First Person: What the Economy Stole From Me

Yahoo Contributor Network

It's tough for baby boomer entrepreneurs who can't sell their companies because of the retirement. I'm not a baby boomer or an entrepreneur and yet I feel as though the economy has stolen a lot from me as well as a Generation-X parent and professional.

According to a recent article by the Wall Street Journal, the weak economy has hurt small-business owners stuck in what the author calls "business purgatory." They can't afford to retire because sales are down and they can't get a fair price if they sold.

Some baby boomers entrepreneurs say they invested all of their money into their businesses. Now, there only alternative is to keep working longer. Yes, they qualify for Social Security, but they "can't live on that."

My financial security blanket

When it comes to the Social Security, I am skeptical that it will be around when I retire in another 25 years. I can't count on it. That means I have to save even more money for retirement. I've heard older baby boomers complain that no one told them that they should have personal savings for retirement to supplement their Social Security checks. People in my Generation X don't have any illusions of a financial security blanket called Social Security. Sure, I'd like to get back the money I put in, but few things are fair in this life.

My free time

The down economy has also stolen my free time from me. I no longer have the luxury to work a standard 40-hour week although I'm grateful to have a job. In order to pay for the rising costs of food and gasoline and to save more for retirement, my husband and I work longer hours. We save some time and money by telecommuting, which is one of the advantages now that Gen-X runs the office.

Investments for college

When my children were in preschool, I started saving money for their college education. However, I invested money during the technology bubble of the late 1990s. Over the years, I didn't see a return on their money even with the dollar-cost averaging approach. I hoped things would turn around, but then we went through the bear market of 2007-2009. My older son has worked a part-time job to save money for college. My younger son earned a free associate's degree while in high school, but I worry about the cost of continuing to obtain a bachelor's degree.

The equity in my home

Like most Generation-X homeowners who bought during the housing bubble, I wouldn't come out ahead if I sold my house. I am not upside down on my mortgage anymore but only because I spent years paying down my mortgage. Still, I bought my house for $183,000 and now it's only worth $117,000. I've lost $66,000 on paper with what is supposed to be an investment.

Most baby boomers I know blame politicians for the current state of the economy. Meanwhile, the younger generations, I've observed, blame all of it on the 'me-first' baby boomers. Gen Y seem especially annoyed with baby boomers holding onto their jobs past retirement age. I guess it is all how you look at it, but no one came out unscathed by the recession.

*Note: This was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Do you have a personal finance story that you'd like to share? Sign up with the Yahoo! Contributor Network to start publishing your own finance articles.

More from this contributor:

Staying Put Saves us $70,000 in Mortgage Interest

What's Eating Gen-X Middle Class

What I Don't Tell my Rich Friends
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