The Baby Boomers’ Legacy
Maddy Dychtwald is an author, public speaker, marketing executive and co-founder of Age Wave, a demographic and forecasting company. She is an expert on aging populations and how they affect business, lifestyle and culture. She is the author of three books, including "Influence: How Women's Soaring Economic Power Will Transform Our World for the Better."
Question: What will be the legacy of the Baby Boomer generation?
Maddy Dychtwald: The baby boom generation is a large population that has always got a tremendous amount of attention from the media, sometimes very positive, mostly pretty negative. And I’m a baby boomer myself, so I can appreciate both sides of the coin there. But we need to keep in mind that this generation is very different than generations that came before them and have been kind of the pioneers of many of the attitudes and values of younger generations alive today, so think about it. They’re very irreverent, kind of cynical, very well-educated and have often been portrayed in the media and by other generations as being very narcissistic, self-centered or out for themselves really.
And you know frankly I think it’s a bit of a bum rap. I mean the baby boom generation has done much for our world, for the economy in general. They’ve been the pioneers of the whole entrepreneurial trends that we see taking place today. One of the biggest legacies of the baby boomers I believe is women. I mean I think the boomer women have really been the pioneers of women not just entering the workforce, but thriving in the workforce and taking on new roles and responsibilities in families.
I also think that the baby boom generation has been very innovative. I mean they love something new, something different. You know keep in mind they’re the ones that were around who really began the whole technology revolution. And you know they’re at the forefront of all these fantastic trends. But they get very little credit for it and instead they get blamed and they will be blamed, by the way, for the debacle we are about to experience when we see 78 million Americans begin to enter retirement, not being able to afford retirement. It’s going to be a horrible thing. And also being recipients of Medicare and taking that system and putting it on its head. I mean we’re just not prepared for such a large population of older adults and they’re going to get blamed for all the financial woes that will come as a result of this, but it’s really unfair because our government has done a very poor job of getting the right services in place to really be ready to service 78 million older adults.
Recorded on October 12, 2010
Interviewed by John Cookson
The post-WW2 generation has often been portrayed as narcissistic and self-centered—but that’s a bit of a bum rap.
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