Our grandparents knew how to make a dollar last. Frugality was tattooed onto each and every one of their personalities. Don’t you wish that you had some of those qualities? I do. Or the hard work of the Baby Boomers, with their investment and portfolios. That would be fantastic.
Maybe older generations are envious of my generation’s ability to manage all of our finances online (or from our iPhones).
Each generation is characterized by a collection of financial qualities, and there is something to be learned every time. Here are the best of the characteristics from each generation.
The parents of the Baby Boomers. This generation can probably remember the Depression, and they definitely remember the rations of the Second World War. Frugality, hard work and sacrifice were an essential part of their upbringing, and manifest clearly in their financial practices. They are great lessons for the rest of us. All great financial endeavours are going to require a big dose of sacrifice and hard work, and later generations are all-too-unwilling to admit that fact.
Nothing comes easy, and that is especially true of financial sustainability. Learning from our grandparents’ self-denial practices is crucial to financial success. The only financial drawback of that generation was their tendency to go with the flow and not challenge authority. A proper understanding of risk or entrepreneurship is a good thing when it comes to finances.
Ah, the once-were-hippies who then bought houses and raised families group. We all love Boomers. We love teasing their early radicalism, envy them their music period and live off their collected wealth. The Boomers ended up being financially self-sufficient- while politically it was a collectivist movement, financially people tended to look after themselves. It’s not a bad lesson to remember once in a while- that, within reason, finances are our own responsibility and we can control our money.
The financial downside of this generation was their buy now/ pay later ethos, which wasn’t a brilliant approach to the issue of debt.
Organisational loyalty wasn’t really Generation Xers’ thing. This generation is savvy, skeptical and appreciate a work-life balance. It’s a great financial lesson, to not accept the status quo and to carve out our own financial sustainability. If things aren’t working out for a Gen Xer, they’re likely to take control. If things aren’t; going well financially, take control of your life. The only drawback for this generation is the flipside of their anti-organisational feeling- they’re less likely to work in teams.
Financial sustainability necessarily involves an ability to ask for help. Teamwork and an ability to rely on others are important abilities in good financial practice.
Generation Next- my peeps. We’re media-savvy or media saturated depending who you talk to. We multi-tasked from infancy, are computer experts and need constant stimulation to stay engaged. This allows us to efficiently manage a variety of financial tasks at the same time, aim for jobs that are fulfilling as well as financially stable and negotiate on our own terms, something that everyone should get a dose of.
The downsides are (of course, who hasn’t heard?) our quick fix approach to life and short-attention spans – if something doesn’t come quickly, we’re likely to get frustrated – and our dependence on plastic, with skyrocketing levels of consumer debt. (Editors note: We can thank Gen X, aka mum and dad for the learned dependency on credit cards!)
What do you guys think? Certainly this must spark a few angry feelings amongst all the generations?