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To think the babyboomers have had it a lot easier than the next generation?

(207 Posts)
DarlingDuck Sat 02-Jul-11 10:30:05

In terms of house prices, uni fees, pensions and retirement.

I'm 30 and don't know any people my age who own their own homes unless they were substantially subsidised by their parents. All my friends have uni fees to pay off and a lot of them struggled/are struggling to find work even with a degree.

Am a bit jealous of my parents generation... Had a major pang when I heard the over 65's own 85% of the UK's property, AIBU?

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 02-Jul-11 10:36:30

YABU.. They may have had advantages over the present day but they had plenty of other difficulties to cope with that we don't. My parents tell me how tough it was to buy their first home in 1965. It only cost £2000 but the mortgage was based solely on my Dad's income (women didn't count in those days), the depost took all their savings and they couldn't afford things like a car or a family holiday for many years. People like my Mum and Dad - working class - couldn't even contemplate a university education because their families expected them to leave school and get jobs. And anything they bought had to be saved up for first ... no credit cards, bank loans etc. for ordinary people.

There's more to life than property...

worraliberty Sat 02-Jul-11 10:39:42


I consider myself very lucky that I'm 42 and have had my Mortgage for 16yrs. Even with the market taking a downturn, my little 3 bed semi is worth more than 3 times what I paid for it (London Borough). My monthly Mortgage payment is less than my neighbour's weekly rent. Yet I needed no help from my parents as the deposit was small and managable.

I really do worry about my kids and wonder if they'll ever get a foot on the property ladder sad

DarlingDuck Sat 02-Jul-11 10:45:31

There is more to life than property but it is security thing. It's horrible living in rented accomodation with DC's, not knowing if the lease is going to be renewed or not or the rent hiked up. We can't put pictures up on the walls or change anything in the house. It would be okay if we knew we would have our own place one day but sadly I don't think that will be the case.

PigletJohn Sat 02-Jul-11 11:31:38

The property thing is unfair, and it is not equally distributed.

For example, suppose brother (1) bought a run-down terraced house in Fulham for £10,00 in 1980 when he was earning £2,500 a year, and brother (2) bought a house in Darlington for the same.

Through no fault or special effort on the part of either of them, one of them might have a house worth a million more than the other today. Despite them both earning, spending, saving the same amount over 40 years.

I see no reason why the children of brother 1 should feel entitled to receive a million extra in ther inheritance than the children of brother 2, so I am all in favour of inheritance tax. I am also in favour of people's wealth being taken into account when providing care in their old age. If you had a million pounds in the bank, or in gold bars, or in shares, you would be expected to pay for yourself, so why not if it is in a house? Although obviously if you are living in it you could wait until you die for the bill to be settled.

There was quite a narrow window of good pensions, BTW. If you had the good fortune to be employed from (say) 1960 to 2010, and to be with a good employer with a good pension scheme, and to have stayed in it all that time, you might be retiring now with a better pension than the rest of us. However if you had changed jobs a few times, or been unemployed from time to time, or been on a low wage, or worked for a company that went bust, you might be in a very poor situation. So it isn't just the generation you're in, it's also your luck. Today there are more unemployed, and there are also more people on HUGE earnings, so it is still a matter of luck and very unequal.

bochead Sat 02-Jul-11 12:37:31

They also had the security of the NHS, greater job security, larger properties were still beng built. When they did rent there were council homes and secure private tenancies. Job security, security of tenure, pension security - it all adds up to a far less stressful existence than a world of 6 month tenancies and fixed term contracts. The NHS dentist and free NHS specs were standard in all areas for all children too. Hospital cleaners were on permy contracts and were responsible for their own wards.

I don't understand why virtually ALL the new build in my area (inner london being Regnerated) is for 1/2 bed shoe box flats when it's been known that since at least 2000 we are short of primary school places and that the birth rate is rising.........

I'm fortunate - although my flat is a one bed, cos it's over a hundred years old it's as large in square footage as the (rare) 3 bed flats I've viewed locally. Taking out price as a factor the accomodation being built, isn't what's needed by local people.

Night school classes were affordable, university was free, parks weren't being built over for flats and schools had playing fields. Parents and teachers had far autonomy in how children were raised than is the case today. If you'd dictated what was permitted to be allowed in a child's packed lunch in 1960 you'd have been given short shrift!

On the other hand - mining communities were decimated, unions meant that you had no chance of promotion at a workplace where your face didn't fit. Working women and especially single Mums were frowned upon. Racial & homophobic violence was accepted as OK. 70's cuisine was grim. Football hooliganism made some areas total no-go places on match days. Some estates were no-go areas for police and rioting occurred. Central heating wasn't the norm. Very few women managed to get a decent pension, rise to a decent level of responsibility in the workplace.

somethingwitty82 Sat 02-Jul-11 14:02:08

Wasn't that great, the 70's were fucking cold as shit. Ice on the inside of windowssad

And always felt a bit grubby as only had 1 bath a week as a child.

Coal fire and back boiler didnt produce a lot of hot water and dad was a miner so he needed it a bit more than us

fatlazymummy Sat 02-Jul-11 14:07:41

It's all swings and roundabouts. Some people were better off, some people were worse off.I suppose a lot does depend on the area. There are plenty of young people who can afford to buy in my area, that is in the south east, but the sort of area that many would turn their noses up at. Neither my parents or my inlaws were able to buy until they were in their 30's. I bought my 1st and only house when I was 30 [with my ex] and it was a reposession, so somebody obviously lost out.

80sMum Sat 02-Jul-11 14:22:43

YANBU insofar as housing costs are concerned. It's true, we baby boomers did benefit from rampant inflation, which hiked up house prices and salaries and in turn reduced our mortgage repayments as a proportion of our income.

On the other hand, our standard of living at that time (late '70s/early '80s)was much lower than many people would find acceptable today.

redexpat Sat 02-Jul-11 14:31:52

They also had lower expectations and didn't spend money they couldn't afford. If they needed or wanted something they had to save up for it.

EdwardorEricCantDecide Sat 02-Jul-11 14:44:19


i regularly think about this and can only see it getting worse for our kids generation.sad

i did manage to get on property ladder but at my own risk i had a small deposit and high mortgage and bought in 2007(right before the crunch) the result being that we are now in £25000 -ve equity.

i'm in a low paid job where i have struggled to get a promotion (my face doesn't fit) i have not been to uni and don't think i can afford to now despite the fact that i would love it and think it would make a real difference to my life. sad i have absolutely no pension whatsoever, in order for me to get anything decent from my companies pension scheme i would need to pay in a mimimum of £180 per month, which i can't afford.

EdwardorEricCantDecide Sat 02-Jul-11 14:45:06

"They also had lower expectations and didn't spend money they couldn't afford. If they needed or wanted something they had to save up for it"

nor do many in this generation.

Grumpygils Sat 02-Jul-11 14:55:57


But, you will probably get a pasting, as many on here are aged 35 or over, and IME it is mostly those of us younger than that who were too late to benefit from rising house prices and have to pay extortionate rents to boot. Things aren't going to improve financially for the next 5-10 years, and I'm not just talking about house prices. Housing costs are a massive burden on people our age.

My parents bought their house on 2.5x one person's salary aged 25. It is bigger than what we could afford having saved up almost 3x the average UK salary. i.e. as young newlyweds they bought a family home big enough to last them til retirement and beyond. Mortgage was paid off in their forties, and retired on good final salary pensions before they were 60. They had decent grants to see them through uni, no fees for them and we took out loans to pay our living costs (I'm just too old to have paid fees as well, phew!).

We don't spend money we can't afford and save up if we want something. We have never had any debts except student loans and the mortgage. We do save for a rainy day too, just like they did.

LucyLasticNeeGrumbler Sat 02-Jul-11 14:58:42

I completely agree. The 'investments' made by my parents' generation grew wildly beyond all reason - a feeling that salaries would always rise, houses would always double in value, 'luxury' trappings beyond their parents imaginations would become the norm etc. However all of this was shortsighted and greedy - ever increasing prices may have lined the pockets of those in from the beginning but ultimately have left MY generation in a period of instability.

The national average salary, on an average mortgage deal will buy you a £115,000 house. The average house costs £275,000. The maths simply no longer stacks up. Add to this successive years of pay freezes, rising food and fuel costs, and the introduction of tuition fees and most do not have enough left at the end of the month to MAKE an investment in property, shares or anything else. The financial markets of the country are now closed to ordinary folk, we have no chance of printing money the way our parents could.

The cynic in me might argue this is all part of a long term game - yes the over 65s own most property in the UK, but in 20 years how much will all that property yield the government in inheritance tax as they pass on?
Property prices in seaside towns, and pretty rural villages are likely to plummet as the market is flooded with second homes of the recently deceased - and maybe those of us brought up in those towns will then be able to afford to move back home?

phew - turned into a bit of a rant - but currently a sore topic. My father refuses to believe that you can 'lose' investing in bricks and mortar, as he made £8,000 turn into £750,000 in the time he owned the family home - I've tried to explain the cash in his pocket now is the reason that won't ever happen for DP and me... but hey ho! They didn't have MN back then and the world was surely a poorer place for that....

strawberryjelly Sat 02-Jul-11 14:58:56

YANBU my son and daugher are slightly younger but in exactly the same position as you are.

Today people need around 40% as a deposit for a home and that is on top of student loan.

tallulah Sat 02-Jul-11 15:00:25

YABU. Perhaps you don't realise that the last of the babyboomers was born in 1965?

I left school at 16. Only 4 people from our school went to University (to be doctors). About 20 or so went to polytechnic. The rest of us went to work (and will have been working for 50 years before we get to retire angry ). At work we were on the "Junior" pay-scale until we were 21 years old.

I got married at 20 and we struggled to buy a house for £20k. To do that we had to save hard for 2 years while living with our parents. When our children were tiny our mortgage rate went up to 15%. Today people spend their teens and 20s/early 30s "partying" and buying clothes and having holidays, then move in with a partner. We didn't. We didn't have central heating until 1997.

As for council housing, my grandparents had a council house. You had to be able to prove you could pay the rent and were decent upstanding citizens. They weren't reserved for "low income families" as you always hear now. My other grandparents rented privately and didn't even have a bathroom- just a scullery and an outside loo. And that was in 1983!

You couldn't get credit without going to see the bank manager and explaining what you wanted it for. Shops closed at 5pm and nothing opened Sundays. Credit cards existed but people didn't have them as a matter of course. Supermarkets only accepted cash and cheques, and the queues were horrible. People didn't eat out, and to go to the Little Chef was a rare treat.

We are the back end of the baby-boomers but didn't have what they had. It was a different world to the one we are living in now.

Adagoo Sat 02-Jul-11 15:03:14


My parents generation are the ones who sold off companies, property etc etc and are the ones going abroad 4 times a year. They inherited it, but it will all be gone by the time my children are grown.

I don't agree with inherited wealth BTW, but it is true nevertheless.

I do think that we have a much better quality of life in terms of material items, cars, heating, food etc etc. than they did.

But our children are now restricted in their freedom so much more.

RottenTiming Sat 02-Jul-11 15:20:56


Several things need to be factored in here

Fewer people went to university, meaning there was more funding to go round hence grants were a possibility. Fewer graduates mean't less unemployed graduates or graduates having to take work that can equally be done by someone without a degree and therefore lower paid.

The con of dumbing down secondary education and getting people to pay towards it too has been fallen for hook line and sinker.

If todays 20 somethings spent their money on the same sort of things as the baby boomers did (so no mobile phone costs, far less car ownership, far less spending on clothes, far less spending on clubbing and socialising in general, less holidaying abroad, far more living at home with your parents for longer so not renting somewhere and buying stuff to kit it out on credit etc etc) they would be able to save more but after the babyboomers came the want it and will have it now consumer generation.

OpusProSerenus Sat 02-Jul-11 15:34:22

Agree with Tallulah. I am 50 so am on that cusp of the end of the babyboom and think although we have done well from property (though not as well as if we lived down south!), we did have a much lower standard of living back then. Many things we saw as luxuries are seen by the 20-somethings as essentials (or dare I say it as entitlements!) and buying property was not always easy then either, with high interest rates, etc.

You also have to remember that our age group battled through the high interest rates when we were buying our homes, many suffered from the plunge in the economy hitting endowment payouts over the last 10 years and now get next to no interest on anything we might try to save as the government keeps interest rates artificially low to benefit current mortgage holders.

I am certainly not claiming we had it harder, I know how difficult life can be now but I think it's swings and roundabouts tbh. It is just a different world we live in now

EdwardorEricCantDecide Sat 02-Jul-11 15:36:24

i think the "want it now and will have it now consumer generation" is a direct result of the babyboomers success with money though.

also not all 20somethings do spend all their money clubbing/partying kitting out rented flats on credit cards etc.

i bought my first house at 21yo with my husband we were married before buying, we never rented. i do spend money on a mobile phone contract admittedly, and DH and i both have a car each but this is because ridiculous house prices pushed out to a rural village with no public transport access, and therefore a car is a neccesity.

other than car and mortgage we have no other debts and if we need something we save for it. we have not been to uni, can't afford pensions or any other "investments" so i am well aware that we will either work till we die or be reliant on the government (most likely the former as i can't see the government having much help to give in the future)

i think in this country specifically but probably across most developed countries the economic future looks pretty grim and i pity my DS and his generation

TheFalcon Sat 02-Jul-11 15:43:33

"I left school at 16. Only 4 people from our school went to University (to be doctors). About 20 or so went to polytechnic. The rest of us went to work (and will have been working for 50 years before we get to retire angry ). At work we were on the "Junior" pay-scale until we were 21 years old."
You say that like leaving school at 16 and earning a trainee wage until 21 is a bad thing. People today have to get themselves in debt in order to maybe get a job at 21.

Sorry but I think the baby boomers had it far, far better than people today do.

JemimaMop Sat 02-Jul-11 15:45:52


My mum was born in 1946, conceived after my Grandpa returned from a Japanese prisoner of war camp. She was bright (won a scholarship to a private school) but couldn't go to university as her parents couldn't afford it. She found a good job in an accounts office, but once she got married and had children she found it very difficult to be taken seriously and was passed over when opportunities for promotion etc came up.

I was born in 1978. I can't ever remember not thinking that I would go to university, it was pretty much a foregone conclusion. Yes I took out a loan, but I don't think loans at that time put anyone off studying for a degree. I bought my first house at 23. OK, the graduate job market is rather flooded as pretty much everyone has degrees these days, but I have an awful lot more choices than my mum had.

DD was born in 2006. Who knows what things will be like by the time she is in her late teens, but I hope that she will be able to go to university if she wants to. At least she shouldn't experience prejudice in the work place due to her gender, or at least not to the extent that her Grandma's generation did.

I had more opportunities than my mum had, who in turn had more opportunities than her mum did. I hope that my DD will have at least as many opportunities as I did, and maybe even more.

TheFalcon Sat 02-Jul-11 16:14:15

I think people read too much into university. People leaving school in the past had better opportunities than people leaving University do today. As for "choices", I think they are overrated.

FringeMonkey Sat 02-Jul-11 17:07:45


Interesting list RottenTiming:

no mobile phone costs -I have a mobile, but have always had PAYG and v cheap and no call charges on landline, unlike my parents at my age.

far less car ownership -I own one cheap car, exactly like my parents at my age.

far less spending on clothes -I am no slave to fashion. Most of mine come from supermarkets or other cheap shops and are worn until they wear out.

far less spending on clubbing and socialising in general -can't stand clubbing and spent most of my 20s at home with dh drinking tea.

less holidaying abroad -not been abroad in a decade, and the last time was my honeymoon. Have been camping in the UK, just like my parents...

far more living at home with your parents for longer -at 18 my babyboomer parents annouced they'd finished bringing me up and I now lived at uni, not at home. It wasn't exactly my choice.

buying stuff to kit it out on credit -never bought stuff on credit, we saved up and bought it.

Sorry, your list just doesn't ring true for me. I don't 'want it all now', I just want to be able to afford an average sized family home in the area that we work. Our household income exceeds that I was brought up with, even adjusting for inflation, but what it buys is not equivalent. Maybe it's a north/south thing?

FringeMonkey Sat 02-Jul-11 17:10:13

Oh, and now we have an aging population who will need more health and social care than ever, which will come out of current taxpayers pockets...

My parents laugh when I point out that when I'm their age I will still be working. The reality is I will have another 5-10 years to work where they have been retired for 5 already. I doubt my life expectancy will be any longer, but I will pay more for my pension an many other things.

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