As far as savings go, lets be real for a minute. The later silents and the very early boomer cohort had a chance at reasonable levels of savings and having a family. This group would have been born from 1925 ish to about 1948. The surviving silents had generous GI Bill training and they'd been through hell, they could apply themselves well, they'd learned this. The early boomers had the bonus of starting work in a growing economy, thus giving them a chance to get a real start in life, PLUS, there was a real shortage of both labor and low end management - they moved up quickly if they had any ability. In terms of working and making a living, with a chance at savings and advancement, these guys had it much easier than any large group entering the work force from 1972 onwards. For anyone starting in the work force post 1972, things were simply different. First there was wild inflation, then recession, then the constant pronouncements of the rise of Japan and Germany and the entry of foreign vehicles into the US market, the oil embargo and the Iran hostage crisis, and on it went. Starting a family in that era meant starting with debt and staying in debt. Doubtless it's true that people "could refuse to have families", in which case you just set policy against the most powerful of human biological imperatives. Moreover, just what would happen to any country if people didn't have children - pardon me, the GenX cohort did that, and we are looking at the result right now. I suppose you could generalize and say there is a brief spring period in each sacelum where people enter the workforce and have the ability to live with saving and a chance to keep those savings, but it simply doesn't last that long. It always annoyed the hell out of me when someone who'd started life in a time when the wage/expenditure ratio was much lower lectured me on saving. And they'd always focus on "what you make" and never on "what you have to pay out". These guys were always thinking in terms of 20 cents for a loaf of bread as expensive, while the cheapest white bread you could buy when I entered the workforce was about 69 cents. Sure, I was making three times what they made starting out, which I was told repeatedly, but the cheapest I could buy was 3.5 times as expensive as the expensive items when they were in my shoes. That fact kind of kills the idea of saving young.