Millennials and boomers have difficulty seeing eye to eye, especially when it comes to finances. People left over 1.5K comments on an online forum laying out what 20 and 30-year-olds need help to understand about the financial situations of their elders.
Note: Some quotes in this piece have been lightly edited for grammar.
1: Wedding Bells
Tying the knot has its perks, including a double income, and many think the marriage advantage goes unnoticed. “That’s a huge issue that many seem to forget,” a pro-marriage commenter said. “And more relevant now than ever given the rise in single-person households.”
2: Getting Mislabeled
“Not all boomers are well off or money hoarders,” says a grandchild who wants to dispel the myth that many boomers are rich. They commented that their grandpa was a uranium miner and their grandma was a nurse. “Their retirement savings are all but dried up. They downsized their home twice in the last ten years and are now getting support from their children to make the bills.”
3: Smarten Up
A finance-savvy commenter thinks younger generations generally lack an understanding of basic economics or finances. “Most can barely figure out their own financial situation, let alone comprehend other people’s issues,” they said. “We need to introduce financial literacy in the early grades, long before high school, and way before college.”
4: Exceptions to the Rule
One commenter says financial discussions are usually around successful boomers whose finances survived. Rarely do you hear about boomers who’ve struggled. “Successful boomers had to make it through 18% interest and a housing crisis in the 80s.”
5: Everything’s Golden
Boomers grew up with many key factors in their financial favor, including post-war government investment and demographic shifts. “Honestly, it really was a golden age to be born in,” reflects one person. “The next 20 years are going to be tough for everyone.”
6: Can’t Have It All
Another commenter says that older generations made sacrifices that current generations aren’t willing to make. “People now want a house, a car each, vacations, dinner out, and to go to concerts. They were not even a real option most of the time previously.”
7: Hard Times
The biggest misconception young people have about boomers is that they grew up in a good economy, argues a disheartened soul. “The stagflation years were tough, high unemployment (over 10%), economic malaise, and despite the stereotype of boomers getting easy high-paying factory jobs, those were all leaving in the 70s,” they said. “Not to mention interest rates were in the double digits.”
8: Going Through It
A young millennial said they recently realized boomers went through “like 5-7 really bad economic crises through their lives. Especially in their prime years.”
9: Not So Well Off
Think again if you believe boomers have it made. “It’s just so untrue,” one commenter said. “I know lots of boomers who are broke as a joke. And have/had no retirement funds.”
10: Expect the Unexpected
One commenter with boomer parents said every generation has its fair share of hardships. “Most have started from very humble beginnings, and over a lifetime, some have created a solid financial footing,” they said. “But not all, ’cause life can throw you many curve balls.”
11: Drawing Comparisons
One person says they’re a bit older than a millennial and feel that younger people don’t understand how similar boomers had it in their 20s. “The biggest difference would be that there’s more opportunities now and more social safety nets.”
12: Ultimate Participation Trophy
“No one can take money with them when they die, not even the wealthiest of the boomers,” one commenter said. According to them, “the Mils and Gen Z will be the beneficiaries of those estates and will receive the largest transfer of generational wealth in history.”
13: Don’t Blame Me
“Boomers didn’t intentionally screw over future generations,” a Gen Xer commented. “I doubt anyone in the same situation would have acted differently. I don’t know the answer, but the policy has brought us to where we are.”
14: Easy Street
A 50-year-old is shocked by the little luxuries younger generations seem to be taking advantage of. “I would regularly walk up to an hour to avoid [the] taxi fare and just bring lunch from home,” they said. “I suspect most millennials don’t realize how unusual stuff like that was to most earlier generations.”
Times Have Changed
A frustrated younger commenter says older generations have it way easier. Their grandparents bought a house for $74K in 1977 as a school janitor and a housekeeper. Now, owning a home would be a pipe dream for folks with the same careers. “Compared to older generations, you get way less for your money and make higher salaries much later in life due to needing many credentials.”
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