Baby Boomers - The selfish generation?

(202 Posts)
YellowTulips Wed 01-May-13 17:52:42

Ok - so this came out of another thread...but it got me thinking and gathered a few responses.

I have posted below as I did on the thread. What I am interested to know is if this is a really wide spread issue?

Disclaimer: Whilst I know (far) to many people this applies to, I have to confess my parents and PIL's so no signs of bonkers retirement plans (just good planning to give them a good standard of life).

Ok - so post below:

Whilst this case is at the extreme end of the spectrum, there seems to be (from the posts here and chats with friends/colleagues) a real reluctance on the "baby boomer" generation to make sustainable retirement plans.

Here in the UK many friends have parents who for years have lived off rising property values and the expectation that they can sell up or remortgage to fund what are clearly highly expensive lifestyles that can't be maintained over 20/30 years of non generation of income.

There seems to be a groundswell of entitlement often laughingly termed "spending the kids inheritance" - which in principle I don't object to - you can't take it with you and I personally would rather my parents enjoyed retirement than "save" or god forbid "scrimp" for me, but I am seeing this taken to "spend the inheritance and then let the kids bail us out".

I have lost count of friends who are now in some form or another subsiding their retired parents - parents who have "blown" life savings and house equity on mad "let's buy a house in Spain to live in half the year" or let's "travel around the US in a huge RV for 2 years" or "buy a boat and sail around the med" because they refused to really think if they could afford it.

Before I get beaten up, I don't object to people wanting to help family in desperate straights, I just seem to hear more and more stories where these situations were totally avoidable and parents have been - put bluntly - bloody selfish at worst and in denial at best.

The families involved are now making sacrifices that impact their children at the very time they should be the priority.

Do I just have an unlucky social group or is this issue becoming more prevalent?

Rant over.....hand me a biscuit!

edwardsmum11 Wed 01-May-13 17:55:58

Not necessarily. More like the luckier generation in some respects.

HollyBerryBush Wed 01-May-13 17:59:14

It kind of depends when you were born, when your parents died, what you inherited, where you worked.

FWIW my Dad retired in 1985 - his pension after commuting 25% was 36K per annum back then. I dread to think what that would be with index linked rises these days.

My banking pension has however been devalued time and time again, in ten years the ability to extend has moved from 50 to 10 - which pisses me off no end as I don't have longevity on my side.

If you look at my best mate, she married in 1986, and I married in 1993 - that 8 year gap has meant a tremendous difference in lifestyle, mortgage repayments, the ability to retire early and so forth.

The Baby Boomer generation were the ones who were fed the line that they could have it all, prosperity was never ending, mad house price inflation, golden pensions, inflated endowment policies, hoiking up credit cards on the never never. That was fed by successive governments.

With regard to endowment policies - we bought a small one, the projection was 800K, in reality it will pay out something like 23k.

CruCru Wed 01-May-13 18:00:30

I think also it may be that they were the first generation to have choices but couldn't see where those choices will lead. For example, I have friends with divorced parents so some people have four sets of grandparents, all of whom want their grandchildren to visit at Christmas. Often doesn't happen.

Not to say that getting divorced is wrong, of course, just that it will have consequences for your family.

edwardsmum11 Wed 01-May-13 18:00:46

Tbh I worry more for my sons generation... it's gonna get worse.

HollyBerryBush Wed 01-May-13 18:01:02

oops - typo in ten years the ability to extend has moved from 50 to 10

should read 50 to 60

DustyBluebells Wed 01-May-13 18:01:13

I find that people of my parents generation - (in their sixties now) have spent a considerable amount of time in a shit sandwich - elderly and entitled parents of the war generation who wouldn't go into homes and expected their children to look after them and also working full time to pay for DCs to go through University (fewer grants etc.). My DMum and DMil were run ragged looking after elderly parents and inlaws with little thank you.

The most selfish, self centred and immovable folk i know are around my age (40ish).

YellowTulips Wed 01-May-13 18:01:19

I agree they have been lucky and I don't begrudge that. It's the squandering of that "luck" and passing the burden to the "less lucky" next generation I find, well a bit shameful, when it happens.

DustyBluebells Wed 01-May-13 18:03:29

As for the property boom - it was over some time really. Those who bought in the 70s haven't made as much per se as those who bought in the late 90s and quickly sold on.

GreenEggsAndNichts Wed 01-May-13 18:11:21

In my family, my grandparents planned meticulously for their retirement. The one grandfather who was afraid he'd die in his late 40's (family history, heart disease) took out as many health insurance policies as his employer (US Navy, he was an officer) allowed, which were all very generous, as well as the highest pension allowance possible for his wife. She worked as well, full-time, and they retired very comfortably.

Their children all lived the boomer lifestyle of running up a lot of debt (one had to declare bankruptcy) and in general have not planned for retirement at all. I'm an only child, trying to raise a family of my own, but terrified of what will be expected of me in the not so distant future.

GettingObsessive Wed 01-May-13 18:17:14

My MIL is not a snowbirder or relying on us for support (at least not yet) but she appears to be totally incapable of recognising that, in many respects, she and FIL just got lucky by being in the right place at the right time. They made money on property (not through trying) and on their investments. She considers herself financially astute - she avidly reads the financial papers regarding investments and shops around to the point of tightfistedness - but won't take basic steps to research the cheapest phone, gas etc.

She said to me the other weekend that she thinks that anyone who is struggling must be living beyond their means i.e. deliberately, not because their wages simply don't cover the essential outgoings. She simply has no comprehension that stuff costs more these days and can't get her head around the fact that most people are working extremely hard just to have a fairly moderate standard of living.

I do think she (and others of her generation) live in a dream world. She's always telling DH that he's working too hard, but just doesn't get the fact that if he doesn't someone else will soon be along to take his job and the promotion that she'd love to be able to show off to her friends about

quesadilla Wed 01-May-13 18:19:02

I think "selfish" may be a bit of an exaggeration because I don't think it's been done in a calculated way, but I do think they were very lucky and took that for granted in a way which has not been helpful for succeeding generations.

When I look at my parents' attitudes to money and success I think they had such am easy time that they took it as read that it would be just as easy for us. In their day if you had a degree you were pretty much guaranteed a well paid, interesting and secure job. My parents have had a really hard time adjusting to the fact that although I have about 8 years of education than my mum did, I never got anywhere near the levels if success she achieved and I think they still secretly suspect I "slum it", by - for example - living in what they think is a dull suburb when they could afford to live in central London.

Also their approach to retirement planning was basically not to bother; my dad said to mr once his attitude was that if he ran out money he could always earn more.

It took me a long time to unlearn attitudes like this. I don't care about the inheritance thing but I do feel quite angry that they didn't instil more money sense in us.

thereonthestair Wed 01-May-13 18:20:51

My father is a bit old for a baby boomer. My mother not so. They are anything but entitled, but they do have a lifestyle I can't dream of because they were very very lucky. They both have final salary pensions (although my grandma also had a final salary pension which paid out more than my mothers which is still paying more than the national average salary). They own a house outright and have significant investments. Those are my pension as their pensions will cover any possible nursing home fees. They also had fully paid for degrees, full cb for me and my sister, and in the end bought my sister a house, and gave me the deposit for mine. To that extent they are very lucky, and know it. They had one hell of a time in the 70s and 80s and I remember countless rows about money.

However I think it is luck rather than planning. My mil was a similar generation. My fils business went bust in the 80s and both fil and mil had to do the proverbial get on your bike and get a job, any job. Paying very low wages. By the time mil retired we were paying her mortgage, and giving her £ 150 per month to live. That wasn't because she had done something wrong or selfish, she was unlucky, partly financially (redundancy etc) but also fil died suddenly and unexpectedly, and then she became disabled before there really was a safety net.

So yes we subsidised mil. But we needed to as otherwise she would have been cold, hungry and we would never have seen her. Really we re all one step away from disaster, and my parents always knew that by subsidising us on housing we could help mil.

What I think I am saying is it will depend on luck how things turn out, as society does little for the weakest, and people like my parents who are very lucky get benefits I could only dream of. And got cb, and final salary pensions paid for by the state, and get various other benefits such as winter fuel allowance which they do not need.

FruitSaladIsNotPudding Wed 01-May-13 18:22:15

My MIL thinks she is very knowledgable about property - always advising us to add an extension or convert the garage etc etc because it will more than pay for itself. She doesn't get that she made a massive profit on her house not because of her tasteful decor but because she was lucky to buy when she did. And that the money her generation have made on property was not just free money, it's being paid for by our generation now. Totally refuses to acknowledge that it is harder to buy a house now, and pretty much impossible to make a profit out of doing it.

HollyBerryBush Wed 01-May-13 18:23:14

I think the baby Boomers were selfish in a lot of ways, mainly they had excessive wealth, and yes lived the high life (as we all would) they had the ability to retire at a fairly young age 50-55 was not uncommon, so still into their 80's they are still enjoying rather marvellous pensions most of us might like to actually earn as a real time salary.

The downside of course was the loss of community - bunging their own parents in homes instead of being decent moral citizens and looking after them. Not assisting in bringing up grandchildren and so forth. But I suppose if you had lived through the post war years, the hell that was the 70's, you'd be going woo*hoo too!

In reality the baby boomer thing is a very small snapshot of our time - maybe 15 years of absolute financial fortune, be that buying your council house, getting loads of ex nationalised industry shares, or converted building society shares, inflated and unsustainable pensions.

DustyBluebells Wed 01-May-13 18:31:25

I suppose this proves there are selfish and unselfish in every generation - my experience of folk in their 60s / early 70s is that they are anything but (see earlier post) - although i don't see them not assisting in bringing up grandchildren as being selfish to be honest. so it depends on your point of view.

YellowTulips Wed 01-May-13 18:32:38

Holly I think that's a good point - it was perhaps a "snapshot" in time.

From what I see though is that's not widely realised and BB's (a minority or a majority - not sure which, hence the thread) have not grasped this.

Grinkly Wed 01-May-13 18:33:02

I've discussed this stuff before, but everyone generalizes too much. And the comment about how easy it was for BBs with degrees is true but, and I can't be bothered to look up the figures again, hardly anyone got degrees. The chosen few eg sons and daughters of lawyers/doctors and the working class who got to grammar school. Probably a tenth of the number who now attend uni. But there was a lot of attending night school (after your day of poorly paid work) to improve your prospects. And when I started work it was pretty low pay, I had no drunken sprees in Majorca with pals, let alone snowboarding in the winter which seem to be common now among young singles.

DH and I are contributing to DCs mortgage deposits. So they will live in much nicer homes than we could afford at the same age. And I don't, after seeing how hard it's been for my generation caring for the previous one, intend my DCs to care for me in my old age, I'll ensure I have enough to look after myself thanks.

YellowTulips Wed 01-May-13 18:36:16

Dusty I suppose my point wasn't about doing "more" eg childcare, it was about expecting the next generation to "provide" when in reality the BB's were lucky enough to have the best set of financial circumstances to enhance their lifestyle.

DustyBluebells Wed 01-May-13 18:36:39

YY all four of our parents say FGS don't do what we had to do with our i guess that makes us the lucky ones.

I find the assumption that our parents will and should look after our DCs a tad self absorbed tbh.

DustyBluebells Wed 01-May-13 18:38:32

Hmm interesting Yellow - it was a generation up in my family that expected my parents generation to provide for them (which they did but with little thanks as i said earlier).

HollyBerryBush Wed 01-May-13 18:38:32

Where as I like the concept of family and community and continuity

It's the pig in the snake.

Grinkly Wed 01-May-13 18:41:03

I think the baby Boomers were selfish in a lot of ways, mainly they had excessive wealth, and yes lived the high life (as we all would) they had the ability to retire at a fairly young age 50-55 was not uncommon, so still into their 80's they are still enjoying rather marvellous pensions most of us might like to actually earn as a real time salary

Holly, BBs were born AFTER the war surely confused.

My DM is in her late 80s and was a nurse during the War, when the German bombers flew over they had to get the patients out of their beds and put them underneath them in case the hospital was bombed (this was in London). Also she earned 3 pounds a month, I think it was, and had to live in very regimented nursing dorms.

Surprised you consider that life so easy!!

1946 to 1964. I'm one, and so is DH.

ChewingOnLifesGristle Wed 01-May-13 18:43:28

What age group are baby boomers? I'm never sure, it always seems quite a wide agegroup from what I've half readconfused

TheCrackFox Wed 01-May-13 18:44:33

I think some baby boomers are selfish and/or immature.

Some suffered greatly during the 1980's with unemployment whilst others never had a day out of work, cheap housing and amazing pensions (meaning my generation and younger not retiring till nearly 70 to pay for it). The ones who have been lucky have never really had to grow up.

FIL retired at 58 because he was bored of work and had a great pension. He was 100% fit in a non manual job. Frankly I see that as a choice only the Baby Boomers will only be lucky enough to make. He and MIL then emigrated to France. 10 yrs later they would love to come home but cannot sell - they are trapped. They are both late 60's now and DH and I use up a lot of mental energy worrying about them because they are miserable. MIL had hinted at living with us - not going to happen.

HollyBerryBush Wed 01-May-13 18:46:21

Also she earned 3 pounds a month

And? I think I started work on £12 a week, all things relative.

Varya Wed 01-May-13 18:46:59

IMO BBs are no more selfish than the generations born since the BBs.
Not everyone inherited thousands, not everyone had it easy. FS pension schemes collapsed and its unfair to label BBs as selfish.

Grinkly Wed 01-May-13 18:47:00

Baby boomers are aged 60-70 and are seeing their income from their savings slashed as interest rates are so low. Unless they are on indexed linked pensions like public servants but even then, with rampant inflation as it is now, that will by less over time.

They are also being affected by falling house values like everyone else (think of those who retired to Spain eek!). True some have benefitted from high property prices, but some are passing on the profits to their DCs in the from of mortgage help or university fees.

YellowTulips Wed 01-May-13 18:47:34

Sorry - not sure my last post was clear. When I said "expecting the next generation to provide" I didn't mean that " the 40 something" generation should expect inheritance. Rather that they should not expect to have to finance parents who have blown a great financial position resulting from being born at the right time because of an ongoing "let the good times roll" mentality.

YellowTulips Wed 01-May-13 18:52:25

Grinkly - you have me worried. Are you my mother? wink

You make all the points she would!

Given I only talked to her about MN last week I guess it's unlikely (and she was trying to get me off the phone to watch the Sewing Bee TV Show)!

Hullygully Wed 01-May-13 18:59:22


Selfish human beings who don't plan ahead are the same whatever the label, some have more than others to do it with, but it was ever thus.

Hullygully Wed 01-May-13 19:01:00

Also, I do know a lot of so-called "baby boomers" who grew up in an era when jobs were plentiful, mortgages available etc, who HAD NO REASON to think that things would not continue to get better and better.

Has ANY human ever EVER learned the lessons of the past...? We are all products of our context.

alpinemeadow Wed 01-May-13 19:02:03

On exit's definition (born 1946-64), the youngest babyboomers are 49.

Yellowtulips your question - is this a widespread issue? Have to admit I don't know anyone whose parents have spent their savings on sailing round the world or similar, but I may have a limited circle! I suspect it isn't - far more are trying to help out their dcs and dgcs. The retired people I know worry greatly about how much harder it is for younger people to find work, buy a house, impact of tuition fees etc. In my experience, they are not selfish at all,

Actually come to think of it the 'buy a house to live in Spain' option wouldn't have looked like squandering savings at the time, but could have looked like a reasonable investment. If it had been 'buy a house to live in Cornwall' instead, it probably would have turned out to be!

janey68 Wed 01-May-13 19:07:35

Sweeping generalisation.
Also, I think it's swings and roundabouts - different generations have it good in some ways, bad in others. As a woman in my mid 40s, no down some of the younger generation think I had it relatively easy with lower house prices and 100% mortgages. But I could equally well look at them and be envious of their incredibly low interest rates on their loans. Oh and what about the 12 months maternity leave which us older ladies never benefited from?

I think the key to contentedness lies in recognising that while a lucky few in any generation might have things easy, for the majority of people life is a mix of ups and downs, opportunities and lack of opportunities. It's far too simplistic to write off an entire generation as selfish, and it smacks of envy too. It's also misplaced envy because as I say, there must have been as many disadvantages to other people's lives as there were upsides. My mum was part of the BB generation. Yes, she had the relative luxury of being able to live (very modestly) on my fathers sole income, but I don't think the lack of opportunity and expectation for many women can have been a fulfilling way to live

Grinkly Wed 01-May-13 19:08:30


Also, I do know a lot of so-called "baby boomers" who grew up in an era when jobs were plentiful, mortgages available etc, who HAD NO REASON to think that things would not continue to get better and better.

Jobs were plentiful, yes, but haven't you seen all the stuff on the news about the mines closing and all the strikes. It was a bed of roses for some.
And most people could barely afford a mortgage as the interest rates were so high (up to 18 % in the 80s).

mortgage rates

alpinemeadow Wed 01-May-13 19:09:36

Cross posted with lots of people -

True Hully, and in fact past experience is that over the long term the UK has indeed got richer and richer, so it wasn't unreasonable for people to act as if that would carry on, with technological development, productivity increases etc.
(And it may well turn out to go on getting richer in the medium to long term - but that's another thread!)

janey68 Wed 01-May-13 19:09:47

No doubt that should read

Hullygully Wed 01-May-13 19:13:51

Grinky, the miiners and those that couldn't afford mortgages at all aren't the demographic with the spare wong...

GettingObsessive Wed 01-May-13 19:15:10

I don't agree that BBs are necessarily selfish, but they were definitely lucky in a lot of respects which many of them don't seem to recognise. My PIL in particular have absolutely no comprehension of how hard it is now to get (and keep!) a good job - they were both teachers and, so long as they didn't actually kill a child, basically had jobs for life if they wanted them.

Kat101 Wed 01-May-13 19:16:30

My IL's are baby boomers who benefitted greatly. Home ownership is everything to them, as are big white expensive church weddings, foreign holidays, dabbling on the stock market. They have no understanding of modern issues such as the cost of childcare, private renting etc, and concluded that my hard working BIL could not get together a house deposit as he is only of average intelligence angry

janey68 Wed 01-May-13 19:16:34

I don't think any of us can really comprehend what life was like doing a job we never did at a time we never lived though!!

Hullygully Wed 01-May-13 19:18:45

I'm a baby boomer (just) by the way. My friends and acquaintances run the full gamut of skint, doing ok, managing, careful financial planners, hopeless dreamers, hideously rich etc etc Just like every other generation.

SugarMiceInTheRain Wed 01-May-13 19:20:31

My dad seems to be doing very well for himself having retired early on a generous civil service pension. He and my stepmum go on a cruise once a year and a couple of other holidays and seem to enjoy a very good standard of living. But he did plan for it and AFAIK will not need to rely on me (or my half/step sisters for support) as he gets older.

My mum on the other hand, through no real fault of her own, has not been able to save for a pension - she will only get a state one. She has a beautiful big house (in the SE) but I suppose would be classed as asset rich but cash poor. She still drives a P reg car, can't afford holidays and plans to work until she drops as she will never be able to afford retirement on a state pension. It's not due to overspending, just luck in her case. I imagine she'll eventually have to sell up and downsize but it will break her heart as that house means the world to her and she loves being able to accommodate visiting family/ friends.

alpinemeadow Wed 01-May-13 19:22:42

Unlucky in others though gettingobsessive! - as janey's said, some things were better, some worse. One that stands out for me is the fact that secondary education for many ended at age 15 until 1973 (not for those who went to university, obviously!)

Thingymajigs Wed 01-May-13 19:29:57

I was speaking to my Dad last week about the best savings accounts. He had no idea and said he really should start a retirement fund. He retires next year. hmm
He is very much of a spend now worry later mentality. In fact he did say he was spending a lot of money this year becuase he might not be able to once he stops working. This is an intelligent man, a skilled engineer with plenty of life experience yet his head is telling him to go on 3 cruises a year and to buy an expensive car because he'll have no money soon.
I can't say if this is typical of his generation or just my dad but I'm quite different in my outlook. Debt is something I've worked hard to avoid and I'm trying to save for retirement despite a very low income. The amount he spends on holidays and 3D tv's is shocking to me.

thebody Wed 01-May-13 19:35:01

How can a whole generation be selfish?

StephaniePowers Wed 01-May-13 19:43:22

My parents are of a generation/social group where saving was completely necessary, so they still scrimp and get by even though I happen to know they have thousands in the bank, no mortgages, and my father has a great pension.

What I have found hard over the years is their sneering attitude towards us and the property ladder. I was lectured in my twenties about not having a mortgage yet, and was pretty offended actually. There was an inability on their part to see that house prices have risen to ridiculous proportions and all they could say was 'Yes but it is a sacrifice to buy a home, it is difficult for the first couple of years' as if I was expecting to have a house and possibly a few diamonds as well on £16K per year grin

Now that everyone in the media is frantically trying to make their mortgage payments, it's all over the news at all times that house prices are completely out of step, and I would like an apology from my parents for basically labelling me a slacker. hmm

I think the baby boomers are exceptionally fucked up about relationships and see them in the same terms as consumption - they have taken on this free love idea, if I feel it I can have it, they've turned it into an industry with the help of a few feckless media twunts over the years, and I think the effect on our emotional health has been catastrophic. We are addicted to achieving validation through acquisition, and it extends to everything from homes to relationships. I LONG for a stiff upper lip culture tbh.

sydlexic Wed 01-May-13 19:57:03

Born in 62 so guess that includes me.

I think the problem is you are judging what someone has at the end of their working life and thinking it was easy.

To purchase my first home for £21, 500 I had three jobs, I lived with Inlaws. We moved in with second hand furniture, no capets and no heating. Interest rates went up to 15% which made the cost of buying a house more than it is now.

Unemployment soared, many were made redundant. Repossessions reached an all time high. At one point we were homeless with two young children.

Many that have now paid off their mortgage have spare income. The value of property will always rise over a 25 year period. My DM paid £500 for her first house.

thebody Wed 01-May-13 19:58:35

Er Stephanie that's your parents, mine too are in their 70s and not like this at all.

It's ridiculous to judge a whole generation.

Shall we post threads in race stereotypes and see if those are fair.

Don't be daft.

OrangeMabel Wed 01-May-13 20:05:33

YABU and a bit naive.

Only around 5% went to university. The majority left school at 15/16 and went into rather mundane jobs. To get promotion they would often spend years going to night school several nights a week. My FIL could only afford the mortgage on his house by working a second job at the weekends. They didn't have the disposable income most of us enjoy or the foreign holidays. Many didn't earn enough to save for retirement and those who could put as much as they could into their pension plans.

My FIL benefited from the rise in house prices but he worked hard to pay for it. Now he's enjoying doing some traveling during retirement - didn't have the chance of a gap year in his youth. And, like my late father, FIL had the threat of redundancy hanging over him for much of his working life.

My FIL is lucky, millions of pensioners live in poverty in this country. I do wish people would stop carping on about the older generation; the Tories have got us bashing the poor, bashing benefit claimants and now bashing the elderly. (My FIL would have a fit if he heard me referring to him as elderly smile)

onedev Wed 01-May-13 20:08:43

My FIL is exactly as you describe Yellow (born in 1945) so I don't think YABU.

Wibblypiglikesbananas Wed 01-May-13 20:12:09

Generalisations aside, it upsets me that despite DH and I spending five years at university each, working hard, blah blah blah, the usual, it still took a fair few multiples of our combined salary to buy a two bed flat as our first home in 2007. Back in 1976 when my parents married, they were able to get a mortgage on a decent sized house with a garden for 3x my dad's salary.

My mum never needed to work, though chose to from when I was about ten. Cue three foreign holidays a year, new cars, a very nice lifestyle (and all in the days when in their industries, 9-5 was 9-5, no Internet and Blackberries and being available 24/7 as DH has to be now). And my dad had a reasonable job with a reasonable salary but he wasn't a stockbroker! Just a regular guy with an average job but house prices were so much lower relatively speaking.

Fast forward to today and DM, retired now and married to retired DSD (who incidentally made lots of money buying and selling property - again, timing and luck, definitely not skill!) has two properties abroad, two in the UK, a brand new car, a huge inheritance from my DGF and can't understand why we can't always spare the money to go and visit them at one of their luxury holiday homes. It is infuriating!

We have a toddler and another on the way and have never been poorer - in that having been used to two salaries, we now have one (though this will eventually change when I go back to work, though childcare costs might delay it?). We are not on the poverty line but we have to budget and plan. It can be hard to hear how, like a poster mentioned above, it's always hard when your children are small - well, yes, it is in some ways but DM has NEVER been short of £ and simply assumes that we can't have worked hard enough, must have wasted our money, not planned well etc, rather than considering that the financial climate now is very different from what it was in their day.

ILs thankfully have a better idea, though also own multiple properties(!). They do lovely things to help us out though, eg give us their winter fuel allowance as they absolutely recognise that they don't need it.

Gosh - if I sound bitter, apologies! It is just galling at times to be told how you should have done things differently when life is very different now in many ways. I actively avoid talking about this very topic with my DM nowadays as if I did, I'd say something I'd regret!

Finally - by way of comparison, one DGF spent as long working as he did in retirement on a final salary pension. The other is still with us and retired in 1972 on a final salary pension also, it was £22,000 a year then! Needless to say, he had an excellent job and was extremely well respected in his field but he is very well off now as everything was and still is index linked.

Grinkly Wed 01-May-13 20:24:35

Ah, well, Wibbly, maybe you'll inherit all their money when they pop their clogs and you too will have a great retirement!! smile

1944girl Wed 01-May-13 20:27:36

My birthdate is in my user name. I don't kNow if I am a baby boomer or not as I was born during WW2.
I don't have what looks like an enviable lifestyle compared to others of my age who are described on this thread.
When my two children were small I was better off than I am now.The reason I am not a typical baby boomer is because DH and I are supporting an unemployed son who lives with us, his wife works part time, they have two children and cannot afford a house.I also have a teenage grandaughter (from son's former marriage) living here.
I am no saint but feel I cannot neglect my family.I have friends of my own age who have great lifestyles and I envy them.But that is the luck of the draw in life.
I am happy with my lot, as least I have my health.

TartinaTiara Wed 01-May-13 20:28:57

YABU, but sadly many people seem to share your views. Mostly I love MN, but this thread (and some others over the last few days) have been pretty distasteful in their blatant ageism.

People are selfish, stupid, generous, intelligent, self-aware, whatever, pretty much evenly across all generations. You don't get handed a personality fully formed and unchangeable depending on which year you were born. And if you'd started a thread saying "AIBU to think that Jews are the selfish race/blondes are the thick hair colour/Scots are the mean nationality?" you'd have people ripping you a new arsehole and rightly so. Why is it different if you make massive generalisations about a whole group of people just because of the year they were born?

There's a lot said on this thread about how terrible people's parents/PILs are because they just don't understand how things are nowadays, whilst a lot of posters (possibly the majority) are showing exactly the same lack of awareness of how things are for those very same parents. It wasn't the case that all baby boomers had it easy. Just like it's not the case that all Gen X's Y's and whatever other demographic groups have it easy. People have good luck or bad luck because that's how life works for them not because they've had the magic fairy bestow blessings on them when they were born.

Wibblypiglikesbananas Wed 01-May-13 20:31:28

I doubt it, they're too busy enjoying all those holidays and buying fast cars wink. But that's up to them and I'd absolutely hate for that to be imminent - just wish they'd take a more pragmatic view...

Wibblypiglikesbananas Wed 01-May-13 20:37:19

TartinaTiara - I agree that it's not always helpful to generalise, but in my individual case, the attitudes displayed by my own parents, are those outlined in the OP. I have many friends who have found the same thing. It's not right and it's not nice and it's perhaps not fair - but this is true to my own experience.

TartinaTiara Wed 01-May-13 20:50:42

Wibblypig - I hadn't realised that the plural of anecdote is data. That's me corrected, then. As you were, OP.

onedev Wed 01-May-13 21:06:03

I'm like Wibbly - I don't think the Op is unreasonable based on my own & friends experiences, so yes, that's anecdotal but still my experience so I agree with the Ops personal observations.

YellowTulips Wed 01-May-13 21:06:15

Tartina - I refute the allegation I am being "ageist" or "generalist" simply because I deliberately asked "is this just my social circle or more widespread" .

That was the point of the post - I am not trying to damn an entire generation per se, but in my experience (early 40's) my grandparents attitude to retirement and self sufficiency was very different to my parents (again to clarify, based on the experience of many friends rather than me personally).

janey68 Wed 01-May-13 21:07:55

Just another point: I've seen a number of people on these threads recently citing that many of today's female pensioners had the 'advantage' of never having to work (or at least only ever doing very part time pin money jobs) and at the same time citing these gold plated pensions as some great advantage. You can't have it both ways- make your mind up! A woman who never worked, or never worked much wont have a wonderful pension- she'll be on the basic state pittance.

alpinemeadow Wed 01-May-13 21:17:38

I do think there is an interesting point that to have a stay at home parent now seems to be thought of as almost a luxury whereas in the 60s and 70s it was very normal and 'affordable'. And in the 80s and 90s, come to that!
In that sense life is far more expensive now. On the other hand as someone said earlier in the thread, the frustration that many sahps felt in the 1960s, and their lack of financial independence, was very real - so maybe you have to set that against the advantage of being more easily able to live on one income in the past.

ethelb Wed 01-May-13 21:18:00

I agree, but think that part of the problem is that a lot of selfish decisions were labled 'progress'. And after all, ther are so many of the baby bommbers generation that what was best for them, was at the time, best for society at large.

I think that this country has failed, utterly to invest in utility over the past couple of decades. That includes housing. And why is that? So that a certain generation could profiteer off it, by assuming that future generations will pay every increasingly inflated prices for them, due to increased demand.

What gets me, is if you talked about doing this with oil or arms to the oh, so liberal, summer of luurve baby boomers, they would howl with outrage. But apparently doing this with housing is ok. Property is not theft. Peace out.

Perspectives were very skewed for that generation (and VERY clear for gen y like me), so there is a degree of argument over who is culpable for the 'selfish' attitudes of that group.

TartinaTiara Wed 01-May-13 21:21:13

OP, I stand by my opinion. You started a thread saying that you know loads of baby boomers and that from your experience and your friends, they're selfish. Then extrapolated from that to ask if baby boomers were a selfish generation. That's ageist, and generalist.

A bloke I know (sort of a mate) lives in an area with a lot of people who's skin color is different to his. He's suffered from criminal activity from a few - now obviously it's not down to the color of their skin, but because they are the majority ethnicity, they're going to form the majority of good and bad. Nevertheless, based on his own anecdotal experience he feels himself perfectly justified to make snide comments. Which I pull him up on, every time.

It's never acceptable to take your own limited experience and extrapolate that to a whole population. So yes, you're being ageist. Sorry if that offends you. Prejudice offends me.

ethelb Wed 01-May-13 21:29:10

@TARTINA do you pull people up on ageism with regard to their youth? ie snide comments like "'if you just got rid of your iphone you could afford to buy a house" etc, as have frequently been spouted on MN over the past months/year

AllSWornOut Wed 01-May-13 21:34:27

This is a really interesting thread OP.

Like quite a few posters I have mixed feelings due to quite different experiences of my DPs and DPILs. My DF ran his own company all his life with only middling success, has no pension really due to some poor investments and not very much spare cash in any case. DPs live reasonably ok but I am very worried about the future [I'm an only child).

DFIL on the other hand worked for one multinational all his life, took early retirement (my DF is still working some years after retirement age) and has pension that allows them to lead a very comfortable life. They have supported their children with house deposits and have multiple holidays a year.

We're not jealous of them by any means,I want them to enjoy their retirement, but it does gall me when they complain about how hard retirees have it hmm considering they have it considerably less hard than my parents and are enjoying benefits that we will be unlikely to have even though both DH and I work for the same multinational. Already stuff like company cars, bonuses, pension payments, etc. have been significantly degraded compared to when we started our working lives and we're less than half-way through.

So I'm not sure it's a case of the selfish generation, rather a generation that has been very lucky and in some cases is a little reluctant to acknowledge it to those behind them.

TartinaTiara Wed 01-May-13 21:40:53

Yes, ethelb, if I'd seen comments like that, then of course I'd have pulled them up on it. Why wouldn't I? Though I'm not sure that getting rid of iphone/buying house comment is aimed at a particular age is it? And again, says more about the person who talks shite like that than anyone to whom it's aimed.

I've started commenting on the pension/age threads largely because that's the job I do (pension law, not commenting on threads, though if anyone wants to pay me to do that...). Anyway, it drives me mad when people make sweeping comments about pensions and they've not got the facts straight, so I dive in, and that tends to mean I'm commenting on pension/age/babyboomer type stuff. Am happy to fight against all forms of prejudice though.

ethelb Wed 01-May-13 21:42:43

Its interesting you should say tha Allswornout as presumably you and your DP's pay and benefit package is decreased because the company money pot is paying out your FILs pension.

FarBetterNow Wed 01-May-13 21:45:50

I'm a baby boomer.
I had a mortgage at 19 on the cheapest house in one of the grottiest areas in the NW.
We didn't have a car for 10 years.
I cycled 20 miles each day to work and back to save the train fare.
I had very few clothes.
I bought 3 lengths of material with the £5 that I was given for my 18th birthday and made two skirts and a dress.
I made a coat from a big coat I got from a jumble sale.
I used to buy handknitted jumpers from jumble sales, undo them and then reknit them either into a more stylish jumper or crochet blankets.
We never, ever went out to the pub, the cinema or for a meal.
If we went out for a day, we made a flask and a packed lunch.
I didn't go abroad until I was 35.
Every holiday for 15 years was in a tent.
All this was through necessity.
I'm 60 and have never had a gap year and have only ever had three two week holidays.
After all that, I don't feel hard done to and I don't envy what other people have.

I find some of these replies very insulting.

How on earth, can you generalise about a whole generation?
It a bit like looking at the drunks out on the streets on a Friday and Saturday night and saying all young people spend every weekend pissed out of their minds.

I think there are quite a lot of chips on shoulders.

Thumbwitch Wed 01-May-13 21:52:24

Interesting thread. My parents were pre-baby boomer and I am post, though, so have no personal experience of this. My parents were always on at us to save and save; I was lucky in buying my first house in 1991 when yes, interest rates were high but prices weren't really that high (honestly - first 3bed semi for £72k) - the first price crash happened not long after that, but we were very lucky to sell 3 years later at the same price we bought at. I bought my last house in 1995, similar property, for £5k more and I fully appreciate how lucky I am/was to do so, because since then house prices have gone up and up, and despite the dips and falls, I can't see them getting down to where my purchase price was ever again (house is currently priced at between 2.5 and 3x my purchase price), as the negative equity fallout would be too huge.

Luck and timing has a lot to do with it - I think the problems arise when people don't realise that, and think that you only have to do x y and z to achieve the same as them.

ethelb Wed 01-May-13 21:54:19

@farbetter without meaning to get to three yorkshire men on you, we do most of those things and are currently looking at thecpossibility of buying in a grotty area of the NE with a duel post grad income at 30 and 27 and that is with an inheritance.
You were lucky!

x2boys Wed 01-May-13 21:54:45

my parents were born in 1943 so just before babyboomers they both retired at 55 but out of good luck really they both worked for the gas board[as it was then] they made a few quid when it was privitised as they were given and bought shares and then as it was privitised as so very often happens lots of redundancies came up as they were both 54 and the redundany package they were offered was very attrative they took it [you would would nt you!] they were then able to draw there pension at 55 and have lived a very comfortable life ever since this however was more due to specific circumstances than anything . I,m a mental health nurse had i qualified 18 months earlier i would have had mental health offier status [ this was something given to those who worked in mental health which basically means that after paying in twenty years pension there payments doubled up so after 30 yrs of paying pension you got a 40 yr full pension] because working in mental health is considered stressful i think. Unfortunatley i missed it i should still get a decent final salery pension although my pension is again much better than those who are starting now but i will have to work my full 40 years so i,m looking at retiring around 63 i Could still retire at 50 but my pension would not be great so no point i,m 39 by the way

YellowTulips Wed 01-May-13 21:57:07

TT - that's the point of the thread. I asked "if". Read my original post.

I am actually being the reverse of what you accuse because I am trying to form an opinion based on a MUCH wider experience than my own.

Thanks to all who have posted. Some really interesting perspectives.

I am to clarify to suggesting my generation are without fault! However

Wibblypiglikesbananas Wed 01-May-13 21:59:02

TartinaTiara - there's no need for sarcasm, and not sure why it was directed at me?

TartinaTiara Wed 01-May-13 22:03:41

Wibblypig - that comment was aimed at you because I was responding to a comment you'd made directly to me. I've also responded directly to other posters who've commented directly at me - you're not being singled out here.

And the whole "anecdote as data" thing is how prejudice becomes entrenched. As you say, it's not right, it's not nice and it's not fair. So we shouldn't do it.

Oodsigma Wed 01-May-13 22:05:17

So I'm not sure it's a case of the selfish generation, rather a generation that has been very lucky and in some cases is a little reluctant to acknowledge it to those behind them.

This is my Mums view on her generation.

YellowTulips Wed 01-May-13 22:06:25

Sorry - the "however" should have followed thus...

However, I can't ignore what I see around me. That's why I was asking is this a wider problem?

I know there are BB's who do not behave this way (my parents and PIL for example), but it seems - based on my experience that many do. Again to stress I would be happy that my experience is not the norm (hence the ? on thread title).

FarBetterNow Wed 01-May-13 22:07:03

Ethel; Yes, we were lucky to be able buy a house at 19.

There is currently property for sale in Liverpool for £20k and Newcastle for £30k.
That was the sort we bought.

x2boys Wed 01-May-13 22:08:24

My parents havent blown there money they dont spend half the year abroad granted they live comfortably in a good sized four double bedroom two bathroom semi with a good size garden which i would love to be able to afford but i dont envy them they have worked hard and helped me out tremendously both financially and practically!

YellowTulips Wed 01-May-13 22:10:24

OodS - never thought of it that way. Great insight from your mum.

TartinaTiara Wed 01-May-13 22:11:26

OP, yes, you asked "if". As in "I've seen a lot of selfish baby boomers. Am I just unfortunate, or is this a general trait of this population?" I paraphrase, I know, but that's the general thrust - if I've misunderstood then I genuinely apologise.

But in any other form of discrimination based upon a characteristic shared by a given population, if someone said "This is my experience, is everyone in this category like this?" the response would be "of course not, it's just your experience, you can't judge everyone by your own limited experience". It wouldn't be a question you'd even think about asking, because the answer would be so obvious.

I realise that you may be trying to find out if others have the same experience, but the way in which you asked the question seemed to invite anecdotes to reinforce your experience. Again, if that wasn't your intention, I'm prepared to believe that you aren't prejudiced against everyone who was born between 1946 and 1964(?).

Wibblypiglikesbananas Wed 01-May-13 22:12:56

TartinaTiara - you seem to be missing the point somewhat. I am citing my own experiences, events that I have observed over my lifetime. Yes, these and those of friends I have mentioned may be anecdotal (a word which I hadn't actually mentioned myself, though you appear to think I have?!) - exactly as the OP asked. Nothing more, nothing less.

Whilst this may be your area of expertise, that does not override my, or anyone else's, personal experiences or their right to discuss them here. It appears to me that you came onto this thread to be deliberately controversial.

BegoniaBampot Wed 01-May-13 22:20:22

as others said, the BB from my home town didn't go to university but left school at 15 and 16 to low paid mundane jobs. they grew up in poverty, many is slums which were later condemned. they had nothing of the luxuries, lifestyle and education that many expect now. Many are on the basic state pension - they live for their families as they don't have that much else to look forward to. you really jealous about that?

Oodsigma Wed 01-May-13 22:20:50

yellow I pinched the quote from allswornout earlier in the thread but its what my mum regularly says

TartinaTiara Wed 01-May-13 22:21:33

Wibblypig, I'm not missing the point. I know you're citing your own experience. I haven't said you've used the word "anecdote" though that's the word for what you're describing. Your experiences are your experiences, I can't say you're mistaken, because only you can have experienced them. What I am saying is that you can't then say that everyone is going to have shared those experiences, and that it therefore means that baby boomers, in general, are the most selfish generation.

I'm not trumpeting my expertise on whether or not baby boomers are the most selfish generation. I have none. I was explaining to ethelb why I had been posting on these threads (of which there have been several over the last few days) and not on threads which go on about how people can buy a house if they'd just give up their iphone (which is again, complete nonsense. Younger people aren't not buying houses because they're just too devoted to texting). I'm not being deliberately controversial and I'm not saying you have no right to an opinion. You do. So do I. We're both entitled to express it.

ethelb Wed 01-May-13 22:33:14

@farbetter a lot of that uber cheap property in Liverpool is actually only available to local buyers. Ive looked! Plus I cant find anything in newcastle for less than £60k that doesnt need £50k spending on it to make it habitable, and with low loan to value mortgages available to first time buyers, unless you have that £40-50k in ready cash it isnt really an option for medium income earners like us. Though if you see anything to the contrary please do send my way, I have had a few affordable property porn threads and may start another one up soon. smile

And though I dont want to labour the point, my point is that it used to be the case that 'stuff' was expensive and housing was affordable, hence your efforts with regard to clothing, eating out, holidays made a difference. Whereas utility (inc housing and travel) is now so expensive, that cutting back on what is now 'cheap stuff' doesnt really make a huge difference

ethelb Wed 01-May-13 22:33:19

@farbetter a lot of that uber cheap property in Liverpool is actually only available to local buyers. Ive looked! Plus I cant find anything in newcastle for less than £60k that doesnt need £50k spending on it to make it habitable, and with low loan to value mortgages available to first time buyers, unless you have that £40-50k in ready cash it isnt really an option for medium income earners like us. Though if you see anything to the contrary please do send my way, I have had a few affordable property porn threads and may start another one up soon. smile

And though I dont want to labour the point, my point is that it used to be the case that 'stuff' was expensive and housing was affordable, hence your efforts with regard to clothing, eating out, holidays made a difference. Whereas utility (inc housing and travel) is now so expensive, that cutting back on what is now 'cheap stuff' doesnt really make a huge difference

Jan49 Wed 01-May-13 22:36:01

I'm a (late) babyboomer. I think it would be a massive generalisation to think that people born from 1946 to 1964 were like the OP describes. I also think it's more or less 2 generations not 1. People born in the late 1940s seem a lot older than me, a generation older in fact, and their experiences are very different. Some are retired, others could be in their late 40s with children in primary school and no thought of retiring for years.

I've benefited from a 'free' uni education (though I wouldn't have gone if it hadn't been free and most people didn't go when it was free - their families often expected them to get jobs and contribute to the household so the fact that it was free wasn't enough). I've benefited from rising house prices, having bought my first house with my then h and young ds when I was 30. I think those are the two main differences between me and someone who is now in their 20s and has uni debt and less chance of buying a house.

I also think sometimes people forget what the living standards were like for previous generations compared to now. Would 20-somethings still be keen to buy a house if it meant living without basics like central heating or an indoor toilet or shower or washing machine for years, which many older generations did? I think there are 'entitled' people in every generation and some of those who think they have a right to be able to buy their own home would expect to have the money to update it rather than live without certain things and improve their home over time when they can afford it as previous generations did.

Times change. No one knows what the future holds. It's a bit rich to be blaming the baby boomer generation for today's problems. The definition of poverty has changed since I was a child and expectations are now much higher. It will all have changed again in 10 years time.

TartinaTiara Wed 01-May-13 22:47:07

Jan49, yes, I think that people would still buy a house without central heating - maybe not without an indoor toilet, but there aren't many of those left. I've read threads where posters have been renting, and don't have central heating or have houses which are damp, or the windows don't shut. The sort of thing that used to be bought by people as their first house, a bit of a do-er upper. I think that if that sort of house was affordable, then people would buy them, and do them up, just like in the olden days. Nowadays I think it is more difficult to buy a house, not that the houses themselves are unaffordable (though the average house/earnings ratio is I think still about 5:1), but that the mortgage company wouldn't lend on a house like that.

Maybe that's where some of the resentment comes in - the 20 somethings are prepared to do what the baby boomers did, in terms of starting modestly and building something up, but it's more difficult to get the start.

ethelb Wed 01-May-13 22:54:11

Who just saw the 10'o clock show. Obviously completely representative wink but look who were the massive twat there then?

So far this week we have had threads blaming pensioners for the current crisis, and now the baby boomers. Me thinks the younger generations should get a grip.

ethelb Wed 01-May-13 22:57:39

@exit or maybe those claims need to be examined sensibly?

And then do what?

ethelb Wed 01-May-13 23:07:40

@tartina that's my point. The point upthread about houses in Newcastle for £30k. If I could get a 100% mortgage and spend my savings doing it up (as my parents spent their 20sdoing) then I would. But the way the banks lend won't allow that anymore. The little money I do have (in property terms) would be better spent on a deposit so I could get a higher loan to value mortgage.
Thats not my choice as it means that the overall housing stock doesn't improve. But thats how it is.

ethelb Wed 01-May-13 23:09:55

@exit sort out the financial crisis? Call me crazy...

@@@@@ ???????

TartinaTiara Wed 01-May-13 23:17:26

ethelb, I agree with you. OK, the financial crisis was in part caused by high value mortgages, but I can't see that buying a house cheap on 100% mortgage, then doing it up gradually is in any way a bad thing. Means that a house is brought back into use, a family has a home that's more secure than renting (and going back to some of the threads about nightmare landlords, a house that's not in significantly worse nick than some rented houses), and the economy benefits because people are spending money fixing up the houses.

I think we may have solved the financial crisis between us right there....

ethelb Wed 01-May-13 23:28:59

Yes we have!

Plus what infuriates me is that you cant get a 100% mortgage on a sub £100k house doer uper (which would benefit someone/a family and local construction industry) but you can get a 95% on a £600k overpriced new one which only benefits the property developer, and runs the risk of another housing bubble.

But of course, I should be chancellor. wink

TartinaTiara Wed 01-May-13 23:39:43

Yes, you be chancellor. I'd be useless at the job. I have no political ambition, and besides, I can't do hard sums smile.

Littlehousesomewhere Wed 01-May-13 23:46:13

Yabu. I think op what you describe is the visible minority.

The bb I know vary a lot in terms of wealth. The wealthier do go on nice holidays etc but they have also planned for retirement, they haven't wasted their money and won't rely on their children for money in the future. They also tend to be generous with their children and grandchildren.

Others who are less wealthy have lived very conservative lives and have looked after their money and have worked hard (still are) and have small pensions. Many do own their own homes (their only asset likely to be sold to pay fir care homes). Some of these may well have to ask for their children's support especially as they are likely to live a lot longer than expected. But they haven't wasted money through extravagance.

I know of one couple who have been unlucky in business and although they are still trying to succeed in a new venture they may possibly rely on their children when they are elderly. This couple haven't been careful with money when they did have it. They haven't gone out and blown their retirement nest egg however. I do think they are in the minority.

What I think will be very interesting in the future is what the bbs leave their children in inheritance. This will vary greatly(!!) and I will be interesting to see how their grandchildren (the children of today) view their parents lifestyles, choices and attitudes to this unearned windfall (or booby prize).

LoremIpsum Wed 01-May-13 23:56:42

There is a fair amount of research into this as generational trends are quite a big deal to both governments and industry. This govt paper from Australia is quite interesting and takes some international research into account rather than being purely applicable to just that country

LoremIpsum Wed 01-May-13 23:59:54

I also remember an interesting study from a few years ago that concluded that the housing bubble was the first time in recorded history that wealth was transferred from the younger generation to older generations en masse and warned of financial and social ramifications, but damned if I can find it now!

TartinaTiara Thu 02-May-13 00:17:39

That's interesting LoremIpsum, and seems to bear out the "older pensioners frugal and generous/younger and middle aged hedonistic and selfish" theory. From personal experience, I would have expected the older pensioners to have been frugal, since that's how my own parents acted - they were constantly worrying about not being a burden sad. Though exFIL is from the same generation, and is as selfish as fuck.

I come in right at the tail end of the baby boom, or the very start of Gen X, depending on the dates used, and can't imagine not helping out my DCs if they need it (and DS in particular is likely to need some support even as an adult), but I wouldn't want them waiting till I died - they'd probably be pensioners themselves by that stage.

StanleyLambchop Thu 02-May-13 08:14:33

my Dad is now 82, he was a child during the war, so although he remembers the bombs, etc, he does not really remember the hardship. He benefitted from the house prices, and lives quite well now, but is not at all reckless. Far from travelling around, he would prefer to just sit in his chair and read the paper. My slightly younger mother is the same.

ChewingOnLifesGristle Thu 02-May-13 09:02:36

'I have lost count of friends who are now in some form or another subsiding their retired parents - parents who have "blown" life savings..'

I am quite surprised that you know so many people who have done that. My parents fall in BB agegroup (as do I maybe? 1965..not sure) and they'd never blow their money, ever. They've always worked really hard and saved. Yes they now have a lovely home but my goodness they worked for it. I can't think of any of their friends who have behaved very differently either tbhconfused

ivanapoo Thu 02-May-13 09:30:51

My parents had very tough lives financially until the 1980s - Cardboard in their shoes type stuff.

They did well in the 90s due to house prices in the area they lived in rocketing. They then moved to a cheaper area meaning they could buy a detached house mortgage free. My dad retired in his 50s as though he didn't have long on a decent pension - about the equivalent of a 50k salary after tax, which isn't half bad when there's no mortgage to pay.

They're pretty frugal still though so I really don't recognise the people in your OP. in fact most of my friends' parents are still supporting their children financially rather than the other way round.

In contrast my PIL, who "downgraded" to a 1.5m house and take several v exotic holidays a year complain more about having no money. My FIL is still working to fund their lifestyle at almost 70.

alpinemeadow Thu 02-May-13 09:35:18

Yes chewing, I think 'blowing the savings' may be a bit of a niche activity! The people I know in this age category with grown up children are more concerned with how they can help them out, ime.

There is a very ambivalent attitude to other people's savings I think - we want people to save for retirement, but at the same time others seem to get annoyed with them for having done so, and being wealthy - however that term is defined.

Also the discussions about how winter fuel allowance, tv licence etc, should only go to those pensioners who need it, produce an economic disincentive to save - there was an interesting letter in the paper recently about how even the current uncertainty about whether those universal benefits will remain may mean less incentive to save for retirement.

Sorry, going off at a bit of a tangent here from OP, which is about bbs who have deliberately not saved!

alpinemeadow Thu 02-May-13 09:38:37

Cross posted with you Ivana - not ignoring you!

babyboomersrock Thu 02-May-13 10:04:46

I'm a bit bemused by some of these stories. I'm a baby boomer (1947) and I don't recognise the descriptions of self-centred oldies hoarding their money or blowing it on cruises.

Someone earlier talked about the impossiblity of buying a "doer-upper" as the babyboomer generation could afford to do. The difference was - in the case of many of us - that we bought the property at that level, but couldn't actually afford to do it up. Most of my contemporaries lived in houses and conditions which few would tolerate now.

We did live on one salary - out in the sticks, property was cheap and job opportunities were few, and anyway, most mothers stayed home. No nurseries, and playgroups were just starting up. When you had coal fires, no central heating, terry nappies and so on, life wasn't the bed of roses some of you imagine. We didn't complain because it was normal - life was, physically, hard work back then for many people.

We didn't have a car for many years, and then we would have one old banger, replaced every few years by another. It was used only at weekends (husband and children walked to school) because we couldn't afford petrol. We had no foreign holidays - we usually visited one set of grandparents or the other. We had no television until someone gave us their cast-off black and white one. We never ate out, unless grandparents treated us - maybe 2 or 3 times a year.

We did have a house. We had our parents' old furniture, or we went to auctions and bought things as we could. Our children wore hand knitted clothes and hand-me-downs - again, most people we knew were in the same position. I baked and cooked from scratch. Adults (us) didn't buy new clothes - you wore whatever you had when you got married, no matter how dated it looked. I cut my husband and children's hair and never went to the hairdresser myself - I let it grow or had a friend cut it.

I just don't see that level of "making do" being generally acceptable now. Things are different - the next generation's expectations are different. the present. I know full well how hard it is for young people to buy property - and I don't understand people of my generation who would deny that. Our children, and the children of my friends, need our help to buy; we're still helping students, some of us have the next generation living with us.

In our case, we still don't have much in the way of luxury - we spend a lot providing child care, we don't actually have that much free time, and our children will continue to need our help for the foreseeable future. We still run one ageing car.

I do know people who go on cruises - they no longer have a mortgage, and they do have a nice car. Tends to be one car, though. These "richer" pensioners don't live in vast houses; mostly quite modest ones, bought when their children were young, and the furnishings will have to last now. Anyone who has spare cash is helping out their children and grandchildren - and to be honest, I don't grudge them a cruise now and then. Many of them started work at 15 and spent many years taking their own children camping just to provide a holiday.

There are selfish people in every generation, so let's not fall into the trap of blaming a whole generation for the way things are. If you want to change the situation, use your vote wisely - and don't let politicians divide and rule.

ChewingOnLifesGristle Thu 02-May-13 10:14:54

What a measured and well put post from babyboomersrock.

I dislike blanket generalisations about baby boomers or indeed any social groups. It invariably covers too large and diverse a section of society and is unhelpful in that all is achieved is a reason to be hmm about people en masse when in fact individually they probably don't behave in the way that is assumed they do.

Bogeyface Thu 02-May-13 10:55:51

I can only comment on the BB's I know, which include my parents.

I dont resent them doing well out of property, they took advantage of a situation and who can honestly say they wouldnt have done the same? I know that I would have done. My mother was in the public sector and got a pension that is worth more than a lot of working salaries now, despite working part time in a low status position. I dont resent that either.

What does get on my nerves is them, and their peers, all moaning about their financial situations due to interest rates on savings, rising fuel costs, general rising costs etc when they are living mortgage free in a house worth many many times what they paid for it, with substantial savings and a lifestyle that the rest of us could never realistically achieve no matter how hard we work.

They refuse to see that while interest rates on savings are annoying, they are very fortunate to have been in a position to amass those savings in the first place, especially when (again in my parents and their friends cases) they had one person in a skilled full time manual job and one in a non skilled part time job. A couple with children in those jobs now would struggle to pay rent, never mind mortgage, holidays and savings.

They had it very good, now they are having to tighten their belts like everyone else. Yes it is annoying, but it isnt "not fair" as my mother would have you believe. I have to find the same living costs as she does, plus mortgage yet she still insists that they have it worse than us despite them having a much larger income.

Bogeyface Thu 02-May-13 11:02:18

Re: Helping the children. Not in my life!

My mother particularly, but also my dad are of the mind that "We did it, you just have to work hard". She is a bit like the new rules on Tax Credits "You will just have to get more hours/earn more/get another job" without accepting that if it was that easy, I would already be doing it.

I would never want or ask for help from them, but when I briefly moaned about my kitchen falling apart and not being able to afford a new one mum said "Well just work harder and save up, we did it". you didnt mum. Your PIL gave you a very expensive top of the range 2 year old kitchen when they had to move to adapted accommodation, it didnt cost you a penny!

The selective memory is quite annoying too!

babyboomersrock Thu 02-May-13 11:49:58

Bogeyface - I don't know what job your father did that your mother was "working part time in a low status position" - and yet they're now in a position where "they are living mortgage free in a house worth many many times what they paid for it, with substantial savings and a lifestyle that the rest of us could never realistically achieve no matter how hard we work."

The problem is that we're all discussing the situations we know. Maybe I'm just lucky to be living in a place where families do look out for each other, where friends my age understand the difficulties their families face, and where those younger people appreciate the help we give, even though they - and we - would prefer that they didn't need our help.

One day your own children may need your help - whether through child care, donations of money or whatever. If your own parents have been stingy, that will be your opportunity make things better for the next generation. It's a shame your parents are so self-centred, but I wouldn't waste energy getting bitter now.

I assume that if your parents are sitting on substantial savings and have a mortgage-free property that you'll inherit at some point? That may take the edge off your pain.

I think I may be living in an alternative universe, though. I've never been in a position where the sale of a house has made huge profits (rural Scotland) so I probably don't understand. Each time we've sold a house, we've had to pay the equivalent elsewhere.

Finally, I don't understand individual parents being mean with their money, but that's surely more to do with their personalities and not because it's a whole generation's ethos?

Bogeyface Thu 02-May-13 11:55:00

My dad worked in a factory and then became a factory security guard, so not highly paid positions. My mum worked 2 days a week in a job similar to say working in a shop on the till, so basic pay and no responsibility.

We live in the Midlands which makes a difference, but they have done very well. Dad did over time, they bought their house for £7000 and it is now worth £200,000, mum saved her wages and we had a couple of weeks UK holiday every year.

It can be done, as they insist on telling me. As I keep telling them, holidays in the UK are not the cheap option anymore, there are no jobs never mind no overtime and I will not get inflation linked pay rises every year as my mum did and a nice fat final salary pension.

Bogeyface Thu 02-May-13 11:58:06

Dont get me wrong, I am not bitter about the lack of help. I would rather do it alone and struggle. What I am fed up with is the moaning that somehow they have it so bad when I know for a fact that they dont. I helped them sort out some finances a couple of years ago and believe me, they are not short! But to hear them talk you would think that they are on the breadline some days, despite the holidays, house improvements etc. To me, being on the breadline is struggling to afford food, not moaning about the cost of Italian holidays and then going anyway!

janey68 Thu 02-May-13 12:37:43

I agree with everything youve written baby boomersrock.
There are so many aspects to this whole issue and its impossible to make black and white blanket comparisons between generations.
I also think there are still some inconsistencies in what people are saying : eg we've seen posts enviously talking about the fact that many of the female BBs never worked, or only ever worked very part time, yet at the same time they apparently have wonderful gold plated pensions. Er- nope, that doesn't add up, you don't get a good pension without a full working life. We're also seeing people who say their parents did very modest jobs but have houses worth a fortune, stacks of savings - oh and good pensions too. Honestly, most pensions, even public sector ones are very modest, averaging about 7k. I don't know how all these people manage to save either. I can see that they may end up with a house worth a lot, but frankly, a house but not a lot of cash is not the best position to be in, and anyway they may end up having to sell for care home fees

NUFC69 Thu 02-May-13 13:02:04

Another BB here. Although we were probably a little bit better off than BabyBoomersRock, our situation was very similar. We had to put down a deposit of 10% when we bought our first house, and the building society would only lend us 2 and a half times my DH's salary, and half of mine (and we had to take out an indemnity to borrow on my wages). Oh, and we had to save with the building society for two years before they would lend us any money. DH also says that if you were buying an older property, ie pre 1916, you had to put down 15% deposit.

I went back to work part-time when the children went to school, low paid job, and now I just have my state pension, although DH has a works pension and has just started receiving his state pension.

All of my friends help out their children, usually both financially and with child care - the only people I know who don't help out with child care are those whose GC live hundreds of miles away - although I do have one friend who decamped eighty miles away on a Sunday night, to help out, coming home four days later - she did that every week for several years.

I think things went badly wrong in this country when money and credit became so cheap and easily accessible. One of DS's friends took on a mortgage 7 times his annual salary - insanity. This fuelled the rise in house prices, and yes, theoretically we will benefit from this, but the reality is that the money will probably go to pay for our care homes.

I do know that when we moved to the north east we became better off - the cost of living is not so high up here and housing is, still, relatively cheap. When we moved here thirty years ago I remember being amazed that people could actually afford to go out in the evening! This was something we had hardly ever done in the south east. Even now, when we are comfortable, stopping at a cafe for a drink is a luxury, because it was something we have rarely done.

I wouldn't, for one minute, belittle the efforts people have to make in order to live; however these days people on low incomes do get help with WTC which were non-existent up to fairly recently. I didn't get CB for my first child until the rules were changed (and I am ashamed to say that I can remember saving what I did get in order to buy a bottle of sherrry!). In the 50s evidently food costs were 33% of average wages, now they are 18%, I think (certainly under 20%). We have all had different lives with different challenges to cope with - my DM died when I was 24, she wouldn't believe the kind of life me and my generation, and my children's generation have. Everyone's expectations are totally different now.

lotsofdogshere Thu 02-May-13 13:17:47

Thanks babyboomersrock ( and others) who have tried to paint a more realistic picture of life for those of us who are now in our 60's. I have found the negative, hostile comments about older people rather shocking and very unpleasant. Every generation has it tough and it isn't unusual for generations to blame those older or younger than them for the end of civilisation as we know it. My own parents were working in the mills by the age of 14. My mother was carer to her 3 younger siblings from the age of 6, so her mum and dad could both work the mill to keep enough food on the table, and a roof over their head. I could go on like the 3 yorkshire men sketch, though we are from the north west (luxury). My parents wanted us to have more than they had had, and my experience is that goes for everyone I'm close to. We certainly recognise how hard it is to buy/rent somewhere to live. That's why everyone I know has handed over a chunk of their hard earned savings to their own kids, to ease the burden on them. The idea of naming a whole generation as selfish is astounding. I dislike it when older people generalise negatively about younger people, and do wish people would stop doing this about any group of people. Others have said make these comments in the context of race or gender and that would be unacceptable. so are negative, hostile generalisations about an entire generation of people.

expatinscotland Thu 02-May-13 13:26:04

BBs, elderly, young adults, etc. you will find freeloading pisstakers in every walk of life.

What they all need is an enabler.

Nothing to do with age at all.

Wibblypiglikesbananas Thu 02-May-13 13:31:52

Bogeyface - are we related?! It seems so hard to convey that it's not the relative wealth itself that's an issue, rather the constantly being told, 'Well, if you'd worked harder...'

Bogeyface Thu 02-May-13 14:21:51

Exactly Wibbly. There seems to be an almost deliberate lack of understanding by certain people of the BB generation that we could do it too, despite the economy etc clearly meaning that we can't. That is my only bug bear with my parents attitudes.

babyboomersrock Thu 02-May-13 14:48:04

Well, Bogeyface and Wibbly, I think you're just unlucky, and I hope you'll be kinder to your own adult children.

As several of us have said, most of the older generation know only too well how hard it is for you - that's why I, and countless others of my generation, are sharing what we have with our own children, and with other people who need help. We know it shouldn't be like that; you should be able to manage without our help, but we accept that things have changed.

I don't think the babyboomers on here are too self-centred or stupid to understand what you're saying - I think you have problems with your own parents' attititudes. It doesn't mean you can condemn a whole generation.

I don't quite see, at this juncture, what else we babyboomers can do. I can hardly apologise for having been conceived when my father got back from the war. It isn't my fault that jobs are scarce now - I still take political action, I still vote for parties I think will help all of us (not just me) and I believe passionately that we need the NHS, a decent benefit system, an education system open to all - instead of the shambles we have now.

We're not all dottery old biddies whiling away our time until the next cruise, lunching out and bad-mouthing the younger generation. Please believe that.

ryanboy Thu 02-May-13 14:52:26

I have lost count of friends who are now in some form or another subsiding their retired parents - parents who have "blown" life savings

this surprises me because I don't know anyone like this, but lots whose baby boomer parents are helping their adult children out financially and with childcare

i think they had it easy compared to these days, in the same way weve had it easy compared to how shit its going to be when our dcs are grown ups

hairtearing Thu 02-May-13 14:57:59

Which baby boon are thee referring to? my DM is from the 1960 baby boom & I am from the 1989 baby boom.

Fillyjonk75 Thu 02-May-13 15:08:02

I think the babyboomers were the first generation where being selfish was encouraged - rise of the individual instead of collectivism in the 1950s onwards.

People in their 50s and up to mid 60s seem more likely than any other age group to be the rude, self-satisfied Tory/UKIP Daily Mail reading bigotted pub bore types. Vernon and Petunia Dursley.

Fillyjonk75 Thu 02-May-13 15:09:45

My parents and in-laws are war babies/just pre-war. Different kettle of fish.

babyboomersrock Thu 02-May-13 15:20:17

And many of us are not rude, self-satisfied Tory/UKIP Daily Mail readers. Many of us despair at the lack of interest in politics, at the complete apathy many people display when it comes to voting or any form of political activism.

If we - the babyboomers - are the problem at the core of our society, what should we (all of us) do about it? How do we change it? How do we reduce the resentment some younger people feel towards us?

Lilymaid Thu 02-May-13 15:28:40

People in their 50s and up to mid 60s seem more likely than any other age group to be the rude, self-satisfied Tory/UKIP Daily Mail reading bigotted pub bore types. Vernon and Petunia Dursley.

Anecdote or data?

Wibblypiglikesbananas Thu 02-May-13 15:32:56

Babyboomersrock - I don't think either Bogeyface or myself have said anything about condemning a whole generation - rather, you're right, that that is the attitude we've unfortunately experienced in our own families.

As I said in one of my earlier posts, my ILs are much more in touch with reality - and that isn't to say we're waiting for handouts from them, rather it's nice that they even acknowledge that it can be hard now (which it sounds like you do too). In fact, are you my MIL?!

I think in many cases babyboomers were both very lucky and very unlucky. It depends on circumstances.

My own parents have very little - AFAIK - to retire on. One quit her job to raise two children and found her career had been eliminated by the time she was able to go back to work full time. The other had pension savings once upon a time, but it was tied to dot-com stocks. He was so dismayed about having a four-figure pot (far less than what he put in), that he decided to cash it out and spend it on his kids' (American) college educations, which were also straining family finances at the time. My folks sold their house for far more than what they'd originally paid for it, but it required redecorating in order to sell, sat on the market for a year, and a lot of the proceeds paid for a cross-country move so my dad could start a new job. They now have a house of their own again, but it is worth less today than what they bought it for, so they are stuck.

I have no idea if I'd ever make it work, but I keep hoping that someday, I'll be able to get a house with an in-law wing to take them in if need be. Especially my mom.

I don't think they were selfish. I think they put themselves under a lot of pressure to give their kids "the best", and that usually involves spending, rather than saving money. And I think they were maybe counting on Social Security to be enough - once upon a time, it was.

janey68 Thu 02-May-13 16:02:29

For specific thing which some people envy the BB generation, there will be another aspect of life which they could no doubt be envy in the younger generation.

Like i said before: I am all to aware that I was able to purchase a house more easily than younger people. However I could equally well say I'm envious of the 12 months maternity leave (as opposed to 12 weeks !) which were available in the past) and also the tax credits and free childcare hours available now.

It really is swings and roundabouts.

Grinkly Thu 02-May-13 17:25:59

I think that the baby boomer / pensioners thing is a problem here.

Mainly women over 60 and men over 65 can draw state pension (or is how it was until recently). But baby boomers ( in my view those born when soldiers came back from the war) who are 58-68 will have such different lives from 80 year old who are also pensioners. But they get lumped together as if they are one thing. In fact many baby boomers are caring for elderly parents, but they are all pensioners.

Joan Bakewell was on the news quiz and when someone suggested reducing pensions her response was 'no way, we've worked hard for it and we deserve it'. The media takes this on and states that the government can't touch pensions. But she is speaking, imv, for the 80+ year olds whose lives were so different from today's youngsters.

Pensions are taxed anyway so I don't see all this talk about protecting them as true anyway.So I think much of the angst over the selfish bbs is due to the misleading talk in the media such as JB's comment (and she isn't a bb as too old).

Xmasbaby11 Thu 02-May-13 17:37:36

I don't really know any parents like that - I think you're unlucky. Many of our generation from having parents who can help them financially. Most of my friends have been given money for housing. I doubt we'll be able to do that with DD.

ivanapoo Thu 02-May-13 18:20:04

babyboomersrock I think you make an excellent point. My parents had a much harder life until their 40s than I've had so far, whereas my quality of life has been fairly good so far but is unlikely to improve dramatically, and might even get worse financially.

An elderly relative is well off and very well to do yet she used to rinse off cling film and foil once she'd used it and hang it to dry to use again well into her 80s. The hardship her generation underwent never really left her, and is hard for me to really understand.

ComposHat Thu 02-May-13 19:13:26

Obviously it is hard to generalise, but I agree they are selfish or perhaps more thoughtless and don't appreciate that their lifestyles will be paid for by their children. I would like at least some appreciation that they won a genetic lottery and that came at their children's expense.

Both of my baby-boomer parents retired at 50 & 51 respectively and consistantly spend more than they earn and they have no mortgage to pay. My fiancee's mother is the same, but doesn't have a cushion of savings built up so is reliant on family members to bail them out.

My parents' life went like this:

Born in an NHS hospital --> Free higher education --> bought 3 bed semi at 22 --> job for life with gold plated pension --> bought public utility shares on the cheap --> Retired in early 50s with large pensions and lump sums and can look forward to another 25-30 years of this standard of living, with their inflation proof pensions and lots of little perks they don't need, like free bus passes and winter fuel.

They are the first generation where their children will have a lower living standard than their parents and they should shoulder some responsibility for this.

janey68 Thu 02-May-13 19:18:54

So much bitterness on this thread... People need to stop transferring their anger that their own parents are behaving selfishly onto the general population

ComposHat Thu 02-May-13 19:23:11

On my part at least, I am using it as an example how - on a whole- the baby boomers they have enjoyed lifestyles that would be beyond the ken of their parents who spend their youths getting their arses shot off or their children who will end up paying for their 80 year self indulgent binge.

It would be a start if they would acknoledge their good fortune and acknoledge that things are harder for their children.

babyboomersrock Thu 02-May-13 20:04:27

But ComposHat, you're doing exactly what janey68 said. Your parents are individuals - they're not representative of most babyboomers I know and we have no evidence that your parents' attitude is the norm. I'm sorry for you that you have selfish parents, but we aren't all like that; being 60-something doesn't make us all heartless, self-centred twits.

I don't know anyone who retired at 50, for a start. I also don't know anyone who could be accused of having an "80 year self-indulgent binge", unless I include pop stars, politicians or the aristocracy.

This antagonism towards a whole generation helps no-one. I could go on all night, giving you examples of people who're not like your parents but it wouldn't change a thing.

I could also reiterate that I know that - in some ways - life was easier for our generation and that your generation doesn't have an easy life...but that wouldn't help you. I guess you need your parents to say it.

alpinemeadow Thu 02-May-13 20:27:02

It's also worth pointing out that life is not necessarily not going to improve in the future for the younger generation. After all, in the early 1980s, few people I think would have predicted how much economic growth there was going to be over the next 15 yrs. Someone earlier on made the point that you have to look at people's overall lives, not just the snapshot of how they live now.

We have been told that the ageing population is going to be a huge economic burden because the ratio of old/young will increase, and therefore everyone must suffer - but this does not necessarily follow. Since 1918 the ratio of old/young has increased massively; yet the UK is so much richer than it was then, and certainly the vast majority of people are better off now than their counterparts were then. Technological change, productivity increases, etc, may mean that we continue to get richer in the future and the 'burden' will be perfectly manageable.

The real problem it seems to me for the younger generation is - housing costs - both the absolute level of prices and the difficulty of moving from renting to buying. I don't know how that can be solved - but I think that many of the other problems flow from that - the fact that childcare is much harder to afford if you're paying huge rents, etc.

ABroomOfOnesOwn Fri 03-May-13 11:13:44

'The decision makers of the Baby Boomer have pulled the ladder up after themselves'

This seems to be one of the underlying points with this discussion. So take the blue chip, FTSE250 companies - babyboomers that worked for these institutions have benefited from good salaries, job security, annual increments, early retirement, etc. Those companies have now 'outsourced' lots of roles, no job security, low pensions, etc. The people making those decisions are the baby boomers.

ABroomOfOnesOwn Fri 03-May-13 11:19:45

The contrast between the haves and havenots is far greater now then it was in the 50,60,70s.

So the baby boomers have kept pace on the whole with their peers. The head of the company earned 10 times the cleaners wage.

Now we have a huge class earning less then the living wage, working for multi-nationals, eg Costa Coffee while the public purse make up the wage difference. Some jobs appear to pay over well but a huge level of employment at the 20-30k level, which most of the BB generation would have fallen into have disappeared.

Wibblypiglikesbananas Fri 03-May-13 12:20:45

I've spotted a trend here - seems that anyone who says their parents do exhibit the behaviours displayed in the OP is jumped on by the baby boomers on this thread and told that it must just be their parents that are selfish. Except that there are quite a few of us saying we've experienced this - and each and every one of us has said that we are not generalising, simply citing our own experiences and realities...

Interesting that none of the baby boomers on this thread even recognise the type of people we're describing, isn't it?

LifeofPo Fri 03-May-13 12:29:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

babyboomersrock Fri 03-May-13 12:48:15

"Interesting that none of the baby boomers on this thread even recognise the type of people we're describing, isn't it?"

What does that mean? That we're lying? That we're defending the indefensible?

Could it be that the sort of "babyboomer" who uses Mumsnet tends to have a compassionate mindset? Or that, first and foremost, we're mothers/parents? That some of us - in common with many Mnetters - tend to be left-ish rather than right-ish in our politics? That we truly don't - personally - know anyone who is as self-centred and smug as the people you know? After all, if I despise the mentality I hear you describe in your older relatives, I'd hardly have them as friends, would I?

Blame is something politicians love, as long as it isn't aimed their way.

So, what's the answer? What should we, as babyboomers, do to redress the balance?

babyboomersrock Fri 03-May-13 13:09:52

Wibbly, you're right. What we're all doing is "citing our own experiences and realities" which is pointless and is going nowhere.

I have already said how sorry I am that younger generations don't have it easy. I'm sorry there are not enough affordable homes and that students are left with mountains of debt, and no jobs to look forward to. I loathe that as much as you do. I didn't want anyone's children to end up in that position.

All I can say is this. If you feel that problems are ongoing, that the "grey vote" holds too much sway and that your generation is still being oppressed by the over-60s, then please take action.

Get out there. Use your votes. Get angry with the right people.

curryeater Fri 03-May-13 13:36:09

There are two different things and it doesn't help to conflate them:

1 - the personalities of individuals (individuals can be selfish or generous or community minded or thoughtless-but-not-deliberately-selfish, or a million other personality traits)

2 - the economic circumstances of different times.

The economic circumstances have made some generations much richer than others - or perhaps, more accurately, have offered more members of some generations access to more opportunities for wealth - but this doesn't say anything about the indvidual personalities of those taking part in it.

HOWEVER who you vote for and what economic policies you support are not morally neutral decisions.

It is hardly the baby boomers fault that they benefitted from the housing boom though. Different eras have made people wealthy in differing ways. Who knows what the future holds?

curryeater Fri 03-May-13 13:40:11

It isn't their fault that they got so rich, but it is their fault that money isn't being fairly shared, depending on whom they vote for and what policies they support.

EarthtoMajorTom Fri 03-May-13 13:43:29

The baby boomers are joining UKIP in their droves. Looking at UKIP policies, yes, I agree, those baby boomers are selfish. They don't seem to realise the world has changed and you can't change it back.

How do you know who Baby Boomers vote for confused

Nanny0gg Fri 03-May-13 14:01:53

I have lost count of friends who are now in some form or another subsiding their retired parents - parents who have "blown" life savings.
'This surprises me because I don't know anyone like this, but lots whose baby boomer parents are helping their adult children out financially and with childcare'
Which describes my situation perfectly, added to which my DH (nearly 70) is still working and his father is looking to us to help financially because 'the house will be yours one day' Not necessarily. He's had to have a mortgage too!
Not to mention, the goalposts being moved as to the age I can receive my pension, with no time allowed for me to make extra provision (and continuing to work at my then job wasn't an option).

So we're not all grasping, having a Life of Riley layabouts. I do think the OP was generalising just a tad. No-one in my social circle matches he OP's.

orangeandemons Fri 03-May-13 14:10:48

The late Babyboomers aren,t boomers. The are Gen Jones and sometimes Gen X. They have a completely different attitude to the boomers, so please don't blame baby boom stuff on me! I'm 49 and hate everything they stand for and am definitely not one.

Wibblypiglikesbananas Fri 03-May-13 15:42:11

Babyboomersrock - I think we're going to have to agree to disagree in this instance. I don't think you're lying - any more so than you saying you don't know anyone who doesn't help their children makes me a liar. We've just had different experiences (though I take your point about the Mumsnet demographic).

I think there are so many facets and opinions with regard to this issue that it would be very difficult to come up with a list of statements that everyone could agree with 100% - though my personal experience (unfortunately) does support the general notion that the OP suggests.

Your assertion that my (and others') older relatives are 'smug' and 'self centred' is an interesting one - as whilst this is the way you may perceive them, I don't know if I (or in fact they) would. Willfully ignorant, yes. Unaware, yes. Smug? I'm not sure. Rather - unable or perhaps unwilling to see that life's very different nowadays from 30 years ago. I seem to be fighting a losing battle with trying to convey how they think - but will try to come up with examples:

E.g. 1 - my DM is astounded that I still have some student loan to pay off. I did a four year course at university, took a loan each year as well as working every holiday and at the time and for a few years after I finished my course, interest rates were around 6%. So - for the first few years I worked, anything that I paid back was dwarfed by interest repayments that were higher. I've had one period of maternity leave whilst working and am now a SAHM expecting DC 2. All the time, interest is accruing on my outstanding loan. I don't know if I'll ever pay it off - who knows? And if ever it comes up in conversation, my DM, who filled in the forms herself as the loan was means tested, says, 'Well, wasn't it marketed as interest free?'. Erm, no it wasn't - hence the situation I'm in now.

E.g. 2 - me not going back to work after DD was born. When I told DM just how much childcare was going to cost (£1500-£1600 per month, 7:30am - 6:30pm, M-F), her reaction was, 'Well, that's extortionate!'. It may have been to her, but that was what it would have cost in the area of London where we were based. No offers of help, no offers of childcare a day a week as some people have - just a 'that's ridiculous' mentality and the idea that we had somehow picked the most expensive childcare option open to us. We hadn't, this was the best option due to work start and finish times and proximity to the train station. Again though, the inference was that the cost couldn't possibly have been that high, it wouldn't have been in her day and we must have been doing something wrong.

Finally, I know I was accused of quoting various anecdotes further up the thread but I honestly do have a number of friends whose parents are of a similar mindset to my parents. I believe my particular year and the one below me were the first to take out student loans and it's pretty clear that a number of our parents didn't (and still don't) understand their repayment implications, despite having to complete the application forms themselves in a number of cases. People talk of help with house deposits and cars and so on on here - not in my world! A relative left me some money which I was able to put towards the deposit for our first home, but this was a lucky coincidence in terms of timing (and I'd much rather have had my relative around)...

And of course I vote - have done since I was 18, including postal votes when I've been overseas. Why wouldn't I? It's a bit of a stereotypical response to assume that younger people wouldn't vote, isn't it?

LadyHarrietdeSpook Fri 03-May-13 15:47:12

I would say no. Plenty of baby boomers are funding deposits for friends' homes and amongst US friends, paying for university/college fees for a second time running for the grandchildren as they are so astronomical.

babyboomersrock Fri 03-May-13 16:20:49

Wibblypiglikesbananas, when I said "use your votes (plural)", I meant everyone, not you. I don't make assumptions based on age, though I believe there is concern that older people are voting more than younger people - hence the feeling that the grey vote is carrying too much weight.

I simply meant to make the point generally (ie not solely to you) that we need to act together to improve things.

I'm saddened by your experiences - doesn't mean I don't believe them. I think it just goes to show what a diverse little island we inhabit.

I'm not at all sure why your dm is unable to understand - she has the facts and figures in front of her, so what's the problem? Is she perhaps trying to turn the blame on you (accusing you of choosing overly-expensive child care, for example) as an excuse for not helping out, financially or practically? Anyway, that isn't my business - I just wondered.

Your acquaintances, and those of the other posters, may not consider themselves "smug and self-centred", but they do come across that way. I'm sorry if you feel it was undeserved in the case of your own relatives, though I'm not sure they'd feel any better at being described as "wilfully ignorant".

janey68 Fri 03-May-13 16:37:17

If your mother didn't believe the facts and figures you actually presented her with wibbly then she's being deliberately obtuse. But I still maintain that you can't extrapolate from that, that everyone of her generation thinks the same way. I know my own mother was shocked when she realised how much our nursery bill cost, but she certainly believed it. Not that it led to any offers of help, but then my parents Weren't local to where we live and I wouldn't have expected them to provide free childcare as they've done their years of that.

however I'm still very aware of the fact that while we might complain about our huge nursery bills, at least this is an option for parents nowadays. Day nurseries didn't exist a few decades ago, and many women didn't have the option of continuing to work full stop. Personally I'd rather have the nursery bill and a decent career rather than not having to fork out but pretty much losing all semblance of a good career which was the case for many of our mothers generation

expatinscotland Fri 03-May-13 16:46:45

'No offers of help, no offers of childcare a day a week as some people have'

This idea that a parent should provide free, regular childcare of a grandchild is the height of entitlement.

janey68 Fri 03-May-13 16:49:58

What I mean by that last point is that it's all to easy to see things from our own perspective and forget that what we perceive as some great advantage, might be a DISadvantage to someone else. I've seen it quoted on a number of similar threads that not having to work must have been a wonderful advantage for the current generation of older women. That's such a sweeping generalisation and assumes that all these women were totally fulfilled and wouldn't have changed anything about their lives.

janey68 Fri 03-May-13 16:51:22

And yes I agree expat, no parent owes their adult child anything. It may be a bonus if you get it, but it shouldn't be expected

Wibblypiglikesbananas Fri 03-May-13 16:52:54

Expat - the thing is, she would never offer to help out so I wasn't expecting it. I was merely trying to illustrate that I'm not in the same position as, say, Babyboomersrock's children. If this was me with my children in years to come and I knew childcare costs were so high, rather than criticise the choice of (expensive) provider, I'd offer to help!

And incidentally, it was my DGPs who looked after me and my siblings so my DM could work back in the day. So whilst there might not have been nurseries as readily available, this didn't prevent my DM from going back to work when she wanted to.

janey68 Fri 03-May-13 17:04:19

Wibbly you are still talking about your own specific situation though, where your mother used her mother for childcare and then blatantly refused to believe that your childcare bill was so high. You cannot generalise anything from that. All it proves is that your own mother is being wilfully ignorant. There are plenty of older people who completely understand that life is tough In many ways for the younger generations. But equally, as I've shown, there are ways in which we have many advantages and opportunities now which weren't available to them

janey68 Fri 03-May-13 17:08:58

Meant to add- eg: tax credits and susbidised childcare up to about 70% of costs for low earners, a year off on maternity leave, and actually the fact that we have regulated childcare, full stop . None of these existed until recently.
Maybe wibbly because your own mother used her mum for childcare and seemingly got all the advantages of being able to work without the downsides of costs, you personally feel aggrieved that you can't do that. But life really wasn't like that for everyone. My mother never had a decent career again after giving birth, and that was the reality for many women of her generation

Wibblypiglikesbananas Fri 03-May-13 17:09:03

I know, and that's what I've said throughout this thread. Everything I've written is (perhaps inevitably) based on my own experiences - in fact, my very first post started with 'generalisations aside'... It does fall in line with what the OP was asking though. I'm not saying you can castigate a whole generation based on my parents' behaviour, definitely not - but I can't deny that I see many similarities between what the OP posted and my own life experience.

At least I have a model of how not to behave when I'm a GP myself, eh?

expatinscotland Fri 03-May-13 17:12:09

'If this was me with my children in years to come and I knew childcare costs were so high, rather than criticise the choice of (expensive) provider, I'd offer to help!'

I wouldn't. Loads of people wouldn't.

janey68 Fri 03-May-13 17:16:12

I wouldn't either expat. I hope i have grandchildren one day and if i do I'm sure I will love them to pieces and adore spending time with them, but that doesn't equate with providing childcare to fit around the parents lives.

expatinscotland Fri 03-May-13 17:17:40

I'm only 42 and my 4-year-old son knackers me. NO chance I'd do this again on a regular basis when I'm even older. If that makes me a bad grandparent (theoretically since my kids are 4 and 7), oh, well.

Wibblypiglikesbananas Fri 03-May-13 18:24:53

Janey and Expat - gosh, I find it really sad, as in my own case, that as a parent, you wouldn't want to help out your own children when their children were young. I'm determined to do all I can to help my children when they're older, particularly if things are like they are now, childcare costs high, salaries and wages so out of sync with house prices and so on.

What was the OP's question again? Baby boomers - the selfish generation?Again, my experience, but my GPs helped my parents, I'd be prepared to help my children and you and my parents in the middle say you wouldn't be prepared to do this. Maybe something to ponder on there...

Almostfifty Fri 03-May-13 18:30:07

Firstly, let me say I think this discussion shows MN at it's best. A good discussion.

I am at the end of the babyboomer generation. It's not exactly our fault that house prices are so high, you can blame that on the banks and building societies in the past allowing such ridiculous sums to be borrowed on salaries. I remember saying when the 90s problem came along (we had our house for sale for 15 months) that hopefully they would learn from that and things would settle. They didn't, hence today's problems.

Everyone seems to want to buy three bedroomed semis (at least) these days as well, with all new furniture and an extortionately priced wedding beforehand. When we bought our first house, it needed gutting, all our furniture was hand me downs, we bought new stuff when we'd saved up and bought it then.

As to our children, we have saved and saved over the past fifteen years and have bought another small property (with a mortgage) for them to live in or to rent out to cover the cost of their accommodation whilst at University. When they finish, we will sell up and give them the money as deposits for their own houses. That's the extent of helping them out. By then, we should be almost retiring ourselves and I expect to sell up, get an RV and tour Canada and America before coming back here and buying a cottage somewhere lovely and picturesque. Whether that happens or not is another matter, but that's our plan. OH has worked extremely hard to make this happen and we're going to thoroughly enjoy our retirement without feeling guilty that we can.

I'm not going to look after my grandchildren either. No-one helped me, I left work and we cut our cloth to suit for a long time till DH was in a good job and we started to enjoy the benefits of that.

expatinscotland Fri 03-May-13 18:41:10

'Janey and Expat - gosh, I find it really sad, as in my own case, that as a parent, you wouldn't want to help out your own children when their children were young.'

Since when does helping out your children mean providing free, regular childcare? I can't imagine being so selfish and entitled that I would deny my parents their privacy, freedom and peaceful enjoyment of their retirement by saddling them with providing free childcare when I chose to bring my children into this world. That's my responsibility to pay for them and look after them, including childcare.

OrangeMabel Fri 03-May-13 18:52:29

I'd hate to retire in my 50s.

Wibblypiglikesbananas Fri 03-May-13 18:58:36

Expat But no one is denying GPs anything if the GPs actively want to be involved! I can't think of a bigger privilege than being entrusted with the care of any future grandchildren I might have.

Almostfifty - the irony. What can I say? Have you even read the thread? I don't own a three bed semi, I've had to save to buy the furniture we have and like pretty much every poster on this thread who isn't a baby boomer, I'm sure we'd have all loved to 'cut our cloth to suit' in an era when house prices were three times a single person's salary... That is the whole point! You are not comparing like with like - as illustrated time and again by PPs.

And that buy to let property you bought, whilst great for your own children, has just served to push up house prices and contribute to what you call 'today's problems'.

janey68 Fri 03-May-13 18:59:20

And I find it very sad wibbly that you measure help and support by 'being willing to act as a free childminder to fit around the working times of your adult children'
There are many ways to be a loving, involved, caring grandparent. Anyone who thinks the only way, or even the best way, is to basically sign your life over to fitting around the parents work commitments sounds supremely entitled and selfish. Let grandparents be grandparents. That in itself is a gift - they shouldn't feel obliged to bankroll their adult children any more.

CruCru Fri 03-May-13 19:26:50

This is an interesting debate. One couple I did think of was the Chandlers - they were kidnapped by Somalis and their relatives raised a ransom - and now they are back on their boat. Clearly, they really suffered but I did think this showed quite a lack of awareness of other people's feelings.

CruCru Fri 03-May-13 19:27:29

Sorry, that might be a bit of a random post.

janey68 Fri 03-May-13 19:36:12

Erm... Yes... Hardly representative.

TartinaTiara Fri 03-May-13 19:37:08

I've been pondering this throughout the thread, and have had a couple of thoughts. First is that some baby boomer women didn't work, or didn't work full time - leaving aside the issues of whether this was a good or bad thing for them personally, I wonder whether being out of the workplace, having a much smaller social circle did insulate them slightly from knowing how different the world is now. Not so much wilful ignorance, but a complete inability to contemplate a life different to their own - in the way that none of us would be able to understand how life worked in, say, the pre-WW1 era. Though I think wibblypig has said that her DM did work, and still doesn't really seem to grasp it, so maybe I'm completely off the mark there.

The other thing is that clearly, from many peoples' experiences, there are some - maybe not selfish but certainly uncomprehending of their own luck - boomers out there. And clearly some selfish ones as well. Do you think it might be true to say that, whilst baby boomers aren't inherently selfish, the circumstances of their lives have allowed those who are selfish by nature to indulge that selfishness more?

Wibblypiglikesbananas Fri 03-May-13 19:55:31

Janey68 - what you quote isn't actually something that I've said! If you read my 18:58 post, you'll also see that I said when grandparents actively want to be involved in their grandchildren's lives, no one is denying anyone anything.

You're seeing this purely from the point of view that a child has asked their parents for help with their own children, which, granted, could come across as a selfish and entitled attitude. However, some grandparents would and do offer to care for their grandchildren whilst their parents work, you know.

MusieB Fri 03-May-13 20:01:54

I've been pondering about this thread too.

I think that maybe the difficulties the boomer generation and their children have in understanding each other's POV stem from the fact that the relative costs of various things have changed so much.

The boomers see their children in their 20s, 30s and 40s buying/frequently upgrading endless items of technology (bigger, flatter TVs, computer equipment and telephones, white goods etc), buying lots of clothes, going on foreign holidays, buying good food and bottles of wine without a second thought, and eating out frequently. At that stage in the boomers' lives these were all viewed as serious luxury items and many families even in quite well paid jobs had to scrimp and save for them. But the fact is that in real (ie inflation adjusted) terms the prices of all these things have fallen dramatically since the 1960s, 70s and 80s.

By contrast many of the things which the boomer generation were able to afford quite easily have become many times more expensive in real terms. The main one is of course housing, but school fees and child care also spring to mind...

janey68 Fri 03-May-13 20:11:07

If grandparents actively want to look after their grandchildren while the parents work then there isn't a problem is there wibbly? But if they don't wish to, then that wish should be respected. I thought we were talking about situations where the grandparents didn't want to offer free childminding

janey68 Fri 03-May-13 20:14:38

And I Also think its really important to acknowledge that not providing free childcare does not necessarily mean a grandparent isn't hugely involved, caring and full of love. You can be the best grandparent in the world without doing the child minding role, and equally you could be providing free child care but begrudging it and not necessarily providing the best environment for the child. And everything else in between those two extremes.

alpinemeadow Fri 03-May-13 20:25:30

The thing is tt, it's impossible to generalise about the bbrs circumstances. Some have done very well indeed, a very small percentage had free university education, but far more of those born before, say, 1958, left school at 15, didn't earn massive amounts, paid income tax at 33% through the 1970s and so on. Many are unlikely now to be particularly well off, I would have thought.

In fact it would be interesting to have some statistics about the income and assets of that group though. I don't know, but suspect that there are many who are not on great pensions and don't have fantastic assets.

That's a very good point about relative costs musieb - and yes, I think housing costs is the real problem.

NUFC69 Fri 03-May-13 20:30:38

I think MusieB's post is about the most sensible I have read - young people do seem to me, to have endless bits of technology and and equipment. People of my generation can only look back at what they had when in their 20s and 30s - always handmedowns, so that is probably why some people do feel that their children aren't really trying with regard to saving for houses (totally unrealistic, of course). I can remember when I got my first part-time job after the children went to school, I earned £50 a month and decided that I would save for a dishwasher (a complete luxury) - it took me six months of saving for that and nothing else. It is very easy for an older person to look, say, at an iphone, and know that the contract for it is £x a month and think, well, that could be used for something else.

Perhaps we should all try to see each other's point of view more often.

Chottie Fri 03-May-13 20:36:55

DH and I are both BBs. Neither of us went to uni. In fact, I know very few people my age who went to university. DH has worked full time since he was 16 years old. Before that he worked (paper round) from the age of 9. I went out to work full time at 18 years old. I can remember the strikes and three day week of the 70s. From about 1988-92 the interest rate on our mortgage was 13% (no not a typo!).

I studied whilst working with a family to get qualifications, it was tough. When we got married I was thrilled to be given a second hand fridge by my auntie. I think expectations were less then.

janey68 Fri 03-May-13 20:39:43

Yes I agree. Young people nowadays tend to have far more in the way of the latest technology, clothes, holidays Etc and also go out FAR more than previous generations did. When I was at university I didn't know a single student who ran a car, and even in the years following uni quite a few people I knew had never been abroad and we all tended to wear second hand clothes and going out for a drink or meal was a really special occasion whereas now many young people have a night out at least once a week
On the other hand, the major purchase of a house seemed achievable. Not easy, because interest rates were so much higher- but achievable.

mirry2 Fri 03-May-13 20:51:52

Farbetternow, your experiences sound much more likely, given my own background and that of my parents.

Almostfifty Fri 03-May-13 20:59:47

Wibbly yes, I have read the thread and I fail to see how by buying a house for my children to live in pushes up the costs of housing. Yes, if I'd bought a load of housing by buy to let, that would. But they have to live somewhere, and surely it's better to keep it in the family than put it in a landlord's pocket?

I didn't say all people buy brand new, MusieB's post is spot on. I was meaning more before the bubble burst, rather than now. I know it's not easy now, having close family unable to earn enough for a deposit for even a small house.

Great post Musieb. As I have already said, everything is relative. Definitions of poverty have changed over time, and to be honest, all these younger folk moaning about the BBs just sounds like jealousy.

FarBetterNow Fri 03-May-13 21:19:19

I think some of the comments on this thread are mental and I find them shocking.
'Baby boomers are joining UKIP in their droves!'
How do you know that?

How about the BBs that actively campaign against the BNP who are mainly young people, by the way.
The BBs that campaigned tirelessly for nuclear disarmament in the 80s.

Sorry, but some of you really haven't a sodding clue what you are on about.

The point is that it ridiculous to call a whole generation of people selfish.

In the same way that I could say all younger people waste and fritter away money everyday of their lives, buying sandwiches, coffees, eating out, buying bottles of wine, daft handbags, nail bars, actually paying someone to pluck their eyebrows, waxing, spas.
But I do know that not all younger people do waste their money in that way.

Thumbwitch Sat 04-May-13 07:40:45

Musieb has some very good points. I remember back in the early 1970s that we did have to scrimp on food - imagine one Angel Delight packet feeding 5 people, and one tin of sardines having to do enough pieces of toast for 5 people too (I was extremely good at achieving this). And chicken was a luxury then - now it's so cheap (unless you buy free range organic)! Fish was cheaper though.

My grandparents looked after 3 of us during school holidays so Mum could work. But I think this was easier because a) they were in their 50s and b) Mum was an only child so we were the only demand on their time. I will probably be in my late 60s/early 70s whenever DS has children - not sure I'll be physically able to run around after toddlers/small children by then!

Blueskiesandbuttercups Sat 04-May-13 08:02:08

Hmm we had technology in the 70s and 80s. Video recorders(expensive when they came out),Sinclair Spectrum,walkmans,foreign holidays,new car,expensive food etc.

We had a far better standard of living than my kids will get.

The fact is today tech is cheap and you need it to get on. People can and do get a lot of tech second hand and or through work. Most hard working families don't have the expensive new stuff the minute it comes out,it filters down(prices drop).

I'd love to know how you keep up in the work place and apply for jobs without the internet and some kind of computer device these days.We don't have a smart phone but will have to upgrade at some point not by choice.

janey68 Sat 04-May-13 08:15:06

Hear hear farbetternow

And as has already been said, if we were to replace BB with any other group such as disabled or ethnic minority, there would be uproar

MusieB Sat 04-May-13 14:42:32

Thanks for the nice comments!

I think it's far more difficult for the boomers to understand their children's perspective and POV than vice versa. The boomers' children shared the relevant part of the boomers' lives with them: the children lived in houses which are unaffordable for them now they have their own families and saw first hand how much their boomer parents struggled to afford things then regarded as treats but which we now take for granted. In comparison the boomers are outsiders looking in on their children's lives.

BTW I am a child of the 1970s not a boomer. My parents do sometimes find it difficult to recognise how different the financial landscape is for me and my siblings. But in one sense they couldn't be more different to the sort of parent described by the OP: my DM's mantra is that it's now their responsibility to remain independent and not be a burden to us children for as long as possible.

ethelb Sat 04-May-13 21:12:00

Oh we arent going on about youbg people spending all their money on technology again are we?

As I said upthread, its just that the tables have turned and now tech is cheap and housing expensive. I would give anything for the tables to be turned back.

I say that as a v techy person!

Ok, so haven't read the thread and am extrapolating from a sample size of one but my PIL are doing exactly what the OP says. They are boomers.

FIL retired at 53 and they sold their house. Since then they are living off a tiny pension and the equity they released. They have spent about 18 months in the canary islands, winters mostly, rented various places in the uk and france. They have been on the Queen Mary and had 3 months touring the US. They had 3 months in new zealand and are currently in oz.

I don't begrudge them this. What i do begrudge is that when they are back in the UK they usually expect to stay with us. Last year it was 3 months. So far this year 1 month and we will see when they get back from Oz how long they stay. And they have now gone through most of their money and are feeling very sorry for themselves that they are now very skint. I worry about what they plan and that DP will end up having to subsidise them.

Thumbwitch Sun 05-May-13 03:06:24

ThinkAboutIt, are they still below retirement age?

FarBetterNow Sun 05-May-13 03:19:36

Thinkaboutit: Your PILs must be a nightmare.
Get them some job application forms!
B & Q employ over 65s.

Bogeyface Sun 05-May-13 03:23:49


You could always say "No!" to them staying. Just because they want to stay doesnt mean that you have to let them.

TheNewson Sun 05-May-13 08:40:13

I don't think they are selfish. My folks had tough post war childhoods, lodged with an old lady for 2 yrs after marriage to save for house, were hit by huge interest rates in the 80s. They worked hard had 1 uk hol a year etcSplit the house following divorce. In retirement they helped look after my kids, live frugally on a ltd pension and know value of money. I agree with the poster who said my generation (40) is selfish, even though I lost my job a few yrs ago.

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