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Even the ones with the worst credit history are doing better than other generations

The perception that baby boomers are struggling isn’t quite a reality.

The reality is that they’re doing financially better than some other generations — even the very worst of the boomers, according to new research from credit company Elevate.

“Nonprime” boomers, or the ones with low credit scores that delay paying off debts, are doing better than other research is showing, Elevate says, and better than their peers in other generations.

“Recently, it was reported by the Federal Reserve that Baby Boomers are leaving the workforce in such large droves that they are skewing employment numbers,” says Jonathan Walker from Elevate. “But we’ve found that 60 percent of non-prime Boomers have had no employment change in the last 12 months, compared with 59 percent of Gen-X and 43 percent of Millennials.”

Unfortunately, even though they are doing better than we thought, that doesn’t mean they’re doing great. Elevate says that non-prime boomers are doing terrible compared to their prime peers when it comes to savings, loans, and retirement. This isn’t just a boomer problem — across all generations, Americans with low credit scores and mounting debt face many more financial obstacles than their peers with better credit history.

Elevate says nonprime boomers are twice as likely to be stressed out from their financial problems, four times as likely to live paycheck to paycheck, and three times as likely to take out a loan against their 401(k). They’re also less likely to go on vacations and 14 times more likely than their financially well-off friends to say they aren’t sure what their next month’s income will be.

“The struggles of other generations have a direct impact on the struggles of baby boomers,” Walker says. “With nonprime millennials unable to make financial progress despite their best efforts, fewer are buying homes, and more are living with their baby boomer parents for longer, putting additional strain on boomers’ finances.”

Those hardships are hurtful. Boomers know less about retirement than they think they do. Lack of financial literacy, paired with their support for their adult children and aging parents, puts boomers in a terrible financial hole for their personal futures.

Saving for retirement is difficult for everyone. We hate it so much that we forget about our plans when we leave our jobs. But it’s particularly difficult for older Americans. Most Americans and particularly boomers don’t believe they will have enough money saved to make it through retirement. Having enough money for their golden years is a huge financial stressor for baby boomers.

Being retired and poor isn’t uncommon, but it does add a lot of stress to both retirees and pre-retirees. It means more Americans are planning on working through retirement, or rather, not even retiring at all.

With the lack of retirement savings, emergency savings, and not being able to barely afford to live as it is, boomers — especially nonprime boomers with bad credit — face more problems than their prime peers. As the world continues to run out of retirement money, we may not even have a retirement at all in the coming decades.

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Meet the Author

Dori Zinn

Dori Zinn


Zinn is a freelance journalist based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.


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