Will bad things happen when Boomers cash in?

July 30, 2008, 5:31 PM UTC

Comment of the day comes from Walter D of Toronto, Ontario, who had a thought on yesterday’s post that I didn’t think should go unnoticed, because it gave me the creeps… and a little frisson of excitement, too.

“Stock markets are little more than legal Ponzi schemes,” Mr. D wrote. “When boomers retire in big numbers and try to liquidate their holdings we will see what stocks are worth.”

Hm. That’s kind of interesting, huh? My generation is the largest in history, I believe. We were all sold on the market right after we threw away our last set of bell bottoms and deep-sixed the old hookah. In one way or another, a huge number of us have invested in the market since then, buying into the dream, accepting the assumptions on which the market operates. How much of the money floating around in there is being housed until that magic day when we finally all get to kick back and lose our last collared shirt?

What happens when we all run on that big bank and ask for our money? It’ll probably help the travel business… the housing market, maybe… who knows, maybe it’ll boost the price of certain controlled substances…

… but the stock market? Do we really want to be worrying about what those genuises are up to when we’re out someplace watching the sun set over the back nine?