the local university and amuse yourself.

    Just make sure you save enough to provide your kids with the means to a better life.

    Sorry, those born with a silver spoon get the perks, such is life. Instead of whining that you don't get it, provide it to your kids. That SHOULD be the goal.

    Sorry, when I watched my father's friends (all doctors) keeping their $2 million homes and pulling their kids out of private school and making them go to state schools, I was ill. Your FIRST priority should be giving your kids EVERY opportunity possible. Your personal luxury is secondary.

    Sure, public schooling and state schools are PERFECTLY acceptable. However, if your choice is giving your children a "better" option or buying a new Lexus? Go get a Ford Taurus and deal.

    Work hard, better your life, give your kids whatever advantages you can.

    I have $10k in credit card debt from starting my business, it will be paid off by my wedding next summer. The fiancee racked up some in school. We're both working, paying off the debts, and trying to save money for a house AND start Roth IRAs (after the credit cards are paid off). We balance transfer our creditcards every 6 months to get 0%-3% interest.

    We'll get a nice home in 5 years, and hopefully have 4 kids. They'll all get great schooling, and we'll live nicely. If my business takes off, we'll have a life of luxury. If we don't? We'll have a reasonable home. Either way we'll be happy with our family and extended family.

    Alex
  • Make it stop! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CAIMLAS (41445) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @01:05PM (#4425714) Homepage
    I find it pathetic that middle age is being viewed as, "prime spending years", as if being able to buy a lot of shit is the sumation of my being. (I'm not middle age, but the ramafications on society are disgusting.)

    What about those of us that are younger - 20, for instance? Some of us have gotten into the work world early, having trained ourselves. In many cases, we're much more skilled and tallented at what we do that people 5, 10 years older than we are. Things look equally as bleak, with no resurfacing of the economy forseen, for those still in college, even. Especially with all the war and conflict going on.

    The people of my generation are an unseen, lost generation. Generation X is several years our senior, and Generation Y is approaching high school still. Sure, we have a lot of nice whiz-bang gizmos, lots of entertainment, and various other benefits. But to what end? There's a large degree of unemployment in most of the desireable job markets, and the markets that are open, are undesireable - a lot of low-end, dead-end jobs that nobody would enjoy doing in the first place.

    In the eyes of many people of my generation, there are very few exciting, challenging, new things in this world left to do. National Geographic has the whole 'exploration' thing down pat. Computers and technology are passe, nearing the point of being transparent - simply another entertainment device.

    Even in simple living, things don't look good - pay is distributed in a horrible arc curve, distributing most of the wealth to a small percentage of society. What little most people can earn is leeched from them from the upper crust through taxes, credit, lawyer and doctor fees - people that scratch each other's backs, further increasing the differential of wealth. Combine these factors with all of the social decay and unpleasantries going about (STDs, divorce, decay of the atomic family, etc), things are downright depressing.

    Even the decay of America's core is occuring. The DMCA and all the various laws like it, destroying our freedom, get overlooked by the populace, while commercials rage on TV telling us to "value our freedom as Americans". The strongarming of foreign countries isn't improving America's international status much, either. The economic benefits that were protecting the US from attack in the past are slowly being whittled away.

    It's times like this that even a patriotic American starts to wonder about the future of his country, and whether he should take drastic measures, such as make a new life as a Canadian.
  • by zerofoo (262795) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @01:15PM (#4425839)
    Every argument (in the article) seems to try to blame the dot-coms, the economy, and everything else under the sun, each argument always goes back the underlying problem....debt.

    Servicing debt is the least effecient way to use money, and the quickest way to make you broke. Most of the debt "Gen Xers" have is college, or related to college (i.e. the computer and books you bought on credit during school).

    The real culprit seems to be outrageously inflated college tuitions. Look at the past 10 years; college tuition increases have outstripped GDP growth, inflation, and wage rates. With 60% of american students going to college, is it any suprise that this generation is servicing record debts? My dad got a 4 yr. college degree for $8000.00. One year of college cost me more than that.

    America needs to get college tuitions in check, and we also need a national health care system. These are two of the biggest burdens on American consumers....if we accomplish both of these goals, we will be poised for long term growth.

    -ted
  • what a load... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by argStyopa (232550) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @01:16PM (#4425851) Journal
    Ironically, this is one of the few articles I've read that don't lump GenX into "everyone under 40". In that sense, it's accurate - but that's where it stops. "Most productive earning years behind them"? What? I was born in 1967, I'm 35. I'm certainly HOPING that my best earning years are ahead of me.
    Generally, I find the tenor of most of the /. comments for this pretty funny because they reinforce what I'm saying. In my experience GenX'ers tend to be more characterized by a "leave me alone to live my life" philosophy (mischaracterized by older and younger generations as apathy).
    Living in the the demographic slump after the baby-boom has, for most of us, meant that we are not catered to in any way - by the media, by advertisers, by the markets, etc. Never have been, don't really want to be. Douglas Coupland nailed the ethos of the generation. (That and The Breakfast Club.)
    We were too young to be hippes or protesters in the late 60's and early 70's - we've merely been saddled with the rubble therefrom (drug abuse, AIDS, etc.).
    We grew up post-Watergate, so government has NEVER been something trustworthy. We matured under the shadow of Reagan and Brezhnev/Andropov/Chernyenko/Gorbachev. When I walked into senior high the day of the Challenger disaster, I was RELIEVED to find out it was "only" that the shuttle blew up. The pale faces and utter silence of the commons made me fear the balloon had gone up (remember that quaint phrase?).
    In the 80's, we watched all of our older borthers, sisters, and cousins who had railed against "The Man" and "Corporate America" put on their suits to go rape the economy in corporate takeovers. So all these 'paragons' of idealism are as totally corruptible as anyone else.
    Now in the 90's, we saw all these tainted idealists who made a giant pile of money in the 90's, settle down in their cozy 5000 sqft homes, have their one child name Zoe, drive gigantic vehicles in some pursuit of safety-through-egotism and become the "family" that they also said was hopeless back in the 60's.
    Finally, now that they are staring old age in the face, now they're all joining churches like mad. HA HA HA. Still looking for God that you couldn't find in drugs/sex/money/domesticity?
    As Generation X'ers, THAT'S what we've witnessed, that's what's formed our views of the world. Every decade since we were tots the generation ahead of us has said "we know the true way to happiness!" and been wrong EVERY TIME. We're not "Generation Wrecked". But we're forced to step over their wreckage to live our lives.
  • by bigbigbison (104532) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @01:30PM (#4425981) Homepage
    NO one will probably read this since there are already a million posts on this story but anyway...
    several people have summarized this story as being about gen-x'ers whining. but it isn't. it is about a baby boomer who wrote a story and tried their best to make gen-x seem worse than their genreation. really, how many gen-xers read fortune in comparison to their other readers? their target demo is not gen-x but baby boomers. this is an article to make the baby boomers feel better, "Look how great we are compared to these damn kids." does anyone REALLY think that our best earning years are over? no. not a chance.
    it's not gne-xers whining, its baby boomers looking for a story.
  • by CTD (615278) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @01:45PM (#4426141) Homepage
    I'm 30. I worked through the dot com explosion at a conservative finance company. I hear all the old fart executives laugh at the failure of the computer age. Daily I hear this. Usually because I am the one hooking up their laptop to the presentation system. I am the one showing them how to load that power point presentation that their secretary designed. I am the one who helps them sync their PDA with their laptop. I am the one who is suggesting what computer they should buy their daughter now that she's going away to school. I'm the one showing them how to use Nextel direct connect. Yeah, the computer age is over. My job is in jeopardy and my pay is getting smaller all the time... hardly. The Chicken Little's can complain all they want. I have my geriatric providers right where I need them: Hooked on my technology and convinced that it does not rule them.
  • *ROFL* (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chris Johnson (580) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @03:40PM (#4427254) Homepage Journal
    "Ideally, someone her age (32) should have at least $100,000 stashed away"

    Ye gods! Why? How? Where?

    I'm 34 and I don't think I know _anybody_ my age with '$100,000 stashed away'. Hell, I'm not at all sure it's a good thing to have that kind of money 'stashed away'. I make stuff- I have made a bunch of CDs (at ampcast.com, above), I make guitar DI boxes, I even make costume tails [airwindows.com]. That in spite of the fact that I live on a little more than $5000 a year- it's about budgeting, handling money responsibly, doing without and working hard on things (depression-era values?)

    Money doesn't come from the money fairy, people- though I can understand 'Fortune' magazine not understanding this. It's exchange value for goods and services- it's to do things with, not to 'stash away'. From my perspective, as someone who tries to do and build things rather than 'stash away', these mythical people with '$100,000 stashed away' (a HUNDRED thou? not even ten thou, a freaking hundred?) are the PROBLEM.

    Where does that money go? Typically not gold, or bank notes in a mattress. No, that money was expected to go straight to Enron- woops, I mean WorldCom- woops, I mean Microsoft. Do we see the problem?

    These people are crazy. I can't even feel inferior to their expectations because they seem to have no clue that what they expect is what will RUIN this country. For how many years have people 'stashed away' in this way, and see where it's got us? The answer is not to make it safe to stash away investment in Wall Street and multinational corporations again.

    Get out there and do stuff. Build, create, do- within your means, but I'm talking ALL your means, no 'stashing away'. If you get hit by a truck next week you'll have been happier to have been engaged with a real life- you'll be building abilities that are better than any corporate-wall-street-speculation-policy as insurance for your future- and the money you spend in pursuing your plans and interests is money that CIRCULATES, rather than getting 'stashed away'.

    Honestly, what IS this shit? I think some people still believe in the money fairy, and it isn't Slashdotters or Gen Xers, it's Fortune Magazine. You'd think one Enron, one dotcom implosion, would've taught them.

  • by catsidhe (454589) <catsidhe@gma3.14il.com minus pi> on Thursday October 10, 2002 @06:26PM (#4428510) Homepage
    Will all people who actually believe that generationalist crap please go stick their head in a bucket and go away!

    Everything which is said about the so-called 'Gen-X' is said by the media -- first advertising slime, then editorial slime, followed by stereotyping lazy journalist slime -- not by the members of this nebulous and meaningless 'group'.

    What is this article saying? That it looks like younger people are going to have a really crappy time for the forseeable future, probably the rest of their lives. And that despite the crapulous stereotype fostered upon a generation by fiat, "This time they have reason to whine." (think about that byline. It means that according to them 1: all Gen-Xers whine and complain, and 2: at all times except for this one, any complaints are trivial and meaningless and can be ignored safely. Who decides?)

    Why is this bullshit continuing? Why are 'Gen-Xers' going to do so badly? (A question which is not even asked on the Fortune article, and is answered by "because they are all whining shits" here on /. by people who should know better). Let's try to answer it, shall we?

    For a start, lets use the term 'Gen-X' merely as a reference to the people who happened to be born in that time period, and not say anything about their personal habits, merely the opportunities they (...'we', I should say) have).

    Gen-Xers have been around to take up and ride the greatest explosion in technology since the Industrial Revolution. A few have even managed to become senior programmers and sysadmins. Where to from there? The people who run the companies are still from generation older -- lets label them 'Baby Boomers'. As generations, we -- Gen-X -- have watched them -- Baby Boomers -- profit from wealth and progressive social policies from the sixties to the late seventies -- and then systematically dismantle those things behind them. Here in Australia we used to have free (government-funded) Universities. Student fees were introduced in the early eighties. They have been increasing steadily since, and it now costs between tens- and hundreds-of-thousands of dollars for a degree. And the people who are most shrilly declaiming that fees are still too low and students don't know how good they have it are precisely those who recieved most benefit from free education.

    And then there is the Reagan/Thatcher economic model, which says that selling off your country and renting it back from whoever could afford to buy it somehow makes good economic sense. Gee, that does work! Just ask anyone with a privatised Electricity Company! or Water. or Prison System.
    Governments now have the same or higher debt than they used to have, but there is nothing left to sell off. Except maybe the citizenry as slave labour.

    The Baby Boomers, as a group, are statistically the greediest and most selfish for a hundred years prior, and certainly since. They (that is, those members of that group who have had unfettered access to the pension funds) have squandered the pension money, but do you think there will be any willingness to forego the best care in their dotage? And what will be left after the largest retired population -- by proportion, and absolutely -- in the history of mankind has gone? SFA is my bet. It will be up to us to fund our own retirements, if we get any.

    But wait! There's more... those of Gen-X who have managed to find $100,000 pa jobs are statistical freaks. Most have been dumped on the streets after the bubble burst. There used to be a path of promotion to a point where you could set company policy. How many of you are in that position? How many are under 35? How many of your peers are over 40-45? What about superiors?

    Or the media -- where are the Gen-X journalists? Don't include MTV, or anyone whose only task seems to be reporting on skateboards and rap music. Where are the Gen-Xers interviewing Rumsfeld or Rice? Where are the Gen-Xers reporting in Afghanistan? Or hosting a talking-head show? (Conan O'Brien Doesn't Count).

    When you think about it, this comes down to the powerful members of one generation saying to their children "We will tell you what you are. You are dissapointments to Us. You will never live up to what We were and what We did. We therefore will not give up the world until We cannot hold on with Our palsied hands one moment longer, and We will then expect you to take the best possible care of Us no matter what the cost to your own future."

    And you wonder why those children are pissed!

    P.S. I am not saying that all Boomers are consciously subduing all Gen-Xers, but I am saying that the social structures dismantled by one generation has amounted to pulling up the ladders set up by their parents before the next generation can make its own way up. Any who have climbed the wall on their own, or slipped into the fortress through a fortuotous (sp?) crack, more power to you. But don't forget the increasing crowd still locked outside the gates.

  • by Maul (83993) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @07:22PM (#4428774) Journal
    Why is it that Generation X is being called a bunch of slackers? I know GenX-ers (older than me) who work longer hours than my parents ever did. Meanwhile, the company they work for allows executives (members of the Boomers) to do things like spend $500 on "dinner with a client" or take a day off of work to play a round at an exclusive country club AND EXPENSE IT.

    It is members of the Boomers who get to fly around in the company jet, get to stay in fancy hotels in business trips (which the company pays for), and so forth.

    Then the GenX-ers at the company are asked to work more than 8 hours a day, plus weekends... and are called slackers for wanting to do things like "spend time with their families."

    To top it off, it is members of the Boomers who are "cooking the books" to give themselves fat paychecks. Who suffers when the company goes bankrupt? The GenX-ers who were working at the company.

    And it isn't looking very great for people who are graduating from college now. Not only do we have to compete with LAID OFF Generation X members with Masters Degrees and PHDs who are being forced down into what would normally be entry level positions, but some of us face even greater debt from school.
    (I'm luck that I don't have any debt from school, but plenty of my friends have tons...)

    The government is _encouraging_ the GenX-ers to go into debt by "going shopping" to fight terrorism at the same time. Great idea!!

    I talked with someone from the DEPRESSION generation a few months ago at a picnic.
    The economy entered the discussion.

    They said that they don't understand how younger people can even survive today with the damage that the _Baby Boomers_ are doing.

    The .com thing was a scam, yes... but the Generation X CEOs who were part of the scam were being strung along by venture capitilists... who were mostly (surprise)... Baby Boomers.

    I'm not trying to bash all Boomers here. I know plenty of Baby Boomers who are having just as much trouble as the Generation X people are. But it is just really kinda messed up when Generation X is being called a generation of "slackers," when most of the damage is being done by people from the Boomer Generation who are purposefully doing things that are hurting the economy and hurting the Generation X people so that they can get more money that they don't even need.

When you make your mark in the world, watch out for guys with erasers. -- The Wall Street Journal

Working...