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to suggest we are not all LIVING LONGER

(16 Posts)
mollie65 Thu 09-Oct-14 15:56:27

this was an interesting thread on AIBU in Mumsnet
seen from the persepecitve of the 'young' it is always trotted out that we 'baby boomers' are a burden and living too long and, of course costing the NHS far too much.
once we are retired it is unlikely that we all will enjoy 20 or 30 years of idle retirement free of pain, needs and the rest although that is often the view expressed by the young who think we are on 'two cruises a year' and living lives of leisure.
life expectancy is dependent on variables such as geographic location, lifestyle, family history, life's work and pure chance. To lump everyone in with the idea 'you are all living longer and costing us too much' as a reason to call for less money to be spent on the old (who may well be vulnerable) is not the sign of a caring society.

absentgrandma Thu 09-Oct-14 16:21:53

I do think today's younger generation have a point. We did have it good. And we don't do too badly now.... We (me and OH) only have the basic state pensions to live on through a series of wrong decisions on our part, but in the sixties and seventies .. boy did we enjoy ourselveswink.
So, we haven't got a lot now... no cruises (wild horses wouldn't get me on one, even if I won the lottery!) and no long haul holidays (there's too much to see in Europe to put up with being stuffed in a flying cattle pen for 18 hours), but I feel guilty when I see how my DDs generation struggle just to make ends meet, while working like hamsters on a wheel. And they haven't even saddled themselves with a huge mortgage.

Our generation 'never had it so good'. We were proflagate (prob.not spelt right) and devil-may-care. Our children don't have that delightful option.

As for not being able to enjoy our retirement I'm sure many more of us do enjoy good health and we have a lot brighter prospect for good health with modern technology. My Mum used to announced a relative had cancer (said in a whisper) like a death sentence. I'm surprised she didn't put on a black cap to utter the words!

Now I'm almost her age when she died, I compare our two lives and realise that I (born in 1943) had it better than she had it (born in 1913)and I've had it better than my DD (born in 1979)

Make of that what you will.

Elegran Thu 09-Oct-14 16:36:56

Maybe some of us were profligate, but not everyone! A lot of us led pretty spartan lives when we were younger - in the sixties we were raising a family and paying a mortgage on one salary, not living it up. If we had chosen to pay interest-only and have holidays instead, we could have taken longer to pay the mortgage, but we didn't.

Our reward was to have paid up the mortgage by the time we retired, and to have some savings for our old age. Why the hell should we not enjoy the money we saved? Or rather - why the hell should I not enjoy what is left of my life now that I am on my own? And I don't mean with cruises and designer clothes.

I am happy to help my family if/when they need it, but I have no intention of feeling guilty about having the money in my old age that I saved by being frugal in my youth.

mollie65 Thu 09-Oct-14 16:49:38

The point I was trying to make is that we get 'pigeon holed' into the 'baby boomers' cohort without due attention being paid to the fact that
we are not all the same
a) some of us are a couple household (and do better) and some of us are singletons (struggling a bit).
b) some of us by virtue of our family history, lifestyle or wealth will have a comfortable healthy 20 or 30 years of retirement with cruises and holiday homes while others will not
c) no-one however lucky has 30 years of unadulturated bliss in retirement - our bodies and/or minds wear out. If we are more frequently seen filling the Dr's surgery and the hospitals - that is the reason

I was impressed that the mumsnet thread unlike others I have seen recognised this fact and not all 'boomers' are the same (it was an accident of the year we were born after all not our choice)

petra Thu 09-Oct-14 17:02:13

I agree. We did have it good, and still do. I'm a great believer in fate and being in the right place at the right time helps a lot.
That's not to say that we worked very hard to be in the place we are now.
I only have one regret. In the late 90s we had a 6 figure sum of money to do something with. We were advised by an Estate agent to use the money as deposits on property and get buy to let mortgages. We didn't like the idea of mortgages so we bought 3 flats. The way the property market went, in the words of Del Boy " we could have been millionaires" LOL

absentgrandma Thu 09-Oct-14 17:08:20

I haven't got money in my 'old age' ... God what a ghastly word.. it should be banned from the ED... but I have my health, our own house (mortgage free) and a happy life. My guilt... if that's what it that, due to global greed and gambling in the finance sector our chidren don't have it as good as we did.... or am I the only one to admit to having a ball in the Sixties?

My elder DD is so bloody miserable and work- driven she makes me feel old when ever I have a conversation with her. I want to say to her 'Loosen up woman and get a life', but she and 'The Idiot'(yes I've got one too!) have a huge mortgage on a 'rabbit hutch'. Younger DD, SIL and GC are happier on their lesser salary, but it seees to me that for every step forward they make , they take one SIL got a small wage rise in the New Year which knocked out their Tax Credits.

The most I can do is buy their plane tickets to come and see us in the school hols.They work so hard, for little reward I feel it's the least I can do.

apricot Thu 09-Oct-14 19:21:57

I thought I worked hard, raising 4 children, and didn't go back to work until the youngest was 7.
Compared to my daughters' lives now, I had it very easy. They work full-time whilst caring for children and studying for higher degrees. They are out of the house for 10 hours a day and have had to pay the equal of a second mortgage in childcare costs for all their under school-age children. One has just been given a 1% pay rise after 4 years with none.
Thank God they all got houses before the current impossible deposits demanded, which mean my grandchildren will probably be renting for life.
Yes, we baby boomers were very lucky.

nightowl Thu 09-Oct-14 19:47:15

Not all of us were 'lucky'. I worked when my children were small, had no choice with a mortgage to pay and sky high interest rates. I took maternity leave 3 times but it was far less generous than now. With a husband on an average salary it was a case of both work or lose the house.

I did benefit from two grants for higher education though, and I feel sorry for those like my children with student loans to repay.

harrigran Fri 10-Oct-14 00:08:42

I agree with Elegran, not all of us led a life of Riley in the 60s. I was in further education and then studying for my nursing qualification. A working week was 45 hours and I did my lectures in my off duty time. I married as soon as I qualified and the mortgage on our little cottage took every penny of my salary as the interest rate was 15%. I had my first child 17 months after getting married and we couldn't afford to pay the bills so DH took a second job.
I think the younger generation like to think we had it easy, I would love them to experience a winter in a 1940s house. No central heating, lino floor with a rug if you were lucky. In 1947 when the snow lasted so long that coal was frozen in heaps and I was a baby my mother said that I used to be almost navy blue with the cold.

HollyDaze Fri 10-Oct-14 10:13:14

To lump everyone in with the idea 'you are all living longer and costing us too much' as a reason to call for less money to be spent on the old (who may well be vulnerable) is not the sign of a caring society.

I agree with that. It would seem that government propaganda has worked quite well (the old divide and rule bit). I don't read comments about baby-boomers as it riles me no end (and not many things will get under my skin).

No central heating - a lot of them simply wouldn't understand that. The house I grew up didn't have central heating but did have fireplaces in the bedrooms, however, my Dad was so paranoid about coals falling out or stray sparks causing a fire, we were not allowed to have them lit most of the time. It was not uncommon to have ice on the insides of the window where condensation had frozen.

When my first husband and I separated, I lived in rented accommodation, went to college part-time and cleaned houses three afternoons per week and taught twice a week in the evenings (and had to pay for childcare out of that pittance) and Social Security took £4 of the £10 I was earning from the cleaning job. I also ran the local Beaver Scout section. After qualifying, I secured a job part-time and term-time so I would be around for my children but, the downside being, I didn't earn very much but was still free from having to claim benefits (other than Child Benefit) which was frowned upon in those days. I raised my children single-handed, paid all my taxes and took very little from the state - and I loved my hectic (and sometimes worrying) life back then. So if the current generation feel hard done by, tough - some of us were hard done by back then as well but we didn't moan and whine, we just got on with it.

The finger of blame should point quite firmly at successive governments that have allowed pay, mortgages and the cost of living to reach the levels that they have - that's where the problem comes from.

Teetime Fri 10-Oct-14 11:09:44

For me what is missing from the equation is the contribution the so called baby boomers are making by way of unpaid grandparenting duties, help financial and practical to their adult children and the enormous amount of voluntary work done by this group of people and by the way we are still paying taxes. I was astounded to hear that some people assumed we paid no tax once retired. I wish!

GillT57 Fri 10-Oct-14 14:23:46

Statements about baby boomers all being the same are just as irritating and incorrect as saying that all people on benefits are scroungers.

goldengirl Fri 10-Oct-14 18:32:56

Well said Teatime.

When DH and I got married and had children we were living on his research grant and never knew whether or not it would be renewed. We had second hand furniture and I knitted and made the children's and my clothes and their toys were second hand. But we lived in a little Close where everyone looked out for everyone else and it was just brilliant.

I do feel that many of today's young people like to have everything perfect from the word go. There are higher expectations I think today of what life should be like

jamsidedown Sun 12-Oct-14 23:29:04

goldengirl that is exactly what I was going to say before I lost my post! I didn't have a car until much later in life as I couldnt afford it. I didn't have a (landline or any other type of) phone for many years, using the phone box down the road. I didn't have brand new furniture from the start of my married life, I had an ancient twin tub and a second hand vacuum cleaner. On the other hand when I worked as a temporary secretary work was plentiful, and anyone with decent skills could walk out of a job one week and into another the next. People today have different pressures, but have far more material possessions and far higher expectations than my generation ever did. There seems to be a headlong dash for the next best thing, and a willingness to blame someone if that can't be achieved.

FlicketyB Mon 13-Oct-14 14:13:58

I think in concentrating on those of our children's generation who are finding life difficult we tend to forget that by far the majority of them are in work and have a life style way beyond anything we had at their age.

I am not talking about modern technology, that happens to all generations, remember transistor radios? electric calculators? We were able to buy a fridge when we set up home!! My very nice neighbours are in their late 30s, the house cost £800,000 plus when they bought it 5 years ago. They do not work in the financial sector and what they have they have paid for themselves. There are quite a number of similar families in my village. You have only to examine the makes and registration numbers of cars outside the village school opposite us to realise that.

My own children, who haven't attained that level of affluence, have patterns of expenditure that were beyond us. They spent this weekend at the seaside, this included two nights in a modest hotel. They eat out more, they and the children have far more clothes than we could ever afford.

The one problem for our children and this is one I readily admit, is the cost of housing - and it is a real problem. Building more new houses will not help. the most expensive part of building new houses is the cost of land and the more land that is needed for building houses the scarcer it gets and the cost rises. Land now accounts for as much as 60 % of the cost of some new homes in the south east, hence poky houses on tiny plots.

The causes of this are complex. Increased population, whatever the cause is certainly a contributor. Foreign investors buying houses in the UK for capital appreciation has not helped, but falling household size has also been a major contributor. In 1971 the average household contained 2.9 people. It is now down to 2.3. Marriage breakdown, adult children expecting to live away from the family home are also contributory.

However housing apart, I think the younger generation, are probably better off than us.

rosequartz Mon 13-Oct-14 14:43:54

I agree, FlicketyB. I sometimes wonder where some (not all, I admit) of the younger generation get the money to spend on their large 4x4s, trips abroad, evenings out and taking their offspring to all the theme parks that have sprung up since my DC were young.

We did have a struggle to make ends meet when the DC were young but are now better off in our retirement due to a steady slog and paying into pensions (although we don't have much in the way of savings). Perhaps we were hoping to live long enough for some butter and jam on our bread in our 'old age' but a lot of the younger generation want and demand the butter and jam now on their bread.

Although my DS and DIL do not come into the well-off category and have a large mortgage, they do seem to have a few more 'treats' than we had when they were small, as do DD and SIL.

The Government needs to force builders and firms such as Tesco who are hanging on to land to release it for housebuilding. We need more houses, not more supermarkets.