Live long and prosper: are we really making it harder for the younger generations? 434



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Us baby boomers had a hard life growing up: we didn’t really have that much and our parents did their best to provide for us during hard times. Most of that seems to have eased now with younger generations able to provide more for their families…but is that really the reality?

According to research from The Grattan Institute, baby boomers are taking a greater share of the country’s money, to the detriment of the younger generations. This may be hard to believe given that those on a pensions can barely get over the line every week, but a conclusive report, entitled The Wealth of Generations has shown that the average 65 to 74-year-old was $215,000 richer in real terms in 2011-12 than a household of that age in 2003-04. An average 35 to 44-year-old household was only $80,000 richer.

While this may seem irrelevant – prices fluctuate, there’s inflation, everything’s relative – what is actually worrying is that for the first time, our grandchildren may actually have a poorer standard of living to us and their parents, as a result of the government subsidies we receive.

Some may argue that younger generations may have their HECS debt paid for them, and most are living at home longer, but on the contrary: they have the repay their debt once they earn $52,000 a year (whereas university education was free 25 years ago) and the longer they stay at home, the more support their parents need and the less they are spending on a mortgage or other investments that we had at their age. Despite the obvious fact that our grandchildren or young adult children may have saved more than we could have at 25, they still are worse off.

The CEO of the Grattan Institute, John Daley told The New Daily that older Australians “are definitely getting wealthy at the expense of the young”. But do we feel like this, truly?

To be fair, we were lucky to be part of the property market boom in the previous 30 years – houses were a fraction of what they cost now and if we bought them years ago, there’s no doubt their value now would eclipse the initial price. Our children and grandchildren haven’t been so fortunate – they are being forced to rent or take out enormous mortgages (that may never have the same return on investment as we had). Is that really our fault? We couldn’t have foreseen that and we certainly shouldn’t be blamed for it, right? Well, Mr Daly believes, “Baby boomers are entitled to sell their homes for whatever the market will bear, so I don’t think we can blame them…But very rapid rises in house prices have been a windfall for baby boomers that younger generations are ultimately paying for.

Another reason why we are allegedly sucking money from our younger counterparts is that we take advantage of superannuation tax concessions. So what can we do as the older generation? The Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) chief executive Jan Owen described the report as “a wake-up call”, and said Australia must include both young and old in the national economic debate – i.e. stop thinking about just ourselves and instead think about the implications on who we may leave behind.


This is certainly food for thought…what is your opinion? Are we really to blame for our grandchildren’s money issues? Tell us what you think below.

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  1. We had 17percent interest rates ,no baby bonus very little government support stayed home with our kids in the early years of their life and made do. We bought second hand furniture if we couldn’t afford new, no credit cards to max up and,gee, now it,s our fault they are doing it hard!! Give me a break!!

    24 REPLY
    • And our taxes weren’t as high there was jobs for everyone. We grew our own food, farmers were prosperous. Pubs closed at 10 pm. No pokies. Our skies were clear, our water was clean, our plants healthy. Never heard of drugs, doctors was once a year, dentists too. Schools educated us and sports were fun. Yep we are the blame all right. We had fun.

    • Well I’m not even going to take responsibility for that either. I was a single mum with three kids. I was never afraid to say No, they certainly weren’t indulged, I didn’t have the money. When the 17 year old decided she would live in my house her way I sorted that out. When she went as she though above my head to centrelink, think it was called social security then, I was called in. The social worker advised me that they would pay my child to live out of home. Weren’t they nice. However, they preferred parents take full respect ndibikit you for their children until the child turns 21.

      Now, what did I want for my 17 year old in order for them to stay at home. Go to school or go to work, their choice. No, they could not stay out all night, or sleep all day, then go hanging out in the streets with their friends.

      What did social security want. For her to do what she liked.

      I asked them if them about the money they were prepared to give her to live out of home and walk the streets. Did they just hand it over because I wasn’t backing down on the work or school thing

      His response, no, she will have to look for work. But you don’t want her on the system.

      My response, yes I do. You can make her look for work, you can withhold her payments if she doesn’t. I don’t have that power. And I’m never going to allow her to sleep all day, go out all night, refuse to go to school or work while I support her in that lifestyle. So do what you like. With that I stood up to leave. My daughter and the social worker were speechless. My daughter got up and followed me out.

      So blame some parents, but absolutely not all parents. Some of us put in the effort and some of us raised productive, independent members of society. For the spoilt, over indulged little prince and princesses out there you can blame some parents, but you can certainly blame the government for each and every child they handed money to.

    • oh sooooooo true….Spoilt brats with no idea what to do now that mummy and daddy aren’t there!!!!!!

    • So very true, Michaelandorothey – nearly spot on, those of who HAD to raise the family on our own, had to go out to work and more than one job a day for a fair while. Made it, didn’t we?? … and when young we drank cows milk straight from the cow….WOW

    • We had 3 mortgages for our first tiny house, then up to 17% interest on our second. Worked around the children, no child care then. The fact that we can travel in our caravan with no debts is absolutely up to hard work & doing without over a long period of time. This generation of children are being spoilt with everything on a plate & expecting too many handouts. Some thank goodness are working hard towards making a good life for themselves.

    • We, the boomers.. have been used and abused, it was all fine and fantastic when we worked and paid taxes, and when we helped build this country and got many of the rights we have today.. but since this Abbott Government came into power we are nothing but leaners and are being kicked to the curb

    • I was a single parent too because of the infidility of partner and my kids maintance was a joke $1.50 a day for each (Ihad 2 children). Both did sport at school, school camps, music camp for daughter, ballet and other dance, entertainment always had food and clothes no handout for other things $40.00 a month child endowement Both went to year 12 had their formals both went on to have their won businesses and have always worked full time. They knew that while they lived uinder my roof and until they were 18 I made the rules and Yes now and again we had hick ups but they turned out beautiful adults with beautiful families. I was blessed I know. Sorry young adults need to wake up to themselves and see where their money goes and then maybe they would be able to afford a better life and things courstey of themselves not others.

    • Well said Margaret Peluso We also struggled when raising our five children & they are all hard working responsible productive adults We are 63 & 65 Still both working & still paying a mortgage & paying off solar panels Certainly not well off ourselves

    • At what time do these young people FINALLY stand up & take ownership of their own decisions. We didn’t exactly have it laid out on a plate for us when we were young.

      If you want something get out there, get a job, make compromises until you have saved up for what you want. Why is it up to us Baby oomers or parents for that matter to make it easy for them. They are now adults aren’t they? So be an adult, stand up for what YOU want out of life. Stop expecting everyone else to give it to you.

    • Actually I’m thinking it was 18% interest from the jesting (labor) government when we were beginning to lose our houses…

      I don’t know where all these crazy ideas come from re baby boomers being to “blame” perhaps we could be to blame for making them too comfortable at home after wanting our kids to be better off than when we we growing up… I think a lot of kids are just too lazy but the majority get out and get jobs and are making their way in society…

  2. No I don’t feel responsible, the Boomers have become the scape goats of this country.. kick em while they are old mentality

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    • Leanna, I agree! Also, in recent times, I’ve noticed SOME younger folk treat me with a lack of acknowledgment and respect.

      For instance, late yesterday afternoon, in Upwey, Vic., a young (Tradie?) in a small tray-truck, barely stopped for me to use a crossing outside the supermarket. I was carrying two fairly heavy bags in each hand, but was not dawdling! And, NO, I never just barge out, but always carefully look each way, first.

      I hadn’t even finished crossing in front of the tray-truck, when the driver started revving and impatiently inching forward, albeit slowly!

      I STOPPED, made definite eye contact, and asked him just what he thought he was doing! I was promptly verbally derided,
      but I was FURIOUS and suggested he learn the road rules properly! That went down well, so, as he passed behind me, giving me some choice words, I actually called him a MORON. Wouldn’t normally say THAT! Just fed-up with his lack of respect.

      An elderly man (well, maybe more so than I am), who crossed behind me but had waited for the tray-truck to pass first, just shook his head and muttered something about the stupidity of the driver, similar to what I’d said!

      There are two pedestrian crossings in Main Street, UPWEY, and I, and many others, have had several close shaves at them, mostly attributable to young drivers (of both sexes), but for the complete diligence we, ourselves, have shown before our first actual step!

  3. Research and the figures that arise always throws up some thought provoking opinions. In this case the figures indicate and the writer seems to intimate that Baby Boomers may be sucking money out of the economy and thereby cause a lower standard of living for our grandchildren. That is the problem with this type of research; the outcomes and conclusions are based on figures sourced from surveys that represent a small part of the overall picture. I wonder how many people where involved in this research and was it enough to reach such a conclusion?
    As for being to blame for the money issues of our grandchildren and subsequent generations; I think not and even if I am then little sleep will be lost.

  4. Hell what next will they blame us for? We started work at a young age, we got no benefits, no austudy or anything else I can even remember when we had no medicare, when I had my son I got $2.00 every 3 months endowment, unlike the gravy train these kids have today. We had sheets for curtains and sat on boxes, these kids today want it all NOW. No I don’t feel responsible for this

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    • Wet blankets in the doorways and windows for air conditioning… Long drop 20 metres from the house, full of spiders..cry me a river!!!

    • There was a young lady a while back (quite a while back) being interviewed by one of the Willisees, she was so poor on her single mum benefits that the baby had to sleep in the box that the colour TV came in.

    • pay more taxes Henry Doering then you won’t have to cry a river.. but if you do..don’t look at Abbott.. his canoe has lost its paddles while rowing up chit creek !!

    • Libbi I recall everything you mentioned that was my life too, no extras and waited till we could afford to buy something we needed not wanted. I also had 5 kids, and their needs always came first, but it was happy times.

    • I can remember using big carton boxes and putting a cloth over them for a bedside table too and not having floor coverings until we could afford them. 🙂 You know, it makes me smile when I think back to those days. One telly, one car, we sat at the table to eat, we read books to the kids and helped them to learn to ride their bikes and we baked for the week and had a vegetable patch. I had the Vacola set and bottled up fruit and made jams, chutneys and our own tomato sauce. Actually, I miss those days. No telemarketers pestering us every five minutes, no emails piling up the work in the office, getting hand written letters from friends and sometimes with photos inside, post cards, sewing clothes for myself and the kids and knitting their jumpers and cardigans. A slower pace of life and not so materialistic. We communicated face to face, knew our neighbours and would get each other’s washing off the line if it was going to rain and the other was not home. I would make a casserole for a sick neighbour and the favour would be returned. Yes, we were a shocking lot, the bane of society apparently. Grrrrrrr to the government.

    • And we didn’t put everything on credit card we saved for what we had ….yes we were paying 17% I net rest on our home loan as well with one labourers wage and 3 children

  5. The only thing we are all guilty of, including our crappy governments is creating a generation of…..Give Me give me want want and then some more !!

  6. I wonder who will get the blame when we have all gone?? I guess we will go down in history as the ones that ruined Australia, that is exactly what they are trying to say to us right now!!! When will people start taking RESPONSIBILITY for their own stuff ups……..

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  7. The only thing some of us could be guilty of is raising a generation of spoilt brats who won’t get out and make a life of their own like we did. I have witnessed so much of this happening, it worries me about the future of this country (as well as our governments stuffing up).

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  8. No I don’t feel responsible because I’m not responsible. I taught my kids to manage money. They grew up, left home, got married and now they do what we all had to do when we were young….work it out, go without, prioritise. That’s life.

    This is Tony Abbotts style though isn’t it.

    In a little over 12 months he has rich against poor, poor against rich, Muslim against Christian, Christian against Muslim, young against old, old against young, employed against unemployed, now children against parents.

    Guess he’s drumming up business for his church. You know the Catholic Church to whom he is paying massive amounts via the $200 counselling allowance he’s handing out. Not to forget the 8 year university course catholic priests have to do to become priests, and the cost of them living in the seminary. He wants the taxpayers to fund that as well.

    We have no money for the working class, but plenty for the church. Well, his church.

    He is just like every other dictator throughout history. This man is not fit for the job. The liberal party are no better because they have the power to get him out today. They choose not to.

    16 REPLY
    • No no no no…. Tony Abbot only been in power a year…. This destruction has been coming for a long time… He doesn’t put Christians against Muslims. Unemployed against employed…. Etc etc… Come on can’t blame a human for that one…. It is Satanic. Christians have walked down wrong path also…..

    • I am not responsible for voting Abbott in, he never got my vote, they need to get onto these rich retiree’s that come in here bragging and look down their noses at them more

    • Yes, go on blame Abbott for the bad weather too! Is there some grey mass missing between the ears people?

    • Jana Soumar you can be as rude as you like but that will not change anyone’s opinion or vote..we are judging this Government on actions

    • Why Libbi Elliot? The government is trying to get our debt down from the last governments mismanagement. The mentality of a lot of you people is, if the government aren’t giving us something for nothing, they are not a good government. As for you Leanna face it people voted Abbott in because they we sick of a Labour Government. We are not rich retirees either I can tell you. We are living within our means as we always have. My husband still does part time work

    • mike here-agree Leanna, but do the words cats & pigeons mean anything? And yes, Jana we can blme abbott for the weather as he removed the only effort we were making towards cleaner air.

    • Molly Holland The Liberal Party got elected on preferences.. watch the next election and and I bet you see a big change in how people vote.. If Abbott had been honest when he said he would call a DD , the Liberal Party would not be in Government now..but once again he lied


    • How angry ABBOTT supporters are. Nasty, vicious angry self righteous. Guess it’s no surprise they’ve voted with someone they associate with. We get accused of blaming precious little Tony for everything. While his supporters think everyone on struggle street deserves to be there, it’s THEIR fault. Sometimes life dishes out tough cards, not everyone doing it tough is a no hoper. But it’s ok for ABBOTT and his supporters to blame them. Not ok for us to blame big ears for destroying this country in a little over 12 months. And you guys think it’s the rest of us with nothing between our ears. LOL.

    • He lies about everything Molly. What makes you think he hasn’t lied about the debt. After all Hockey gave a speech in NZ and said our economy was in great shape. There is a lie in there somewhere.

    • If churches & mining companies etc were taxed appropriately our whole society would be better off & no whisper of the alleged “debt” that “Hockey” lied about. There would be free education & healthcare & scientific research.

    • True Bronwen, and while we are drowning in labor debt ABBOTT wants to give more money to the Catholic Church TO TRAIN PRIESTS. An 8 year uni course, plus the cost of living in the seminary. If we are in debt, that money would be better of paying the debt surely. What about the money for chaplains in schools, for counselling, of which the Catholic Church is a huge provider. Plenty of money in the kitty to give to the church, just none for the people.

    • Research what irreversible damage Hawke (LABOR), did to this country, the inflation, the union corruption, the crippling interest rates and the introduction of taxes, and more taxes WE, the middle income earners, had to pay which made some babyboomers and their offspring more reliant and slaves of govt. handouts, many lost their homes and farmers walked of the land in droves.
      Trouble is people have short memories. Dementia maybe?
      Over 60’s should know better, stop blaming government and start taking a good hard look at yourselves and how you raised your kids. We should ALL take responsibility.
      Global government is almost upon us, and what are you doing? whinging like self righteous uninformed dorks.
      Abbott is NOT responsible for your happy or miserables lives. Our governments, at least since the war, have been nothing more than puppets to the one end …. the United Nations and One World government. First globalise the media, Instil fear – warming(a big lie), terrorism. Divide and conquer.
      Yes, our grandchildren will live in a horrid world, those who survive.
      So do some research, google “the Seeds of Death” to begin with, and maybe a productive seed will form in your brains that will make you research more on what is REALLY happening around us.
      Then start fighting tooth and nail for your grandchildren’s future.

  9. I agree with all the above ,give us a break I have worked hard all my life ,as most of the baby boomers have .Let the generation of today take responsibility for their lives and stop getting hand outs and expect everything to be handed to them

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