Sixty something: Who is a baby boomer? 28



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Good morning sixty somethings. Today I want to ask the question: Who is a baby boomer? According to records, a baby boomer is someone born post war between 1946 and 1964. This puts me in that category. I was born in 1953. BUT, yes there’s always a but, I have watched, listened and heard so many of you who are classed as baby boomers. I don’t seem to fit the typical idea of a baby boomer.  

I have of course been born in that era, I have enjoyed the go-go boots, long coats, flared pants and being able to walk into a job and getting it with no experience, just because I was first there. So many of the good things of my “younger” years. However, I hear how people worked really hard and could save for a home, who were lucky to have a little nest egg, who have it a little easier than the kids today. So many of you talk about the kids “inheritance” or using it to travel. So many talk about how things were much easier to achieve then. I could go on but you get what I mean don’t you?

Here’s the thing: I have always worked hard. I was the product of a parent who thought any money in the family was for the boys education because girls would get married and have a husband to look after them. I was good at school but wanted more. My father said no so no it was. I was great at sports but was again told no to training that could have made me better. My dreams were knocked down at every turn. Still I believed I could go on to greater things in spite of my parent. Yes, I have always worked hard.

BUT: I don’t remember ever being paid enough to save much back then. I was never able to own my own home back then. I never had any assistance from my parents back then. I don’t remember thinking that I would be OK because I am a product of post war, where if you work hard and save, you will be able to have a home, a car a nice life. I don’t even remember thinking that maybe I won’t have those things either.  

I remember working hard nearly my entire life. I remember no matter what I did, something always happened to make me take one step back for every two forward. I didn’t think about super or taxes or men getting paid more than women. I just did what I had to do and got on with it. It seems there were rich folk and poor folk. I was never going to be rich folk, for whatever reason.

Today I hear some so called “baby boomers”, even on this site, say if you worked hard and saved you wouldn’t need to rely on a pension. I hear them say what a great life it was back then because you had opportunities that the young today don’t get today etc etc.

My younger days were filled with work and the pub on a Saturday night or the drive-in. My younger days were filled with work and helping my mother and taking care of my siblings at times. My younger days were filled with work and dreams of one day going on a trip, or living in a big house. My younger days were filled with work and living in hope. My younger days were filled with work and hanging out with my friends who were the same as me, working and hoping for a better future. I never begrudged the “rich”. I never dwelled on it but I never for a minute thought I was different to anyone else and never stopped working to create a better life.

I don’t like the tag “Baby Boomer”. I’m not a baby and the word boomer conjures up someone who has life easy now because of those gone by years. Some have an easier life than me and I don’t begrudge them that but many have not. Many like myself just worked hard all their lives and never made it to the top. It doesn’t mean we were stupid or we didn’t work hard enough or missed opportunities. In our lives things happen that we don’t usually have much control over, some good, some not so good. This in itself can change your destiny. So I don’t think there is any such thing as a “baby boomer” and when those so called baby boomers who tell me and others we should have worked harder, done more, think before you speak. If you have been lucky enough to get to that point in your life where you have it a little easier, good for you. Perhaps you are a true baby boomer. For those of the younger generation who class all baby boomers as selfish and u caring and spending their inheritance and having life ever than they have, I say put up or shut up. Prove it and stop putting all of us in one category.

For me, I am just someone who was born in 1953. I grew up as best I could. I worked damn hard and now spend my life just existing. I still worry that my children won’t have life easier than me and I still try to think of ways to help. I’m not a “baby boomer”.

I’m a 63 year old woman, struggling with life. I have done the very best I can all my life and will continue to do so. I love with everything I have and never say never. I am not a Baby Boomer. I am me.

Do you agree with Fran?

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Fran Spears

Born in 1953. Came to Hobart from the north west coast of Tassie to be closer to my son as I have mild chronic bronchitis. Mild and chronic in same sentence – even that makes me laugh. Have just completed and passed my diploma in Public Relations. Love to write and have lead a reasonably interesting life. My motto: "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn!"

  1. Well said Fran. I’m sick of the tags and whinging generation taking aim at so called “Baby Boomers”. I am one year later than you. I have struggled and had the hard times. I have been successful though but only from my hard work and personal commitment. But I am also just me.

  2. Totally agree with you Fran. We never had superannuation either.

  3. I agree Fran. I was also born in 1953 and worked full time in the private sector for 22 years prior to having my first child, so therefore didn’t have any superannuation. Apart from having five years out of the workforce having my two children, I have always and continue to work. We are all different and have different experiences in life and I’m sure most of us do the best we can.

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  4. Fran well said I was born 1952 and fully agree with you on this subject. I am now on a disability pension through no fault of mine, would love to still be out in the workforce as it would make things a little easier for me to get by. I have worked hard all my life also, I did marry and we brought a house had 2 lovely children who I am very proud of. Due to a family situation my husband and I ended having to sell our house to assist our children and the families during a very hard time, which most would do and I would do it all again. I had Ro start fresh we rented then due my husband got ill and I got the big C this changed our life again, but we took it on and we fought for our life. We have nothing and no the kids will not have an inheritance and we wont have a huge holiday we are pensioners living from 1 pension to another and picking up little jobs we can handle now and again to help. I don’t begrudge people being rich but I do feel that a pension should be even, our country should not be giving pensions to those who do not need it or who have stashed money away for their children’s inheritance. Yes I wish I had something to leave them but I don’t, but I leave them a lifetime of love. They will survive as we did because they have watched us and have learnt how to cope, they have not been given everything they wanted all their lives they will live on and work hard the same as we have.

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    • My inheritance is all the skills, morals and how to be an honest working taxpayer I learnt from my parents. I am grateful everyday for the parents I had. I knew that they were always there for me – it wasn’t a lovey dovey era but I have an unending respect for my parents and remember them with gratitude.

  5. Born in 55, migrated from Britain in 58/59, started work when I was 16. Finally got my first house in 84, in western suburbs of Sydney with a little help from relies. It was an extremely small fibro cottage on a postage stamp sized piece of land. My husband and I grew up in Hurstville and Sutherland shires and it was a culture shock, but it was ours, we were lucky and sold in the boom of 89 and moved to queensland for a better life for our children, which paid off for us. We both worked hard and had a reasonable life, but didn’t, or weren’t able to, save money…..many years on and at 60 still paying back the bank. I will not retire with much at all as only worked part time over the years after had kids. It has never been easy, my 34 year old son moans about how us baby boomers had it all! how we all got free uni education! I didn’t, and neither did my 4 siblings because our parents simply couldn’t afford to continue to support us and we had to go to work! I passed my school cert. with all advanced passes and was in the top 10% in the state, I had no other choice. When it comes to inheritance, there is just the house, so a bit hard to spend that, and we will need to sell it to pay for our aged care! S gen x, or what ever you are, get over it, work hard like the greater majority have to, a lot of people in the not too distant past, ie my parents couldn’t afford their own home and also had to live through wars too, so stop whinging and get on with it!

  6. Thank you Fran,you have my life all rolled into one letter.Except I’m not a legal baby boomer! I am a war baby, born in 1940 Lived with very conservative Edwardian parents. I too was not allowed to go on after 15 to get an education, learn to drive, dance etc I went to work on a very low wage which was given to m,y mother, so went to work, came home & read. I never did learn to socialise with other people of my age and had a very hard time ,they all thought I was stand, I prefer to live on my own and live my life through the wonders of my very normal hard working children

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    • Born 1940 left school at 15 as did most of my friends, father and mother did not think that as a female I and my older sister did not need to continue at school. Went to work in office. Did commercial Course at school. Eventually met future husband who was studying at night school. He encouraged me to return to school. Did Mariculation. Got married had three children. Still working. Applied and was accepted t University. Now 76. Still working. Have 8 perfect grand children. Married 51 years. I am happy. Life was good. And still is

  7. i agree with you completly i had to leave school at fifteen to help with the running of the house pay board i too and my husband have worked very hard to raise my family i still do not own my own home i guess its not meant to be i feel for my kids and grandkids the struggle they have but its still possible there lives are filled with the need for the biggest and the latest stuff i was born in 1947 even in retirement we are on the lowest income i am certainly no baby boomer my husband worked unti he was 75 not a sit down office job hardwork me to i was 67 ,i get annoyed when young people say we had it easy

  8. Say what you like, you are a Baby Boomer. An expose of your present circumstances does not change that. Many Baby Boomers are doing it hard because every good thing that generation fought for has been eroded by government. I think Fraser was right, life was not meant to be easy. We had to fight for what we got and make life what we wanted out of it. We made it easy for the current generation say “Look what you created for us”. We created a great society and community which they are now ruining with selfishness and greed created by government.

    My five sons have worked themselves into a good life because of their own hard work and discipline. There are many modern generation people like that and my grandchildren are enjoying their childhood but their adulthood may be fairly difficult.

  9. Yes I to was born in 1953 I.m 63 and still work in a factory as a process worker I have worked since I was 16 married with Three grown children we own our home but by no means are well off government please don’t pick on me I,ve paid my fair share of tax and I have a little money in super which is taxed also I think I have earned my pension and I can not stand the title baby boomer why the hell should I be called a baby boomer I have my own name thankyou.

  10. Thank you Fran for putting your opinion out there, i have a similar story, girls were not encourged to gain better skills that was left to the boys and husband to be, unfortunately marriages breakdown and the women is left to find out how difficult life can be living on a single income. Yes its a great opportunity to learn to take care of oneself but by then house prices have gone through the roof, superannuation was not something that the average person had as compulsory super was not around unti, much later in our working life and just like you life seems to be existing from one payday to another will little extra at the end of the week, getting old is a scary process with little financial backup. Please stop generalizing people unless you know ours stories, i believe many of us have worked hard and will continue to do so.

  11. I was born in 1950. My mother never worked & my dad was a Rep for an oil company for 50 years. They lived from pay to pay with 3 kids but we never went without & appreciated what we had. I left school at 17 & got a job at IPEC which started me being able better myself with several other work places. Went on a working holiday after breaking up with my Vietnam Vet fiancé. Thought my life was over but then went on to work in Perth before coming home to meet the love of my life, worked, married , had 3 kids, didn’t work for 12 years, got back into the work force, put the kids through college & have just retired at 65. We lived from pay to pay, our employers got us into Super as well & we are now on a pension & have a little extra from Super to live. We own our home, cars & a caravan, have what we need but have never been big spenders. I think we have been very lucky, we live in a lucky country & I’m grateful for that. I guess we are the proverbial baby boomers but we’ve lived on the bones of our bums too just scraping by, especially when the kids were at school. Life is what you make it, it’s not always easy.

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    • Very well said Anne!! Had a very similar life and loved every minute even though not a lot of money! I write this from southern Thailand where my husband and I spend a few months a year helping to feed people in the slums and next year hope to come back to live for a few months feeding these people.

  12. Fran you can hold your head high as one who has paid your way. Born in 1952, I qualified as an accountant at night school when I was 26. I had been offered a job which included superannuation when I was 18yo as I was considered a “career prospect”. The trust deed had to be altered to include females and it was not on offer to all staff. I think most of us carried a good work ethic and expected to work to retirement. I don’t think we were lucky or owe our kids anything other than an education and the best upbringing we can. That is about love and morals rather than dollars. Having worked with several very rich people, I doubt they are any happier in retirement. We all know happier, poorer people. We’ve been fortunate but then saved to make our own luck. What I detest is the lack of security for people in their later years as I would like to see Government Bonds returned with a decent interest rate to help make the final years a bit less worrisome.

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