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September 16, 2021

Which age group do you think got the worst of the recession?

So, the recession has given you a raw deal, huh?

Well, sure it has. If you’re X-years-old, your job prospects are a sliver of what they once were. If you’re Y-years-old, you can’t move up your career ladder because each rung has either been laced with cyanide or blown away completely. If you’re Z-years-old, you can’t retire at a time when you should because your nest egg has fallen from the tree and cracked on the pavement.

All fair points. Yet, which age group has been hardest hit from the downturn?

With help from The Atlantic, let’s take a look …

In an exhaustively considered me-versus-you feature, TheAtlantic.com pits three age groups – GenY, GenX and Boomers – against each other, measuring employment, income and future economic prospects to gauge just who got the worst end of the recession.

*Bing: How to find a job at any age

The results, of course, are inconclusive. In fact, there are no real results; it all comes down to which argument you feel is most compelling.

A truncated version of each campaign, as compiled by The Atlantic:

1) GenYers – Unemployment is bad, yes, but it’s worst among young people. Add to that once we do  find a job, if we find a job, starting incomes are way down from where they once were. In fact, according an economist at Yale, every one percentage point increase in the unemployment rate slashes new U.S. graduates’ incomes by seven per cent. And we’re supposed to pay back our ballooning student debt how, exactly?

2) GenXers – Go stick it up your nose, GenYers. Move around and find a job. We’re a bit older. We’ve got kids. We’ve got families. What are we supposed to do? We’re the ones stuck in jobs with no way to move up since a certain age group you’ll hear from later won’t vacate their positions in retirement age. Our prime earning years are being sapped from us, and now my home is worth about 60 per cent what I paid for it. This ain’t good.

3) Boomers – Okay, we’re working for the most part. And, we’re earning more than each of you whippersnapper age groups. Fine. But these are our golden years. Our retirements and pension plans are gone, so what are we to do? Step down from our only source of income and sit around to die? No, we must still work, even if it means a few GenXers can’t reach the corner office for a few more years. You think we want it to be this way? I have to wake up six times a night to pee. This is not how I planned things!

Eesh. Everybody seems to have a point.

What age group do you fall in, and do you feel you’ve gotten the recession’s worst? If not, whose side are you on, GenYers’, GenXers’ or the Boomers’?

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...