Were You Born Too Early?

The author looks at some things which he happened to miss by being born too early (or too late).

This short trip down memory lane is written for those who chronologically resemble me; those who were “born too early.” I’m talking about the late 1940s. We were born too early to take advantage of changes in laws that benefited those who are just a wee bit younger than us.

Popular songsters have sometimes lamented about being born too late. Consider the PoniTails in 1958 and the Clarks in 2000; both groups recorded a song entitled Born Too Late. What is interesting is that the only thing at all similar about the songs was the lament about being born too late; the lyrics were totally different.

So, for what things do folks my age lament about being born too late?


The twenty-sixth amendment to the Constitution, which guaranteed the right to vote for those 18 and older was ratified in July 1971. By the way, it holds the distinction of being the Constitutional amendment which took the shortest time to ratify. If the voting age had been 18, I could have voted in the 1964 presidential election; as it was, the first presidential ballot I cast was in 1968.


States began to allow those 18 and older to drink, though in some cases it was just beer. Interestingly enough, some states later rolled the drinking age back up to 21.

The elimination of the military draft

Though the first draft lottery was held on December 1, 1969, the all-volunteer military didn’t come into being until July 1. 1973. Just as the Vietnam war was winding down, the draft ended.

Changing the age of required minimum distributions to 72

The first three items affected us when we were young; this one affects us now that we are old.

The change to the age at which one is required to take distributions from their tax advantaged accounts was effective on January 1, 2020, but those who had been required to take minimum distributions at the age of 70 ½ still had to take them even though they had not yet reached 72. This became a moot point when the CARES Act did away with the requirement to take a minimum distribution for 2020.

I wonder what else we will have been born too early for?

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About the Author

John Grobe is President of Federal Career Experts, a firm that provides pre-retirement training and seminars to a wide variety of federal agencies. FCE’s instructors are all retired federal retirement specialists who educate class participants on the ins and outs of federal retirement and benefits; there is never an attempt to influence participants to invest a certain way, or to purchase any financial products. John and FCE specialize in retirement for special category employees, such as law enforcement officers.