NewsDon't Blame the Baby Boomers for Getting on With Life

Don't Blame the Baby Boomers for Getting on With Life

Just before the Budget, the authoritative but little-known Parliamentary Budget Office issued some illuminating and non-partisan research into the costs of our ageing population.

And while these reports are manna from heaven for pundits, policy wonks and think tanks to put their own spin on there’s also plenty of food for thought for us lesser mortals i.e. those they are talking about.

But beware arguments over allegedly over-generous superannuation tax concessions, the family home being exempt from the pension assets test are other so-called inequities are sure to resurface.

It’s called ‘boomer blaming’ and as this piece in The Conversation spells out it, it does the younger generation no favours to blame their parents for any perceived injustices but it will not stop them. 

Over the next ten years the impact of the baby boomer generation retiring will have some real effects on the economy by reducing income tax revenue and increasing spending of health care, the aged pension and aged care.

With fewer of us working and paying income tax, revenues will reduce by $20billion while the costs of servicing older Australians will increase by $16 billion. 

“In real dollar terms, this equates to an annual cost to the budget of around $36 billion by 2028–29.  This is larger than the projected cost of Medicare in that same year,” says the report.

The effects of this ageing on workforce participation and the age pension is already being felt but will peak over the next ten years although some of the ageing is offset by high arrival rates of younger migrants.

The report also warns the impact on health and aged care will be more gradual as these services are needed most as the boomers reach their 70s and 80s.

A regular intergenerational report looks at ageing over the long term, such as 40 years, but this budget office work is more focused on the next decade which it terms as a ‘particularly significant phase of demographic change.’

The demographers amongst you can soak up all the detail here but needless to say  some of the findings have been used to stoke up the embers of the so-called war between the boomers and millennials.

John Daley, who features on our superannuation podcast (listen here) and his cohorts from the Grattan Institute have largely been given a free kick in the media to focus on the costly downsides of this inevitable process

We who are the living heart of this demographic bubble or bulge or what ever else you care to call this phenomenon have a duty to live for as long and as in good health and wealth as is possible, but someone will have to pay.


Any advice contained in this article is general in nature and does not take into account your particular objectives, personal circumstances or needs. If in doubt about your own situation you should seek appropriate advice.

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Robert from NSW commented:

OK, so I'm a baby boomer and it's all my fault. I worked my butt off for 50 years, paid heaps of tax, paid for my own education, bought a house ( and yes, I paid the 17% mortgage rate ) raised a family and paid for my kids tertiary education. I can remember when there was no gap in private health insurance ( pre-medicare ) and there was no first home buyers grant, baby bonus or any other government handout. Didn't even qualify for child endowment. At 72 I'm in pretty good health, on a part pension but still working casual to help pay the bills and help my millenials whenever I can. Also do some voluntary work. I figure that whatever perceived benefits I might receive, I've earned them. I often wonder how many of these whinging, cry-baby millenials have baby boomer parents, and do they castigate them for providing them with the standard of living and benefits they so obviously enjoy. Mine don't. They appreciate all that we've done for them, and the start in life we were able to provide. The whinging cry-babies wouldn't survive, 'cos it's all somebody else's fault. Mine. 

Member from NSW commented:

Very well said - Eric of NSW. I too remember when my mortgage was 17%-18%. If it happens again the younger generations will just die. I also paid the full university fees (that was after tax money) for two of my children, so they never had 'hex' fees once they graduated. I paid my taxes for 52 years and am a self-funded retiree, I have private health insurance and count myself lucky and don't believe that I am too much of a burden on the population. Ken from NSW 

Eric from NSW commented:

No one seemed to care when we paid 17 percent interest on our home loans.. A lot of us also paid rent before that and later helped kids by giving cheap rents or some gave them cash. But most of us also WORKED too.. A lot of Baby Boomers do a large amount of unpaid babysitting and Charity work.. I am very appreciative of the benefits of this country. I thank all Governments for helping us as well. 

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