15 Things That Prove Life Was Way Harder for Baby Boomers Than Millennials and Gen Z

No matter what anyone says, life for baby boomers was markedly more challenging than that of millennials and Gen Z. After all, they faced many economic fluctuations, technological limitations and advancements, and life-changing global events. So, though you may not be part of this generation, understanding the differences in their way of life and mindset sheds light on how diverse life can be.

Communication Hurdles and Challenges

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Gen Z are considered digital natives, while millennials are a mix of digital immigrants and natives. In stark contrast, digital communication methods were a distant dream for baby boomers or those born between 1946 and 1964. In the past, they navigated through the limited options of bulky telephones, beepers, or face-to-face conversations.

Limited Information Accessibility

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Alongside their unique communication styles, baby boomers also grappled with limited access to information. The internet, a tool we now consider indispensable for information, was still in its infancy during their time. Today, most baby boomers still rely on traditional media, such as print and TV, for entertainment and news, highlighting the stark contrast in information accessibility between then and now.

Rigid Social Expectations and Inflexible Gender Roles

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Society was much more set on following rigid social rules during the era of baby boomers. For them, a man’s place is at work, while a woman needs to be at home, caring for the house and the family. An article from Pepperdine University explains, “Boomers express gender mostly through traditional masculinity. Boomer men tend to hold onto traditional male roles out of a lack of familiarity with where they belong in a transformed society.”

Limited Knowledge of the Importance of Mental Health

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While we have a better yet still lacking understanding of mental health issues today, information about this was basically nonexistent to the common folk during the time of baby boomers. In fact, research indicates that baby boomers are most likely out of all age groups to avoid seeking assistance for mental health issues. They, after all, have extreme stigmatization when it comes to mental health. Aside from mental health issues, baby boomers were also ignorant of the importance of having an active lifestyle and a good, balanced diet for their overall health.

Limited Flexibility in Education and Career Paths

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Nowadays, people have a wide array of choices when it comes to how they want to live life. They can take gap years from school and work, choose online or remote work to have the flexibility they crave, and more. However, it simply wasn’t the same for baby boomers. For them, life was often linear and straightforward: finish school, apply for a well-paying corporate job, and work till retirement.

Lack of Work-Life Balance

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Baby boomers grew up haunted by horror stories about what happened to their parents and grandparents during the Great Depression. Because of this, their mindsets about life and work are entirely different from those of millennials and Gen Z. An article on LinkedIn explains, “Traditionally, baby boomers tend to equate hard work with success and may prioritize professional achievements over personal time.”

High Inflation

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In the 1970s, when many baby boomers were already working, the US stock market was a mess, losing almost half of its value in less than 24 months. Because of this, economic growth was stunted, and inflation rose to an all-time high, called the Great Inflation. This lasted until the early 1980s.

Increasingly High Unemployment Rates

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There was also a rise in unemployment in America during the Great Inflation. At its height, the unemployment rate reached double digits. To give you some perspective, the unemployment rate in 2023 was 3.7% to 3.9%, while it was nearly 11% at the peak of the Great Inflation.

Being Subjected to Military Service

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Aside from influential events that shaped history, such as the landing on the moon, baby boomers’ consciousness was also awakened by civil unrest and wars, like the Vietnam War. Business Insider explains, “The United States began to draft baby boomers into the Vietnam War in the late ’60s. The New York Times reports that 40% of males in the baby boomer generation served in the war.”

Inadequate Environmental and Safety Regulations

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During baby boomers’ time, there was significantly less knowledge and importance placed on workplace safety and environmental protection. This resulted in loose regulations that led people to work in hazardous conditions. Additionally, old factories would pollute the environment without facing proper consequences.

Financial Uncertainty and an Unstable Economy

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Baby boomers frequently faced financial uncertainty and an unstable economy throughout their lives. Economic conditions could be unpredictable, leading to job insecurity and fluctuating incomes. Additionally, a big chunk of the population encountered difficulties saving for retirement due to economic downturns, stock market fluctuations, and changes in pension plans.

Social Security Reform

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Baby boomers born in the latter years also faced problems with Social Security. They were part of the scope of the Social Security modification that required them to work a little longer than their older boomer cohorts. While the full retirement age was 65 for most of history, it was overhauled in 1983 and raised to 67. Aside from making baby boomers work for longer, it cut their benefits by 13%.

Steep Learning Curves When It Came to Technological Adaptation

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Because baby boomers aren’t digital natives, they find it hard to transition as smoothly as other generations, like millennials, into the digital age. In fact, if you’re a millennial or a Gen Z with living grandparents or older parents, you’d most likely find yourself helping them “fix” stuff on their phones, computers, and TVs that would usually be a breeze for you.

Exposure to and Involvement in Major Global Events

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Most baby boomers have been shaped and influenced by global events they may have experienced firsthand. For example, they were already alive when Martin Luther King, Jr. led the march on Washington, D.C., and also when he was assassinated. Most baby boomers also remember when humans landed on the moon in 1969.

Complex Retirement Planning

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Baby boomers are encountering distinctive challenges as they approach retirement. Compared to previous generations, they live longer, meaning their retirement savings must last longer. The problem is that most of their earnings happened in a completely different economic landscape than what millennials and Gen Z have now.

Read More: 20 Common Traits Poorly Educated People Usually Have

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Poorly educated individuals may exhibit certain noticeable characteristics that set them apart from others. On the flip side, some may also compensate for their lack of education by pretending to be knowledgeable in certain areas. This behavior is often a way for poorly educated individuals to maintain their self-image and self-esteem.

20 Common Traits Poorly Educated People Usually Have

20 Behaviors and Traits That Are Dead Giveaways of Having Low Intelligence

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Speaking loudly, being overly confident, or even gossiping can all be signs of someone having low intelligence. However, by recognizing these markers, people can become more proactive in addressing their limitations and weaknesses, eventually improving their overall mental and emotional capacity. Read on and learn more about the top 20 dead giveaways of low intelligence!

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20 Things You’re Doing That Make You a Bad Neighbor

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People have different personalities; that’s a fact. When you move somewhere with a tight-knit community, you will get to know many people who will either clash with your personality or make you feel like you’ve found a new friend. However, no matter what it is, remember to establish boundaries. If you don’t, you might soon see a lot of bad blood between you and other people in the community!

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20 Signs You Have Little to No Emotional Support in Your Relationship

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Navigating a relationship without enough emotional support can feel like being caught in a storm without shelter. Constant feelings of isolation, misunderstanding, and loneliness indicate a loss of balance in the emotional aspect of your relationship. Thankfully, it’s not too late to get help because we’ve gathered the top 20 signs that can help you determine whether or not you’re receiving the emotional support you need for a healthy, thriving relationship.

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20 Christian Practices That Confuse and Puzzle Others

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All regions differ in some way. Catholics collect saint cards and plan their vacations around religious sights, and Buddhists believe in karma and reincarnation. Like them, Christians also practice some things that are simply unheard of or puzzling for others. They practice tithing, cast out demons, and more!

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Author: Karen Danao

Bio:

Karen is a writer and also a marketing and advertising professional. Beyond the keyboard and the screen, she is someone who’s out to enjoy every bit that life has to offer!

Poetry, philosophy, history, and movies are all topics she loves writing about! However, her true passion is in traveling, photography, and finding common ground to which everyone from different cultures can relate.

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