The baby boomers were supposed to be the lucky generation. No depression, no world war - sex, drugs and rock'n'roll in the 60s and 70s and then...
Well actually the 80s, 90s and the 2000s haven't been quite so flash for many in an age group which now finds itself at the edge of retirement, facing the biggest destruction of stored wealth since the Great Depression their parents once talked about.
No doubt the last 50 years have seen great wealth creation. In technological terms the advances have been historically unprecedented. There is much available to make life easier, more comfortable and more exciting.
But economic growth has been punctuated by some devastating downturns; 1987 and 1991 were bad. Now after a golden run of seven years comes a final kick in the guts. Probably the hardest hit of all.
The events of the last few months have shown how little progress has been made towards the kind of financial security people spend their lives working for.
The painful reality for many 60-somethings is that there are lessons being learned in this downturn that may come too late to be applied practically in the next boom.
Regardless of how skilfully, carefully or luckily people may have managed their wealth, there will be few if any who can claim to be untouched by the financial crisis.
Just take a look at the share value drop of 20 per cent that Fonterra announced yesterday. For those farmers on the edge of retirement that will represent a significant destruction of retirement wealth.
The issue of what to do with remaining savings looms large.
Fixed interest is falling, equities look cheap but the markets remain fragile and a serious recovery looks a long way off.
As one US fund manager put it this week: "Down slightly is the new up."
Peter Crane, president of money market mutual fund information company Crane Data, was talking about new zero rate of return funds being offered to American investors.
The products reflect the level of fear and conservatism among investors desperate to protect savings they are relying on for their retirement.
It's a depressing scenario which reflects the psychological battering the American baby-boom generation has taken this year.
For many boomers the crunch will mean working longer. Fine if health is not an issue or if working hours can be gradually decreased. But ultimately pretty disappointing for everyday New Zealanders looking to use their golden years to explore the world or indulge new pastimes.
While the crisis affects everyone, it is easier for those in Generation X and Generation Y to look through.
Children of the 80s and 90s have grown up with less expectations of job security. And they have time on their side. For some the big drops in value of housing, shares and everything else will open up new opportunities.
But for generations coming through, the destruction of baby-boomer wealth is also problematic - not just for selfish reasons to do with inheritance.
If the country is going to keep generating enough jobs for each new generation it is going to need retired boomers with cash to burn. We need pensioners who can afford to party. Let's hope there are plenty who still have enough of a nest egg to indulge in some 60s excess - in their own 60s.