Show some respect: A Baby Boomer bites back


A week or so ago, I wrote a column for the Australian Financial Review, based on a comment by a senior strata manager that downsizing Baby Boomers were a new breed of bugbears in strata. The column (reproduced here) elicited this response from reader Steve. I present it below, unedited and without further comment.

Onya Jimmy…you’ve managed to nudge me into the first message I have ever sent back to the AFR.

Your piece in the AFR today is another example of ‘contributors’ and journos being a little too cute about Boomers. I particularly like how you throw a short line in ‘..of course these are gross generalisations…’ as an ‘out’ for the rubbish about Boomers having had it too good for too long.

Yep I am one, albeit amongst the youngest of that gen (at 61). I remember life as a 20 and 30-something on low salaries (in contrast to todays young person $). I remember massive interest rates (something the gen’s since have no memory of).

I remember working 2-3 jobs at a time to make sure I could pay off loans. I remember putting up with autocratic leadership styles as the norm in workplaces as opposed to the genuinely engaging and respectful leadership that is commonplace today.

Of course I remember saving hard and doing without rather than the ‘live for now, spend spend on smashed avo’ approach of the gen y/ millenials. I remember regulated lending which meant having to prove average balance savings and lower borrowing limits for mortgages as opposed to banks throwing money at young borrowers today.

I remember taking my lunch to work, resoling my shoes not buying new ones. Mate, Boomers have earned the right to have their say, even if it’s on a strata committee.

Chances are they will be the ones who apply some neighbourhood watch safety to the block and the ones who bring the bins in and pull some weeds out of the common garden area when the gen y/millenials walk past (remember that mob are only about themselves).

Who knows the Boomers might even say good morning and get to know their neighbours, even if they are 25 year old self-centred, don’t engage eye contact, make too much noise at 1am, leave their scooter in the walk way types, walk by and ignore them.

By the way, since they were raised on healthy home cooking not fast food, Boomers are less likely to have ‘straining belts’ (nice shot mate) than their younger neighbours.

For the record I still work full time, have paid off the mortgage and saved hard to be a self-funded retiree in a couple of years. I live in my own home with a family, including 3 kids I have paid fees for through school years, paid for private health care, paid a shed-load of tax which I don’t resent.

I haven’t drawn much from the public purse for years and wont draw any age pension in retirement….So mate, I figure I have, like plenty of other Boomers, earned a little respect (if not thanks).

I am unlikely to move into a strata model, only because I like a yard. But if I do I am likely to be community minded, similar to lots of Boomers I know. And I am becoming tired of the ‘Boomers are to blame for everything’ narrative I read in the press.

I challenge you to follow up with a ‘respect the Boomers, they’ve earned it’ article. Of course that won’t have the same cute spin or click-appeal, will it?

You can catch up with more readers comments on this issue HERE on the Forum.

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    A week or so ago, I wrote a column for the Australian Financial Review, based on a comment by a senior strata manager that downsizing Baby Boomers wer
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