I am bewildered by the idea that we, the so-called ‘baby-boomers’ have somehow ‘stolen’ from subsequent generations, obliterating any chance they might have had of a comfortable life. How were we responsible for their misfortunes and hardships? Of course I do realise as well as anyone that the financial woes of our own country, of Europe and of much of the world have provided huge challenges for the young. They want all the things that their parents have had, and more; who can blame them?
Yes, we were ‘lucky’ to have been provided with grants for further education, although many of us [myself included] qualified only for a partial grant. I seem to remember existing on the princely sum of three pounds per week. There were no such things as loans, gap years or credit cards. We entered the world of work [again, we were lucky] directly from study and lived in rented rooms in shared houses. We didn’t own cars. Our gadget ownership was restricted to portable, black and white TVs and cute ‘Dansette’, stacked single-dropping record players until technological advances provided the stereo [or steereo, as my father liked to call it].
But home ownership was not, actually the natural, expected, easy-as-falling-off-a-log move into materialism that is portrayed today. We saved up for deposits. Without the distractions of gadgetry, holidays or designer anything, it was our focus. It took years.
Property prices inflated. Something changed in the world financial markets. Some shady business was conducted in the banks. Most of us ‘Boomers’ are now bankrolling, housing and otherwise shoring up at least one adult child and/or caring for elderly parents, not the avaricious, money-grubbing, future-snatchers described in the press.