Millennial bashing

Millennial bashing

It’s always been this way – older generations mocking the younger generation – but maybe this time it’s different.  It’s certainly very public now anyhow.

Very few days go by without Boomers, let alone some members of Gen X (that’s my cohort), making fun of millennials – those born between the early 80s and the year 2000 (depending upon your source).

Common pokes and insults to millennials point to their sloth-like behaviour, they expect too much, and they feel various worlds are all conspiring against them.  Maybe that’s partly true depending upon your reference point.

Personally, I believe this collective group of minds has helped deliver a world of good that some folks might easily disregard:

  • They expect technology, products and serves to simply work intuitively. They demand customer-focus from the brands and companies they purchase products and services from.  This only makes too much sense.
  • They are a social generation. They are willing to collaborate and learn from each other, on demand. Why wouldn’t we want to rely on our family, friends, neighbours and communities to make our world a better place?  Again, another no-brainer.
  • They seem passionate, maybe better stated, rather defiant about their values. Certainly nothing wrong with that in my book; sticking to your guns; striving for adventure; charting your own path (as long as you are respectful to others in that process of course).

In recent years while following various (newer) personal finance and investing blogs, I’ve seen an increase in some form of millennial bashing.  I’ve often wondered why this happens and where does this hate-on come from?

Sure, some millennials are genuinely over the top when it comes to their expectations.  This includes some views about a right to own a home, drive newer cars, take vacations, have a good long-term job, hold a workplace pension (of some form), and the list goes on.  Yet other millennials are far more realistic.  They realize the economic climate has been working against them for many years now, including when their parents entered the workforce in their early 20s. (Most Gen Xers may recall a Common Sense Revolution that brought in massive provincial changes here in Ontario in the early to mid-1990s, some of them not very good with poor outcomes.)

For the first time in history, three generations want to actively stay in the workforce:  Boomers don’t want to leave; Gen X are fighting to stay and millennials just want to get in.  We’re working longer because we’re living longer – that’s not helping a younger generation succeed.  Beyond the desire for income stability, post-secondary education costs have been rising steadily ever since I got my first undergraduate degree 20 years ago.  Back then, my tuition was around $2,500 per school year.  The average tuition in Canada has increased to $6,571, with the cost depending on what program a student is enrolled in.  Housing costs, depending on where you live in Canada at least, can be literally through the roof.  I read the average price for a detached single-family home in Vancouver is now well over $1 million.  Toronto isn’t far behind that.  Ottawa single-family homes are approaching, on average, $500,000.

Mathematically, not everyone can be average or middle-class.  Millennials are working through these tough life lessons in real-time.

The whole “ah…kids these days” argument will always rage on – it’s not a new phenomenon – but the impacts are bigger and broader these days.  Millennials live in a very challenging employment and housing environment – but all is not lost.  Thanks to you we’re collectively more connected than ever before.  You’ve taught many of us, regardless of the generation, to take some risks when it comes to being entrepreneurial, passionate and creative about our craft.  Without you pushing and innovating our sharing economy wouldn’t be what it is it today.

Millennials, you have big challenges to overcome but many of you are very smart, possess great perseverance and are incredibly talented. With those attributes (and some good luck now and then in your future) I have little doubt you most of you will succeed in whatever you are striving for.  I’ll be watching.

What’s your take on millennials and their challenges?  What lessons learned would you share with this younger generation?

Mark Seed is the founder, editor and owner of My Own Advisor. As my own DIY financial advisor, I've grown our portfolio to over $500,000 - but there's more work to do! Our next big goal is to own a $1 million investment portfolio for an early retirement. Come follow my saving and investing journey by subscribing to my site. Delivered by Subscribe Here to My Own Advisor

46 Responses to "Millennial bashing"

  1. One of my favourite topics! If one is just teasing the Millennials, then fine. If we are being serious, then us Boomers should bear the brunt of most of the criticism. We will be the last generation that was handed a better life than we are handing off. The Greatest Generation set us up to do very well. Relative peace, prosperity and abundances of everything. In contrast, we are handing off a huge debt (and growing), a failing environment (and worsening), a relative lack of job opportunities (growing dimmer) and an extremely polarized community (getting worse). Boomers never paid our own way and we will likely decimate the health care system and personal care facilities over the next 20-30 years. Kinda embarrassing.

    I wish I could give some advice that was worth more than a bucket or warm spit but I can’t.

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    1. Nice honesty here Lloyd. ….”….a failing environment (and worsening), a relative lack of job opportunities (growing dimmer) and an extremely polarized community (getting worse).”

      It’s not good really is it for them? I hope to do my part as a Gen Xer (to help millennials) but there is only so much work any one person can do beyond some HUGE systemic issues.

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      1. Your generation took it in the ear even worse and will continue to suffer due to us. At least the millenials are young enough to have the hope that us Boomers will die off in the not too distant future loosening the strangle hold we seem to have on politicians.

        As you might remember I had originally intended to retire at 50 but due to family medical issues felt it necessary to stay until 55. One reason, albeit minor, for leaving at 50 was to vacate my position for someone younger. Even going at 55 my position was filled by an early 30 person. Many of us Boomers are hanging on for purely greed. Sure there are some that need to continue working but I believe that number is relatively small.

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  2. Interesting post Mark

    Llyod also made some great comments. It always depends on what side of the fence you look from. As millenials (i was born in 83) we have had alot of advantages. No real wars, the internet, any kinda food generally at any time. Investing is super easy and some points you pointed out mark.

    Obviously the lack of pensions, pollution, boomers pulling alot out of cpp (maybe even eliminating it all together) massive government debts will be a big concern going forward. But we see a rise up with the younger generation recently (especially kids against guns) showing that power in numbers can get results. Renewables are getting more and more momentum and awareness with issues is up because of social media.

    The biggest problem i have with millenials is the its not fair attitude. Lots of people whine and complain and think the rich get richer etc etc and that they can never be wealthy etc etc.

    Hopefully this will change. Just need more education. Time will tell.

    Cheers!

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  3. I think I technically would be considered a millennial (born in 83) however I hate the term – and really any grouping of people based on when they were born. Sure people in the same age group will have some things in common but there are so many different types of millenials, boomers, gen x, gen y etc – that I just hate the labeling and forcing people into a set of stereotypes.

    It is definitely interesting to think of how kids born in the 90s basically wouldn’t know a world without the internet – or cell phones everywhere. I was a teenager while that whole transition was happening…I remember my dad talking about how cell phones and internet are ruining everything – and kids dont socialize and debate because they just look everything up online (attacked it because it was foreign to him) now hes on facebook, instagram, facetiming etc..

    Each generation has its quirks, some good some bad – and same goes for people in each generation – there are some lazy ass baby boomers – and some lazy ass millennials, haha

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    1. I recall those same arguments by Boomers and Gen Xers – now as you say, it’s hard to find somebody without a social media account of some kind. Thanks for the comments.

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  4. My fellow boomers should not be casting stones. We were a generation that ate everything up in our wake. Education, good jobs and all the goodies our society saw fit to give us. Sure, we started out with ideals of a just society, anti war, anti racism and the like, but we soon left that arena to settle in to good corporate jobs and amassing wealth as quickly as we could, at any price. We drove more and more cars without concern to the environment, we covered our oceans and land with garbage, and when it wasn’t convenient anymore, we just tossed our families by the side so we could be happy…… No, I am not very proud of my generation. We have left the younger generation in a mess. I have faith that the millennials will correct many of our mistakes. They are the ones marching against guns, they seem to be more concerned with our environment. They may not change the world, they may save it. Good luck to them all.

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  5. This is an interesting topic. As a parent of a millennial I have been very aware of it for 30 years. Given that I am biased, but one major thing I’ve seen is the youth turnout at Remembrance Day events and honoring our veterans. The amount of support this group provides is awe inspiring; that may be due to anniversaries, and dying out of vets more in the news. They want stuff to work! All the flashing 12:00 lcd comments inserted here. Is thinking things should work in a way that makes them easy for everyone (including seniors) really a bad thing? The fact as most predict, this is the first generation that won’t be better off than their parents in most cases is something they should be upset about. There are some sloth-like folks out there that aren’t 20-somethings. There are people out there that feel entitled; again not only in this demographic. As I get older its easy to be a ‘hey kid get off my yard’ kind of person, but then I come around to the fact I’m in possession of a yard that didn’t cost me a million dollars. My parents complained about me, I complain about my kid and I’m sure my grandparents complained about their kids. I’m sure that goes back a long way.

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    1. Thanks Murray and that is very encouraging indeed…re: honouring our veterans.

      There are absolutely some sloth-like folks out there, as 20-somethings, but I can also say the same spoon-fed expectations occur with 40- and 50-somethings as well. I’ve never understood this myself but I have different values I guess. 😉

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  6. Certainly the kids today and even the previous generation seem brighter or smarter than we were but that’s probably due to TV and the Internet. There is much more information available and things are easier to learn about. Are they any wiser, no and why should we expect them to be. They are in the living and having fun age. We can look back and say they should be doing this, working towards whatever and be more respectful, but I can’t we were. I do feel kids in the 50’s & 60’s felt a bit more responsible and took things more seriously, but that may not be true. Having said the above, at some point people have to be responsible for themselves and make their own way in life. If they have supportive parents, not ones who are deep in debt and can’t control their own future, they have a better chance else good luck to the kids as their on their own.

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    1. I think the information age is definitely an enabler cannew.

      I do see where my parents generation was more structured, more family-oriented, but that’s changed – each family is different though. I only have my experiences to draw from the best…

      I’m very fortunate to have supporting parents who were there for me; continue to be there for me regardless of my goals or ambitions. This gave me drive at a younger age that continues to this day – even as my goals, needs, interests have changed with time (and rightly so). I don’t necessary see that same support provided to many younger kids these days – lack of time and capacity to support children manifests many problems I believe. Just my take.

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  7. Ok …

    So where to start here? Maybe with this short but humorous Youtube video.

    https://youtu.be/Uo0KjdDJr1c

    I really have to question where all this Baby Boomer guilt complex has come from. Because it nonsense to think we have destroyed anything for anyone. I found the pathetic use of children in the Parkland shooting incident for example for political gain to be simply disturbing and not at all enlightening or informative. Much like the the use of the gold star Khan family was used in Ms. Clintons campaign but with young people. Their props in a dirty game. For the one obviously coached child to say that their parents generation” F’d EVERYTHING up” and “they have to fix everything, that is simply laughable. If anything we have been coddling and wrapping our kids in such a stifling amount of bubble wrap that the first time they actually hear the word NO they can’t compute that.

    Many kids brought up in the last 30 years wouldn’t know personal responsibility if they tripped over it. No one teaches them this. They can’t even accept to lose a soccer game at school because it too stressful? Further proof of that is the ever increasing desire by younger people for the government to offer more and more free things and services through our taxes. In the long term this will not end well. As Boomers if we did anything wrong its voting in governments that offer us the most “free stuff”. That’s not a problem unique to Canada, by all means look outside our borders and see what has happened elsewhere once that balance tips.

    If you feel guilty and that you have made too much money, please just write a check and send as much as you feel you have to to the government to lessen that burden. To suggest a 50 year old “has to get out of the way” to make room for a younger person to take their job? What is that? Sure if you were employed in a government job with a DB pension that is paid by mostly private sector workers taxes, with an early retirement option by all means your set at 50 or 55. But for the vast majority of people, that’s not an option for them. And its certainly not due to greed… By the same token, if i suggested the world has less children, and we reduce the worlds population in this way, to fix our environmental problems, I would be attacked saying that’s a ludicrous option for a multitude of reasons.

    I disagree with most of these comments. My experiences with people over my lifetime are different then for others. Don’t get me wrong, some young people have impressed me, but I meet far too many that don’t. As sarcastically funny as the video i have posted here is, there is some truth in it. There is plenty more to say about this, I’m sure that if anyone replies to this, I’ll save them for those.

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    1. As I can’t find anyone else who made a reference to 50 years old and retiring so I guess that was aimed at me. Would you care to provide the exact place where I stated “has to get out of the way”? As you put it in quotes, that means you are accusing me of saying those exact words.

      I don’t care about your opinion, everyone can have one. I do care when people make shit up.

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      1. Oh I don’t know….

        ” One reason, albeit minor, for leaving at 50 was to vacate my position for someone younger.”

        Maybe you can explain this comment, it certainly seems to imply that. The wording seems to very specifically point to some leaving to let a younger person fill that position? Why can’t it just be “a person”? Have I read this incorrectly?

        If you don’t care about opinions, why would you post something on a comment board? They are constructed purposefully to share them. It’s the whole point of them actually. Turn the comments off + see how fast your subscribers leave.

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        1. “Have I read this incorrectly?”

          Yes , your reading comprehension is abysmal at best.

          My reasoning for retiring was personal, I was not telling others they had to do it, somehow (and it is beyond me how you did so) you inferred that I was instructing others to do so. Plus the “albeit minor” clearly states that it was not the most important reason. Retiring early opened up my position for the company to hire a new person and our company seldom hired older people.

          As for the “If you don’t care about opinions” part, it is clearly stated I do not care about your *opinion* versus the making shit up part. Not that it matters, but I disagreed with almost everything you wrote but only replied to the making shit up aspect because I respect the right of anyone to have an opinion.

          “see how fast your subscribers leave.”

          Again, lack of comprehension, I’m not the owner and have no subscribers.

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    2. Like you Paul, some kids impress me and others don’t. I don’t think that’s any different than looking across my cohort (Gen X).

      There is both nature and nurture here at play.

      As for leaving work/leaving full-time work, there are many reasons to do so and I believe folks are entitled to do what’s best for them as long as they are not hurting or harming others in the process. That’s just me of course.

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  8. Interesting topic that pulls out strong feelings on the subject, myself included. I apologize if I offend someone with what I write below. I don’t agree with all the generalities about the different generations and don’t condone bashing or ridiculing of any of them. There are wide variations between people in all generations – good, bad, smart, dumb, motivated or lazy and everything in between.

    I also strongly oppose the idea that one particular generation (boomers) should be in any way embarrased, that we have caused so many of the worlds problems and that we’re leaving the world in a mess, and there is no opportunity for the young generation because of us. This is absolutely absurd. I didn’t (and neither did others in my generation exclusively) advocate governments to blow their brains out on spending, or personally pollute the oceans, or get handed a good corporate job, or wreck the world because I drove a car to work and for some travel, or abuse or neglect indigenous people etc. I worked hard and studied hard, I saved and invested and live a life respecting others, and the environment we live in to the extent of what we now know and knew at the time, and so did my wife. I greatly appreciate being born in Canada with our incredible opportunities and what I was able to do with them. I moved out at 18 with nothing and with my folks on the other side of the country, and lived in dumps for years with furniture scrounged from peoples barns. As a boomer I am proud of what I have done and its the same for others I know in my sphere of aquaintances and friends of the same generation. I worked for 35 years always in a pay for performance role 55 hrs/week avg. and some of those years with my own corporation employing others, contributing a lot in taxes assisting others less fortunate and helping build the country.

    I don’t think my story is so unique and I think this is all still possible (millenials included) if a person really wants it. There are enormous employment opportunities now and in the near future – we have a well known shortage of people to work now and into the future. My wife and I built and moved into our first house costing 180K, 30 days after getting married in 1989 . The same nice home now would sell for $400-425K – 29 years later. A young couple at the same age now (30) working in many different areas of shortage – trades, nursing, IT, engineering etc could certainly afford to do the same thing we did decades ago. Not everyone lives in TO or VCR and its tiring and misleading to read of only the highest priced regions as models of how impossible it is for a young person to start out today.

    What I do see is the country is getting softer. Low interest/participation in anything physical, greater expecations of immediate gratification, people succumbing to marketing and blindly immersed into huge debt, greater expectation of government social expansions financed into the future rather than self reliance, a coddlng of others by our families and some institutions because some things might hurt a little or be a bit difficult, and a growing disconnect between wisely and carefully using resources we’re fortunate with for our economic gain vs. leaving this to other nations due to our own social and environmental dogma. The things I’ve listed aren’t particular to any one generation, and are things this boomer avoided – thankfully. My conscience as a boomer is crystal clear and guilt free. I wish the best for the millenials and all others, especially those who have the drive and initiative to use what they have and create a good life for themselves. Those who want to get ahead and will always be able to do so in this great country.

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    1. Exactly,

      Written much more succinctly then I could.

      My story is much like yours. Starting as a saver very early in life because I wanted to purchase something I had to save my allowance every week for to obtain. Then when I did my taxes the very first year I worked, I found out I had to send a check to the government?!? WTF? I then suddenly learned about RRSP’s at 18, and how I could get money back…. Never looked back since then.

      I’m in very good financial shape now, mostly due to making some smart choices and choosing certain sacrifices along the way. Also doing this on what one would consider a lower end pay scale. I’m proud of what I accomplished, and I’m not going to stand for, or agree with anyone who tries to pin some mythical guilt or privilege BS. on me or my generation. It’s a complete fabrication that so many seemed to have bought into. Emotion over facts. It seems many young people want to skip the working your way up the ladder part, and just want the keys to the corner office handed to them. .

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      1. I for one Paul, don’t want to skip working my way up the corporate ladder – I’ve worked hard to get to where I am but I can appreciate where you are coming from – some folks simply expect it.

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    2. As a Boomer you don’t need to apologize by any means…you have done well and you’re proud of what you have accomplished. There is nothing wrong with that.

      Where I struggle with some Boomer-takes against millennials or with my Gex X era is they can’t sympathize with younger generations and the changes they need to overcome. Some are very detached. Present company excluded of course since you seem very wise.

      It is tiring to read about how millennials aren’t “making it” in TO or VCR since that is not representative of the entire population. I do find it interesting to read about the social media war that seems to churn with this generation though, hence the post. It definitely wasn’t like that with Gen X – or maybe I’m getting older and don’t remember 🙂

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      1. Appreciate that Mark. We’ve done okay and are thankful to have been able to do so.

        It’s going to take the efforts of all it seems to help get the millenials moving forward better than some are. Hurling crap back and forth isn’t going to cut it. I have someone I would like to help but so far it’s a fools errand. Until someone wants it badly for themself it won’t work.

        I get it on your post. LOL on the older and don’t remember. That’s my generation! As you know I’m on a few of these finance blogs but that’s about it apart from some car, motorcycle ones that stay out of politics etc. So you do know someone that doesn’t have a social media acct. None here.

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  9. People in each generation started with 2 hands and a brain. Doesn’t matter when you were born. Use either to make money and if you want – go ahead and solve life’s problems while your at it. Each generation had it’s tough times and it’s challenges – get over it and live in the time that was granted to you. While your living – why not try to be successful and rich? Being a complainer, blamer or lazy – gets you the life you deserve!

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  10. There are numerous articles and books available showing the problems us Boomers caused and will continue to cause. I have no doubt that many individual Boomers did well and clearly some take umbrage to having their generation criticized for having caused (and will continue to cause) some societal problems.

    One interesting thing I noted is that the ones that defend the Boomers seem to be doing it by saying “I” a lot versus “we”. I do respect that stance as I too did very well, but I acknowledge a generational demographic is much larger than *me* and stand by the assertion that us Boomers as a group caused, and will cause, some very large problems. I have a lot of empathy for the generations following us.

    https://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/retirement/as-the-baby-boomers-retire-the-threat-of-intergenerational-inequality-looms/article27163694/

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    1. Honest Lloyd. I too feel very fortunate as a child of Boomer parents and although I haven’t reached my goals yet I am trying to do my part to help the younger generation.

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      1. As I said, this is a favourite topic. I do get a lot of flack at morning coffee when this subject comes up as well so I’m not surprised at the push back from my cohorts. As long as we can keep the conversation rational, most people come around to the point that us Boomers are going to put enormous strains on PCHs and the health care system overall.

        If one looks at the scourge of dementia/Alzheimer alone, due to our numbers we KNOW that we Boomers will need a LOT more special facilities than we currently have yet we are doing little about it. We know the problem is coming, we’re going to cause it, yet we seem to be hoping someone else (younger generations) will deal with it. More palliative care facilities are going to be needed. More home care, more pharmaceuticals, more hip/knee surgeries. These are all facts as certain as sunrise and sunset. Perhaps some increased efficiencies might ameliorate these issues to an extent, but are we willing to count on that? And do we wait until we have people bedded down in the hallways of the PCHs before we take action? This is what embarrasses me.

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    2. I respect your position however don’t agree with it. The attached article didn’t blame or make boomers exclusively responsible for slower growth ahead, or a general population that doesn’t care and take responsibility nearly as much about being healthy anymore , or for a government that won’t sensibly change OAS rules to something that’s sustainable that I did and will support. These aren’t boomer exclusive issues/causes. I agree there are strains on health care and it will grow due to more people aging. However how is this the fault of one generation? How does a person choose when to be born or take responsbility for a whole generation of people? Therefore my references to myself and I are intentional. We can all only truly speak and be responsible for ourselves. We can help others by setting a good example, offering advice, help and making good decisions which speaking for my wife and I – we pay our dues, we feel we helped make Canada a better place in many ways, we look after our healthy greatly. When we start educating and making people personaly and financially responsible for PREVENTABLE health issues is when we’ll start fixing the massive health care problem. In my family all of the millenials of working age are doing well- at least as much as we did, and I gave examples of why I think there is opportunity for the young generation. Is it harder now and into the future – only time will tell.

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      1. That article is but one of hundreds RB. Books as well.

        It isn’t a matter of placing “fault” so much as taking responsibility. I ought not have given that impression. And you are certainly correct in that these are not problems “exclusive” to our generation. But we have to acknowledge that due to our numbers, the problems are far beyond what the *norm* of any other generation was and we strained every component of society as we moved through them. There has never been a generation bulge like ours in relatively modern history. From the building of schools, to inflationary issues, to growth of government services, etc etc. One can overlay government spending/debt/interest rate charts onto a demographics chart and it is apparent that it is not a coincidence.

        We, as Boomers, seem to be constantly professing and advocating for responsibility. It is even mentioned several times in some of the comments. Well, perhaps we ought to take some responsible for the extraordinary costs we put on society in the past and will do so in the future. Our generation was/is a huge burden over and above what the *norm* was. You are correct in that we did not MAKE those decisions, but that does not alter the fact that it was done FOR our benefit. These costs were incurred for us, to kick those mortgaged expenses down the road for future generations is unfair if not downright irresponsible.

        Now the argument that we generated a LOT of economic growth and paid a LOT of taxes over our lifetimes has merit. Absolutely, no doubt about it. But when the costs are compared to the benefits, we have gotten a pretty sweet deal given that much of the debt incurred will not be repaid by us.

        Now I am not delusional enough (although I AM fairly delusional) to think for a minute that we Boomers will ever pay for all the costs that were, and will be, incurred for our benefit. But at least we might cut the generations behind us a little slack and maybe show a bit of humility as we (as a generation, not personally) slag them and hand them a crap sandwich.

        It all comes back to handing off to the next generation better than that which we were given. We missed that target.

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        1. Lloyd, to be clear there is no argument on there being a bulge in population due to more of us being born over a 20 year span. I worked with demographics for 22 years in my career. A key fact is we (boomers) didn’t cause this. Our parents (greatest generation) did. Does that make boomers largely responsible for the resulting issues? A lot of problem issues have been created by these things that were done also by another generation FOR US. Perhaps this may also be a burden to us boomers as we age as much as a benefit. As I’m sure you know there is now an even greater bulge with millenials and I’m thinking these children are born to both boomers and genX parents.

          Government debt gorging was started by none other than (the curiously adored) PET of the greatest generation leading to decades of pain afterwards. Of the last 50 years fed governments 1968 to 2018 ten (20%) of those years were led by a boomer (Harper) and a short few mnths stint by Campbell (a first year boomer). 37 years (74%) were led by the greatest generation, ~3 yrs led by a gen x(6%) now plunging us back unnecessarily into the debt abyss. Does all this make boomers responsible for the resulting issues? I have railed against this govt debt gorge ad nauseum for decades, even periodically in this blog (usually stopping before others get tired of me hopefully), lobbied my own MP, written to finance minister, voted against it when possible etc. It’s a waste of time as we have a greater number of voters (of several generations) that don’t care. What is embarrasing to me is how the general population (several generations) condones this by government, takes this same approach themselves and now we lead the world in per capita debt – (living beyond our means). History shows us this will not end well and debt/gdp is another way of avoiding saying we will never have a negative economy (ha) and keep building a bigger debt pile, with higher interest and never pay this off. Governments and citizens of several generations are guilty. When will it implode?

          As to boomers seniors benefits I guess I’ve yet (fortunately) not reached the point to taking much advantage. Not yet eligible for CPP or OAS etc and my health has been good. It remains to be seen how that all goes in the years/decades to come. I would welcome changes that are responsible and make all vital social programs truly sustainable even if it cost our family. A shame we’re going backwards with this now. Interesting but I wonder how many obese boomers you knew when you were 10 or 15 or 25 years old? I can think of one of hundreds. Maybe you’re right on that one that many of the parents of todays kids (boomers and genx) should be doing a lot better getting them active and eating much better. That’s definitely an embarrasement and poor health has enormous costs to work productivity, happiness and health care. Being sedentary and eating poorly is hurting the country and going to cost us incredibly over time. It’s a crisis and few care.

          The debt the nation has was created mostly by governments led by the generation that created the bulge (greatest) for the benefit (or burden) of all existing and future generations, not solely the next generation. Similar to how boomers aren’t responsible only for the next generation (genx) and not millenials. There will be and is taking place the biggest transfer of wealth in our history from boomers to their children/grandchildren and to charities, and governments due to registered accts. This is hopefully a blessing and silver lining.

          There is agreement from me that slagging any generation isn’t right. I recognize there are some unique challenges for millenials however there are also some flaws in that from within. However that also means looking critically and realizing boomers as a group need not be embarrased for being born when they were, and striving for a better life.

          If boomers missed the target its pretty clear it’s continuing by other generations at a similar pace – massive govt and personal overspending, increased demands for every social spend one can think of, decreased focus on business and growing the economy vs. social crusades/anti business attacks even by govt, increasing size of public service with benefits (growing unfair haves/have nots) many with massive unfunded liabilities, ill thought out policies like huge subsidies and heavy promotion for electric cars that taxpayers pay for along with road construction and maintenance costs through gas taxes, that electric auto and scooter drivers avoid while using the infrastructure.

          Therefore it is my contention that we (boomers exclusively) aren’t handing a crap sandwich to anyone. Mark is a great example of the NEXT generation parented by a boomer. We can do better but the target is being missed by numerous generations.

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          1. “Government debt gorging” & “A lot of problem issues have been created by these things that were done also by another generation FOR US.”

            This here is *exactly* what I’m talking about. A large portion of that debt was incurred to raise us Boomers and provide the services needed through the stages of our lives (it had to be done in most cases). Yes, Boomers may have not written the initial cheques (borrow the money) when we were younger but it was done *because* of us and *for* us. Our parents could not have possibly paid for all the services needed so money was borrowed in the expectation that economic growth as us Boomers entered the workforce would pay it back. And we almost got there but politics reared its ugly head and Canadians decided to forego paying our debts for current gratification.

            Which generation the PM came from is not really relevant as any PM is first and foremost a politician and most often their primary goal is to get/remain in power. I too have written letters (emails these days) to finance ministers my first one being Michael Wilson. We share very similar views on government action or rather inaction. Politicians have pandered to the Boomers as they realized we are a large demographic, t’was ever thus.

            I also get the health issues of which you speak. It wasn’t really what I was referring to but yes we are sometimes our own worst enemy.

            Having said all that, I suppose we will just have to agree to disagree on taking responsibility. Interesting that most of the coffee *meetings* end that way as well.

          2. Thanks for taking the time to explain things Lloyd. I think we have some comonalities on this but obviously some real differences of opinion too. I’m sure much of this comes from our own personal experience and framework.
            I am admittedly a stickler on personal responsibility. It has been far from a straight line easy road for me, where I had to be very resilient and self directed. I’d rather have a much smaller government that simply leaves us all with more of our money. Society is going the other way and I’m a dinosaur in that regard. I find it rather sad and frustrating so many want so much NOW and can’t seem to see the future price for all. It’s ironic to me this continues and seems to worsen with subsequent generations. Governments are masters of pandering to all of this rather than making tough decisions, truly in our best interests.

            If I was still living in the peg we’d be able to solve the worlds problems and hash this over in person with a coffee.

            Have a great day.

  11. As a gen xer, I am just tired about hearing about the millenials.It is like we are invisible. I really feel like as a generation we are undefined. Although note the virtually complete lack of whining in Mark’s blog, very distinct from millenials. Sorry i couldn’t resist the dig. I believe every generation has their own challenges. The high mortgage rates in the 80s come to mind. Mark, i challenge you to write a blog post about the challenges and accomplishments of your own generation.

    Reply
    1. Thank you Christina! I read the article and was thinking the very same thing. It’s like the Gen-Xers are a slight blip on the radar and now we’ve been completely left out in favour of either bashing millennials or feeling sorry for them, sometimes both. I second the call for a post about Gen-X, please.

      Reply
  12. Each generation will have its unique challenges. Like many folks from earlier comments, I am 50+. The current young generation is facing, in my opinion, tougher challenges finding well paying full time work, an affordable home to rent or own, and starting a family (and yes, we are one of those families living in Greater Vancouver – please note that greater Toronto & greater Vancouver represent nearly 1/3rd of Canadians).
    A UBC professor and many other studies have put together some hard data demonstrating it is indeed a tougher environment for younger folks to get ahead. Further information can be found here https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/stop-pretending-seniors-are-financial-victims-and-help-the-twentysomethings/article20755671/ and https://www.gensqueeze.ca/ (currently performing maintenance on server but should be back in a while). Becoming more knowledgeable about the struggle of young Canadians can only help.
    It feels unnatural to me that many of our children cannot afford to move out and start families in their twenties / early thirties. Am I alone?

    Reply
    1. “It feels unnatural to me that many of our children cannot afford to move out and start families in their twenties / early thirties. Am I alone?”

      Absolutely not. Without a decent job, I feel millennials are at a major disadvantage.

      Reply
  13. I think millennials have a lot of difficulties that previous generations didn’t. Housing and rent is ridiculously expensive nowadays. Competition is much more fierce than it used to be (it’s hard to find a decent job without a college degree anymore). Student loans have exploded.

    Reply

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