Who is Lucky & Who is Damned? Discuss!
By Charlotte Davis
I have a diverse range of friends when it comes to age. When I look at who I would choose to go for an after hours beer with out of my colleagues the age range is from mid-twenties up to early 50s. On reflection, I think a lot of this is down to having entered the workplace part time at the age of 14. As an employee there were the same expectations of me as the older members of staff. I entered an environment where there was not a division between children and adults, we all worked together as a team and I found myself becoming more comfortable making friends for the first time outside my immediate age group.
Now older friends are a welcome refuge from my increasingly narcissistic peers (thanks social media), who consider themselves open minded yet seemingly struggle with anyone who doesn’t think / do the same as them, whether it be marriage, babies, or politics. It is my older friends who seem more comfortable and supportive of some of my more alternative life choices. My peers seem insecure, desperately seeking validation through their friends making the same life choices as them, while my older friends have the benefit of wisdom on their side. They’ve experienced life choices work out differently for different people, the world is less black and white for them and I appreciate this as well as taking comfort from their reassurances about life or the state of the world that I don’t get from my peers.
However, inter-generational inequality is in danger of driving a huge wedge between the generations due in part to the insanity of the UK housing market. Anecdotal comments about interest rates in the 80s and a general attitude of ‘it was just as hard then as it is now’ simply ignore facts and are disrespectful to a group of people already laden with debt for something boomers enjoyed for free. Millennials, (classed as those born between 1981 and 2000) are half as likely to own a home at the age of 30 as boomers because of higher prices, low earnings growth and tighter credit rules. In the 1980s it would have taken a typical household in their late 20s around three years to save for an average-sized deposit. It would now take 19 years, the analysis shows[i]. Boomers can moan about holidays abroad and too many avocados until they are blue in the face, but these hard facts cannot be ignored. There is no easy solution to this problem. Boomers have been sold the dream of a retirement of cruises and general good living. The decline of final salary pensions and poor performing private pensions mean that the property market has become how this retirement dream is achievable. Boomers will be the first generation to leave the next worse off than those before them[ii]. I am at a loss for solutions myself, so I’d be interested to hear from boomers who are concerned about this grim legacy rather than the inter-generational mudslinging of the Guardian comments section which make for quite a depressing take on the situation. Social mobility is in complete free fall because of this toxic housing market[iii] and I don’t think this aligns with many of the values that the boomers have fought for over the decades. I would really like to know what other’s think!
A new contributor to the Goldie No Limits Magazine; Charlotte is 34 years old and lives in London working for an International NGO . A languages graduate, Charlotte has lived in Spain and Mexico and through working in the field of International Development also travels for work mainly to East Africa and Asia.
She will be writing a “From Our Own Correspondent” article for the print version of our magazine, on her observations of how cross-generational relationships work to help and support one another in the third world countries she has visited.