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Teach your children well

By Jennie L. Phipps · Bankrate.com
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Posted: 4 pm ET

Here's an unsettling retirement planning thought. With our own children grown or nearly grown, we may think that our responsibilities have ended for seeing that the school systems are successfully educating young children and high schools are turning out graduates who are prepared for work or further training. But Nicole Smith, senior economist at the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, says not so fast.

Smith says the boomer generation may think it can work forever, but that won't happen.  The center anticipates a rush to retirement within nine years. And when we retire, the younger people who will take our places need to be able to cope in a changing economy.

Smith points out that in 1973, around the time many of us started working, only 27 percent of the population went to college. Everybody else went to work, and they were able to earn middle-class livings doing jobs that didn't require much education. Over the years, that's changed.

Research by the Center on Education and the Workforce suggests that only 30 percent of jobs in 2018 won't require training beyond a high school diploma. And the 30 percent that can be done without further education will pay less than $35,000 a year.

For the first time in U.S. history, we are facing widespread downward mobility, Smith says, with younger generations likely to earn less and live less well than we do -- unless we do something about it.

One of the reasons behind our economic problems is the number of under-educated, single women supporting children on inadequate incomes. Whether we approve or disapprove of the lifestyle is almost irrelevant. It's still in our best interest to do what it takes to make sure that those children and their parents get an education and figure out a way to earn a better living.

It isn't because we're bleeding hearts. There's a much more pragmatic reason than that. If the generations behind us don't get good jobs and earn good salaries, they won't be able to pay the taxes that support our Social Security and Medicare and keep our neighborhoods and our streets safe.

"These are the people who are going to replace the boomer generation, so we must train this workforce so they can step up to that job," Smith says. "It behooves older people to be supportive of this population because these are the people who are going to be working to pay the bills."

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3 Comments
John Q Taxpayer
November 16, 2011 at 12:01 pm

Wolverine, you are the man.

Jennie, maybe your generation shouldn't have saddled my generation with massive taxes. Maybe your generation should have been more responsible in regards to saving for retirement. If you think you're entitled to anything I've earned, you're welcome to pry it out of my cold, dead hands.

Wolverine
November 16, 2011 at 10:52 am

"If the generations behind us don't get good jobs and earn good salaries, they won't be able to pay the taxes that support our Social Security and Medicare and keep our neighborhoods and our streets safe."

HAHAHAHAHAHA.

I KNEW IT.

I was reading and beginning to wonder, where's the "boomer entitlement" that Jennie loves to display in almost every article, and THERE IT IS.

Homeless
November 16, 2011 at 8:14 am

There are plenty of people in the next generation that will do just fine. EVERY SINGLE generation has people that don't get the same education or that are sitting around waiting for other people to foot their bills (and we continue to do so). What incentive is their for someone to go out and get better educated and have to work hard, when they can sit at home collecting welfare, food stamps and now health insurance? If they do not want to better themselves for their own sake or for the sake of their offspring, why is it MY JOB or MY TAX DOLLARS that need to push them or support them, or educate them. I have to do all those things for myself and MY CHILDREN...nobody is giving me any handouts.