Just because one generation did it, it doesn’t mean we can do the same thing all over again. Times have changed – massively – and we need to do things differently.
Maybe I’m having one of those really grumpy moments? Perhaps I’ve had too much sun? It’s not often I get overly annoyed with things. I understand people have different opinions, have been raised differently and have views that no doubt don’t match mine.
Maybe it’s just people don’t realise this the other way. There are people who can be quite judgemental on how the younger generation live, which may just be down to not having an understanding of what it’s like to “grow up” in the 2000s and beyond.
Things that happened years ago are just not relevant today and gripes people have just don’t ring true with how the world is now.
Time is very testing and the older I get, the more I see that my generation has been dealt a rough hand.
It’s very likely that each generation has said the same thing at some point, and I totally get that my kids/(potential) grandkids/great grandkids are going to moan about my generation messing everything up for them as well.
Just cause you did it, doesn’t mean I can
However, while stuff has changed, there are some people (please note: I said “some”, I am not aiming this at anyone in particular or at a whole generation, this is merely at a few) who haven’t realised times are a changing!
The history of money, finances and how to deal with things needs to stay as history. We can use it as lessons and can understand what other generations did, but it needs to stop being used as the bar for how we should be living our lives today.
Things have really evolved and we need to find ways to deal with all the new variations in our own way, using new technologies and the dodgy hand we’ve been left with.
While this may seem like a bit of a rant, I hope it will also be useful to a few people from other generations who may not realise this is why things are so different when you do adulting today.
Here are some of the things I’ve heard (some) people say that just don’t make sense to the generations of today.
“I bought a house when I was 18. Why haven’t you?”
The housing market is a big bugbear of mine.
Paying through the teeth for private rent, not enough social housing and house prices that make you want to cry!
You can pay more than half your salary out in rent each month, so have nothing spare to save for a house deposit. On the flip side, if you had a mortgage you’d be better off as the payments would be less than rent. When will mortgage lenders start to loosen up a bit more about this?
I am in my mid (ish) 30s and don’t own my own home. I am not going to be the only one.
I heard someone the other day say, at 22, they’d left it too late to buy a house. Poor thing was quite upset by it, only then realising when all the other people stepped forward letting her know she wasn’t in the boat alone.
This is just a proof of how different things are….
House prices have zoomed up. Some generations have pocketed – a lot – from the housing boom, just because they were alive when it happened. Today, we are not so lucky.
I found that house prices in my post code have increased by 290.34% in the last 20 years! In real terms, that’s a hike of £196,751.
You could buy a house years back for the same as an average UK salary today (some houses were less!). Whereas now a 3 bed house can be 10 times the average UK salary!
Things have got a WHOLE lot more expensive, wages have not risen at the same rate.
Buying a house way back when you were 18 was cheap, possible, achievable. It is nothing like that now.
“A mobile phone is a luxury. You should get rid of it.”
I had my first mobile at the age of around 15. I was so chuffed when I unwrapped it for Christmas. It could make calls, send text messages and it had Snake. Snake! I loved Snake!!
Fast forward a few (ish) years later and phones are vastly different. Mine is almost my life and it holds my dairy, my communication, my business and endless memories/photos /videos of my family.
Back in the day, a mobile wasn’t even thought of. Kids would go out, be back when the streetlights flickered on and if you needed to call home you used a payphone. If you wanted to speak to your mate, you called them on the landline or walked to their house.
Today, talking is a thing of the past, instead you can tweet a Hollywood A-lister and you SnapChat your friend. Phones are just a normal part of living.
Yes, phones CAN be expensive, but a smartphone can actually be quite cheap to run.
They are also a necessity for many people. It’s not just about having a flash phone to keep up with the Joneses or playing games. A phone unlocks a whole world.
Most government services are now online. This means you need a home computer/laptop (which are even more expensive than a phone) or you need to head out to a library (which costs money on transport each visit).
For someone who claims benefits, being able to get online regualry is a must.
Also, having access the internet makes sure your bills stay down.
Paperless billing gives you a discount on most utilities, you can manage your finances via apps and online and you can hunt for better deals and switch, saving you money too.
Having a phone today is no longer the luxury it was, even 10 years ago.
“We never went on a foreign holiday, so you shouldn’t.”
If you were born before a certain time then you most probably wouldn’t have done. A nice family trip to the south coast might have been your summer holiday.
However, your generations before you – did they go on holiday at all?
Times change, and with the growth of air travel, taking a trip abroad can actually be quite cheap.
Grabbing a flight to Amsterdam can cost you less than £30 return – it’d likely cost more than that to get a train to Bognor!
While a staycation may sometimes work out cost effective, and many families love them, it can sometimes work out cheaper to take a last minute package holiday to a sunny island off the coast of Spain.
But, to be honest, not everyone goes on a foreign holiday now. It’s just a perception that everyone does.
“We didn’t get in so much debt, why have you?”
Credit cards may be a relatively new thing, even though, today, they just seem like a normal thing to keep in your purse.
In the 1970s, credit cards and getting into consumer debt became a booming thing. Revolving credit (not having to pay it all back in one go) became popular with people getting into mass amounts of debt for the first time.
So, for these people having kids, they likely didn’t get a good education about credit, as it was newish and not well known. They would have got in debt too, passing it down to their own kids. The debt traps many find themselves in today.
The trouble with today is there’s a whole lot more stuff you can use your credit on.
With shops shutting at 5pm, not opening on a Sunday and closing early on a Wednesday, the chances to spend money were slim years back.
But today, everywhere you look, you can buy something. A pop up on the side of a social media site, shops open 24 hours a day and adverts on TV selling the greatest mop you’ll ever own.
The temptation and ease of spending money in the 21st century is far easier than it has ever been. Chuck in contactless payments, and other future tech that we just don’t know of yet, and parting with your money will no doubt get even easier.
It’s not just a credit card either.
Things have tightened over the years and they won’t give low interest credit to anyone.
Knowing there was a gap, companies popped up with new products to help (or hinder!)
This means, if you’re in a fix, you end up going to higher end credit with a store card, payday loan or horrible rent-to-own products.
Life today is different, and it will change again. Just because someone was able to live one way a few years back doesn’t mean it is the same now.
We all need to understand that this world, and the way we live in it, is evolving. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing…? We’ll probably never know.
Read next: 15 Simple Lessons Learnt From Being in Debt
Naomi knows the burden of living on very little and became debt free by learning from past mistakes and following her own money saving tips and tricks.