I've taken a short hiatus once again to help Mrs. Wonker get ready for yet another trip to Cleveland to deal with the last remaining parental unit between the two of us--her 95-year old dad who's becoming quite frail.
I lost my mother in late 2006 after her amazingly long battle with MS and lost dad this past February probably due to a heart attack following his decline from Alzheimers.
Mrs. W lost her mother--who'd been suffering complications from multiple myeloma--on August 15, 2008. Last month. This occurred just a week after the reprehensible association for which she worked gave Mrs. W the axe after her nearly 12 years of outstanding service. Not even a thank you. Wonk, as you may recall, got whacked by HIS employer in mid-July, although this bit of unpleasantry was more undersztandable, largely due to the company's chronic inability to grow in a poor economy.
While it's been a really bad 2008 for the Wonkers, who are relatively early Boomers, this kind of trajectory is becoming par for the course for a lot of fellow Boomers. It points toward an odd kind of progress in 21st century human relations and expectations. First of all, the parental units, on average, are living WAY longer than the actuarial tables said they would. So it becomes a real challenge for the Boomers to take care of them even as many of them--who had children late in life--are still putting the kids thru college. It's sorta like being torn apart by wild, fiscally irresponsible horses, if you don't mind the slightly twisted metaphor.
This negative income tag-team phenomenon is going to force many Boomers to remain in the workplace long, long after they'd figured on retiring, as the fiscal stretch is sapping their ability to prepare for their own old age. Meanwhile, Social Security is eventually going to break because the Boomers will have to rely on it more than they thought it would. Which will force the government to tax the Boomers' kids into oblivion, since neither the Dems nor the Repubs have any intention of dealing with this issue seriously, figuring that real honesty on the subject will lose them their seats and country club memberships.
Meanwhile, as they try to stretch those work years, Boomers start getting a little more expensive, pay-wise. So, every time their 9-5 employers' CEOs and CFOs sense that their golf games and stock options are in some danger, a bunch of them get sacked or bought out. They are either not replaced, or they're replaced with kids who are a lot cheaper but lack any corporate memory. The stretched Boomers, now cash-strapped, unemployed, and beleagured by having to support the generations in front of them and behind them, try to get back into the workforce. But, since they're "expensive," they find they can't get their old salaries back for the same job elsewhere. Or can't find a parallel move at all and end up stocking shelves at Home Depot. What a world.
It can seem kinda depressing. But frankly, Mrs. Wonker and I have been prepping for just such a trajectory for many years and are now working on re-establishing income from investments in the market and real estate. Both are presently a thankless task in this economic environment, but we're holding our own. And as I promised, I'll keep ya posted.
Meanwhile, now that I'm a "bachelor" for about a week, I figure I'll get around to making up for lost posting time. Between the Sarah Palin phenomenon, the 7th anniversary of 9/11 just past, and the recent arrival of Hurricane Ike (whose naming simply HAS to be a nefarious plot by the Obama-maniacs to smear the Republicans, right?), there's lotsa stuff to blather about.
And if that's not enough, the Palin nomination has once again stirred up the once-cooling embers of the culture wars, and I'll be doing a number of posts on that. Because, left-benchers to the contrary, I'd never bought the argument (largely from the left) that the culture wars were dead at all. Stay tuned.