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|Monday, September 01, 2008|
The youngest boomers trail behind
Baby boomers are big news. Last year, the first boomer collected her first Social Security check. Many boomers are members of AARP and are forming a formidable voting bloc of “gray panthers.” Rich and retiring boomers have fueled Oregon’s condo building boom. The decline in their portfolios has been blamed for Oregon’s condo bust.
Not every boomer is retired, however. While the first boomers were basking in the Summer of Love, the last of the boomers were getting ready to enter kindergarten. When the military draft ended, the youngest boomer was 10 years old. Nearly a third of Oregon’s baby boomers are under 50 (about 284,000 people). They are earning more than they ever earned before. Many are also earning more than they ever will. On the other hand, they have yet to send their kids to college and have sizable home loans to pay off.
The average family income for a younger boomer with a college degree is more than $100,000. Curiously, Oregon’s college-educated boomers have family incomes that are approximately 18% lower than the U.S. average. The disparity is due in part to limited employment opportunities in high-paying jobs and lifestyle choices that trade leisure time for work. For example, many Oregon transplants have left the go-go rat races of New York and California to take up a lower-stress (and a lower-pay) lifestyle in the Northwest.
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