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To think, as a 'millennial', that we do have it quite good?

(236 Posts)
kokosnuss Tue 23-Jan-18 10:01:38

Hate the term, but the common narrative amongst 'millennials' is that the baby boomers stole all the houses and good pensions, leaving none for us.

AIBU to think that yes, many baby boomers are in an enviable position (paid off mortgage, pension, savings), but only because:
(and I'm thinking only of my own working class grandparents and their friends here, others may have different experiences)

- They started working and saving early, often as soon as they finished school at 15, and had little opportunity to go onto higher education; many would have gone into jobs the millennial generation might consider 'unfulfilling' (e.g. my Grandma was a sewing machinist). They also led lives my generation might consider 'unfulfilling', e.g. simple (meat and 2 veg) food, no foreign holidays, few trips to restaurants, events, etc. Their lives were very much lived in the home i.e. very cheaply and expectations of life were very different.

Of course, many baby boomers now enjoy an expensive lifestyle, with lots of foreign trips and new experiences, but only because they're enjoying the fruits of years of careful saving. They haven't always lived that way, but there seems to be an assumption on the part of millennials that they have. So whereas my generation might only finish education at 21 or later, and then want to spend time travelling, or building up experience towards a 'fulfilling' career path, they also want to live what they consider to be a 'fulfilling' lifestyle, e.g. gadgets, subscriptions, foreign trips, going to events, restaurants, bars, the latest fashions, etc. And then are surprised when they have no savings or pension!

I'm nearly 30, renting, and only just in the position my grandparents would have been in at 18/19 - steady job, actively saving for a house, making regular pension contributions. But I don't blame anybody else for that, because I've had lots of opportunities and experiences in return that I know my grandparents (and female grandparents in particular) didn't have.


Bunchofdaffodils Tue 23-Jan-18 10:05:11

Yanbu. You make a very good point.

ShatnersWig Tue 23-Jan-18 10:06:54

YABU, I think. The differential between wages and house prices was far, far lower back then for a start.

ShatnersWig Tue 23-Jan-18 10:07:50

And the reason many have been able to do nice holidays and things was because they were able to build savings because of much higher interest rates which we no longer have.

kokosnuss Tue 23-Jan-18 10:11:06


I do accept house prices, especially in the South, are very prohibitive. I'm lucky to live in an area of the North with quite achievable prices.

But remember on interest rates that wherever savings rates were sky high, so would have been mortgage rates.

SilenceIsBroken Tue 23-Jan-18 10:11:11

YABU and I don't think you understand the forces at play here. It's not as simple as baby boomers being better at saving.

clumsyduck Tue 23-Jan-18 10:11:34

You have a point but also I think people of our age were hit by the ressesion just as we were of graduate age and then house prices crept back up again at a time when most people would be thinking about buying

Luckily I started work when I was younger and was ready to buy a house just after house prices fell but most of my friends weren't in that position

GiBlues Tue 23-Jan-18 10:12:22

Yanbu and as a pp said you make a very good point.
I met DH at 17 we brought our first house when I turned 18 and he was 20, we sacrificed holidays abroad, nights out, meals out etc and worked our arses off to make sure all our bills were paid.
We’re now in our early 30’s and have been able to move up the property ladder to a larger than average house and it does irk me when people say how lucky we are to have what we’ve got.
It nothing to do with luck it was the decision to buy a house young, work hard and make those sacrifices that we’ve got to where we are now.

Hillarious Tue 23-Jan-18 10:12:31

Mid fifties and I'm starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel with regard to my finances. Still have a mortgage to pay off, but it's embarrassingly low compared to my younger colleagues, plus I live closer to work, because my location is no longer affordable and wasn't desirable when we moved here. However, on a previous house we had to buy our way out of negative equity. More importantly, I have three millennials of my own to support - two at uni, so supporting them is like having another mortgage - and they certainly won't be buying a house close to me any time soon.

GiBlues Tue 23-Jan-18 10:13:05

Oh and we’re in SE England too

EatTheChocolateTeapot Tue 23-Jan-18 10:13:30

Are baby boomers your grandparent generation? Would not it be your parents' generation?
He reason why people have to study longer is because it is difficult to get a good job. So it was easy to get a job, house prices were lower plus you had all those plastics and disposable we are trying to get back from, ready made meals and not worrying about the environment or giving your kid organic wholesome stuff. Yes, they had it easier IMO,

Lonecatwithkitten Tue 23-Jan-18 10:14:17

You are not a millennial they were born in or after 2000.
You are Generation Y.
All generations have their challenges.

Mrsjellybum Tue 23-Jan-18 10:18:21

I agree with you on most of those points.
Also you were able to get 100% mortgages then but not so much these days so u didn't need a deposit.
We were one of the last ones to get a 100% mortgage ( I'm 35) we got it in the very early 2000's.
about a yer after they stopped doing them so suddenly everyone had to save like crazy.

I agree though that monthly expenses are far higher for young adult. Mobile phones, cars on finance, entertainment subscriptions.
My parents saved up and drive an old banger no such thing as Netflix now tv sky or mobile phones.
A trip to the pub on a Friday evening was there treat and that was it.

BarbarianMum Tue 23-Jan-18 10:18:32

<<And the reason many have been able to do nice holidays and things was because they were able to build savings because of much higher interest rates which we no longer have.>>

And the reason so many were unable to buy houses, or lost their homes, or were stuck in negative equity for years was because of the high, high interest rate (it was 12% when dh first got a mortgage, he's the first year generation X, not a baby boomer though).

And because of the high, high interest rate lots took out (were advised to take out) endowment mortgages that then bombed.

And there were no tuition fees but then hardly anyone got to go to university anyway.

Et al et al.

It's all swings and roundabouts really. Some things better, some things worse.

WaggyMama Tue 23-Jan-18 10:18:55

Well foreign travel and foods weren't around in the 70's so there wasn't the temptation. There were no mobile phones or Sky TV either.

You are right about saving for things. My parents saved rather than putting it on the 'visa' card. They definitely lived within their means.

Today there is an element of wanting things now and it is easy to get things now.

Some of the next generation do not prioritise saving pots or pensions. They do not value education or CPD.

Education is free, contraception is free, we have a fairly good transport system, we can better ourselves so why do the next generation seem worse off?

Camomila Tue 23-Jan-18 10:20:06

Hmm, I'm on the fence I think....
I agree with Shatnerswig about the house prices but also I think the opportunity to have a career has made life harder for women in some ways.

Lots of my friends didn't finish education till around 23/24 but at the same time 'You must have babies before 35 or else!'

Most of my millenial friends (my school yr are 29/30) and I are mums to babies and toddlers now. Almost all are working, about half of us are studying as well. I can only think of one friend that has an out of the house 'hobby'

That was a bit rambley, what i'm trying to say I guess is that things are probably equally difficult but in different ways.

BIWI Tue 23-Jan-18 10:20:52

Well foreign travel and foods weren't around in the 70's so there wasn't the temptation

I'll think you'll find that they were!

GiBlues Tue 23-Jan-18 10:24:35

It’s a lot earlier than being born around 2000

LeCroissant Tue 23-Jan-18 10:26:37

YANBU. Between 50 and 80 million people died in WW1 and around 60 million in WW2 - baby boomers were the generation coming out of that awful time. They got jobs easily because so many people had died and so many others were disabled/mentally unwell. The world was trying to get back on its feet after years of terrible destruction. So many people lost parents and grandparents or had relatives who were never the same after the war. Feeling envious of that time is absolutely bonkers - yes many did well financially but I'd imagine most of us nowadays wouldn't want to go through what they did in order to have the same thing. Parts of London, for example, were very cheap because they were bombsites - places where people had been blown up in their beds.

The NHS started in 1948 but even then it was common for children to die of measles, polio was still around, cancer was almost sure death, premature babies died, single mothers were outcasts, women were paid less as standard, racism was rife, etc etc.

It may be harder to get a house these days but wishing for 'the good old days' is just stupid.

caperberries Tue 23-Jan-18 10:26:49

Well foreign travel and foods weren't around in the 70's so there wasn't the temptation.


WaggyMama Tue 23-Jan-18 10:28:55

Gen Z, iGen, or Centennials: Born 1996 and later
Millennials or Gen Y: Born 1977 to 1995
Generation X: Born 1965 to 1976
Baby Boomers: Born 1946 to 1964
Traditionalists or Silent Generation: Born 1945 and before

lidoshuffle Tue 23-Jan-18 10:29:11

I find it very sad that society seems to be fracturing and this seems to be being encouraged (by the Daily Fail, say no more; but other sources too). Age, religion, north/south, brexiter/remainers etc etc all being set against each other.

sixteenapples Tue 23-Jan-18 10:30:06

YANBU and it annoys me to hear the same old rants.

Maybe when Millennials are sixty house prices will have dipped and peaked again. Maybe life will be far better for a millennial than for boomers now. Maybe there'll be cures for all sorts of things that blighted the lives of previous generations.

IVF means this generation do not have to simply accept childlessness as so many older women had to. Or domestic violence or corporal punishment at school or freezing houses or utter lack of opportunity and education.

The resentment is destructive.

CommonGrounds Tue 23-Jan-18 10:30:53

My house cost £5000 in 1970. A male teacher earned an a average of £1880 per year. My house was bought by a teacher in 1970 with a stay at home wife.

My house now costs £900,000. A teacher averages about £32,000 (22-34k range).

tillytrotter1 Tue 23-Jan-18 10:31:26

At last, something I feel qualified to comment on being 70 next month so a definite Baby Boomer!
It's not as clear as one or the other, I am very aware that I, as a very working class council house girl, was able to attend a grammar school and hence go into higher education for which I paid nothing and received a small living grant. However when we bought our first house, early 20s, we had no proper furniture other than a bed my Dad made from the Readers Digest DIY manual, a rickety sofa, a garden table and a second hand cooker, we rented a fridge. This was on the pay of two teachers but we had no debt, we never bought what we couldn't afford, very rarely ate out other than at friends' houses and never went on expensive holidays. At one point our mortgage was 17.5% and we were struggling.
The greatest difference that I see is in expectations, I hear people complaining about money yet they have a fairly new phone, spend money on buying coffee and lunch out each day, eat out often etc.. There isn't that period of 'making do', hate that phrase, while they get onto their feet, at one time when your child got their own home it was a chance to give them your old sofa and buy a new one, I can just imagine all the noses turning up!
I don't know who had it better, I would hate the pressures experienced by people now but at the time I hated the pressures on us too!

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