Millennials and boomers: Pandemic ache, by the technology

This photo from June 16, 2020 shows Maddy, center, and Brian Bascom, right, both members of the Millennial generation, as they pose for a photo with their son, Jack in their backyard in Cincinnati. Sometimes at odds, America’s two largest generations have something to agree on: the coronavirus pandemic has smacked many at a pivotal time in their lives. For baby boomers, named for the post-World War II surge of births, that means those who retired or are nearing retirement age are seeing their retirement accounts appearing unreliable while their health is at high risk. Millennials, who became young adults in this century, are getting socked again as they were still recovering from the Great Recession. (AP Photo/Dan Sewell)

This photograph from June 16, 2020 exhibits Maddy, heart, and Brian Bascom, proper, each members of the Millennial technology, as they pose for a photograph with their son, Jack of their yard in Cincinnati. Generally at odds, America’s two largest generations have one thing to agree on: the coronavirus pandemic has smacked many at a pivotal time of their lives. For child boomers, named for the post-World Conflict II surge of births, which means those that retired or are nearing retirement age are seeing their retirement accounts showing unreliable whereas their well being is at excessive danger. Millennials, who turned younger adults on this century, are getting socked once more as they had been nonetheless recovering from the Nice Recession. (AP Photograph/Dan Sewell)


CINCINNATI – Millennials, you are taking an enormous hit — once more. And you are not OK, both, boomers.

Generally at odds, America’s two largest generations now have one thing to agree on: The coronavirus pandemic has smacked a lot of them at a pivotal time of their lives.

For child boomers, named for the post-World Conflict II surge of births, which means those that are retired or are nearing retirement are seeing their 401(okay) accounts and IRAs wanting unreliable whereas their well being is at excessive danger.


Millennials, who turned younger adults on this century, are getting socked once more simply as they had been starting to recuperate after what a Census researcher discovered had been the Nice Recession’s hardest hits to jobs and pay.

“The long-lasting results of the Nice Recession on millennials, that was sort of scarring,” mentioned Grey Kimbrough, a millennial and an economist at American College in Washington. “And now when the economic system had lastly clawed again to the place we had been earlier than the Nice Recession, then this hit at a very dangerous time as effectively for millennials particularly.”

One other issue: Millennials had been probably the most various technology, and the pandemic has harm Black individuals and Latinos disproportionately each in well being and financially. “The pandemic has shined a highlight on huge inequality by race, ethnicity and gender,” mentioned Christian Weller, a professor of public coverage on the College of Massachusetts-Boston.


This 12 months has highlighted America’s technology gaps, particularly between the 2 largest generations. Each have been stereotyped as being self-absorbed — millennials as selfie-obsessed avocado toast addicts, boomers for his or her outsized “mcmansions” and self-indulgence. And each are feeling pandemic ache, although in numerous methods.

“When the generations divide, youth will know solely youth; the aged will know solely the aged,” Landon Jones wrote in “Nice Expectations: America & the Child Growth Technology,” his 1980 ebook that coined the time period boomer. “And as all the time, the growth technology will know solely itself.”

The boomers had been principally born to “the Best Technology,” People who survived the Nice Despair as kids and rallied collectively to win World Conflict II. However whereas start charges slowed down in the course of the ensuing “Technology X,” the millennial technology expanded, fueled partly by immigration.


Millennials turned the best-educated technology and extra open to social change, solely to search out that the boomers’ helped elect Republican Donald Trump president by outvoting them in 2016.

Therefore the dismissive “OK, boomer!” And boomers aren’t amused.

The virus has killed older People greater than others. It left many remoted at dwelling for security — and with a way they’re thought-about expendable in efforts to reopen the economic system.


“We have turn into a throwaway technology,” mentioned Norm Wernet, 74, an advocate for retiree causes in Ohio. “It infuriates us.”

It is upsetting to see so many youthful individuals going maskless round older individuals, Wernet mentioned, at the same time as federal illness consultants say sporting masks helps defend weak individuals. Boomers, he mentioned, don’t get to benefit from the golden years they labored many years to succeed in.

In the meantime, a string of newspaper and journal tales have dubbed millennials “the unluckiest technology.”


Richard Fry, a senior researcher for the Washington-based Pew Analysis Heart, says early research of pandemic attitudes have proven that older individuals see it extra as a well being disaster, whereas younger adults fear extra about financial affect. However researchers are discovering older People have been hit more durable by job loss, too, on this recession.

Having lunch collectively on a restaurant deck in suburban Cincinnati, a father and son not too long ago mentioned variations in generational views of 2020.

“I’ve had pals which were laid off. I have been partially furloughed alongside the best way. I am not accustomed to that,” mentioned Chris Newsome, 36, a millennial who went to school underneath the G.I. Invoice after serving two excursions of Military responsibility in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. That helped his funds via the Nice Recession, however he is “definitely feeling the sting” of this downturn.


“We’ve not seen one thing precisely like this earlier than,” Newsome mentioned. “We do not actually know what we’re strolling into. … It is sophisticated all people’s private lives.”

Newsome, who works in job placement, mentioned some companies he labored with stopped hiring or shut down. His household and friends needed to immediately earn a living from home, leaving many to handle day care and education. Gbenga Ajilore, a senior economist on the Heart for American Progress, mentioned the pandemic has pressured one guardian in some two-income households to drop out of the work drive.

Chris’ father, Buck Newsome, 64, president of Cambridge Monetary Group, mentioned he felt the Nice Recession was “extra visceral for me and my friends.”


Many boomers had been in peak incomes years, “crusing alongside” towards retirement, when underlying issues with the economic system highlighted by the housing bubble lastly popped. However the present recession was self-inflicted, brought on by shutdowns and quarantines for public well being, he mentioned.

He thinks the underpinnings stay to get the economic system transferring once more, although that is clouded by uncertainty. Newsome hears from many friends who acquired so “clobbered” in 2008 and 2009 that they’ve bought off.

“Emotion comes into play,” he mentioned. “They are saying, ‘I can not take that sort of hit once more.’”


U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, 64, had been elevating alarms about inadequate retirement financial savings amongst older People earlier than the present downturn. He and Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Maryland, have pushed laws aimed on the one-fifth of People nearing retirement who’ve little or no financial savings.

“Lots of people are low by way of retirement financial savings, significantly child boomers,” Portman mentioned, with current pay cuts and layoffs aggravating that. Congress’ first COVID-19 reduction bundle allowed individuals to withdraw cash from their 401(okay) ’s with out the standard penalties, however that has additional drained retirement financial savings.

Brian Bascom, 30, mentioned fellow millennials — already coping with a sluggish economic system — weren’t positioned to climate job loss or furloughs. Many are carrying school debt; some had been cautious concerning the inventory market after seeing mother and father’ and grandparents’ financial savings hammered in the course of the Nice Recession.


“This will have formed their beliefs and views concerning the investing market,” mentioned Bascom, a monetary adviser with Morgan Stanley in Cincinnati. He mentioned it is necessary for his technology to trim pointless bills — chopping Starbucks runs, frequent restaurant dinners or that further streaming service.

Including to uncertainty have been the widespread protests sparked by deaths of Black males by the hands of police. Ajilore sees “the identical line of unequal therapy” operating via the nation’s COVID-19 response. “These protests may very well profit and provides an impetus to create a extra inclusive restoration,” Ajilore mentioned.

“We’re a resilient nation, and proper now we’re fairly divided,” mentioned Buck Newsome, boomer. “But when historical past is any indication, we’ll in some way pull this collectively.”


He added, laughing: “I hope I’ll be round to see it.”

Comply with Cincinnati-based AP correspondent Dan Sewell at