Will you be better off than your parents?

There’s been lots of talk about how our generation may be the first to be worse off than that of our parents. I’m fairly certain it’s going to be true in my case, and Christmas really cemented for me how huge that gap is.

I swear, I am going to lose it if I hear one more thing along the lines of how we should just buy a house. For the love of god. Anyone who keeps up with the news knows what’s going on, and the latest round of updated council valuations backs that up. My parents’ property is now worth more than 3x what they paid for it – and that’s just the council valuation, which around here is always less than actual market reality. Have incomes also tripled/quadrupled/etc? No, no they have not. I’m not saying it was easy back then, but it is a hell of a lot harder now. There is no way I will have a paid-off house by my 40s in Auckland.

It was a hard year for me and T, and while our family are experts in Not Talking About Things, it doesn’t take a genius or a mind reader to figure out that we’re still nowhere near a down payment, particularly when I VERY OBVIOUSLY shut down the idea of affording a house every time the topic comes up (which has been constantly since we got back to NZ).

Look, there are some things my parents went through that I will never understand. Leaving home and going to university in a strange new country. Being denied promotion outright because of my skin colour, in the country of my birth. Reaching the point of frustration in my marriage where I’m making inappropriate disclosures to my teenage daughter (that’s what professional therapists are for, guys).

Likewise, they won’t understand the lack of job security today, or what it’s like to enter the workforce during a global financial meltdown. And to be fair, I’m not immune either. A growing part of me sometimes just wants to scream ‘how have you gone on that many interviews yet still don’t have a job? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?’

Really, I only feel comfortable discussing successes with them, and there haven’t been any of those to report on in a long time. Maybe it’s a terrible reason to avoid my family, but it’s a sanity-saving defence mechanism.

16 thoughts on “Will you be better off than your parents?

  • Reply Manda | musicalpoem January 20, 2015 at 08:45

    I think I will be, but then again, different times and generation and all that. Also, the good fortune my parents had came at a cost, and I hope to God to never be in that position. Then again, I have zero interest in owning a home. Zero. So I guess in my case, I can’t really compare?

  • Reply SavvyFinancialLatina January 20, 2015 at 09:00

    In my case I am better off than my parents. But our generation faces a lot of challenges. Sometimes it’s hard to accept all the responsibilities older adults want us to have. Children, houses, careers, family, etc. It gets exhausting.

  • Reply Fig @ Figuring Money Out January 20, 2015 at 09:25

    I think I’ll be better off than one parent and not as well off as the other, if that makes sense. Opportunity wise my parents had a lot of good timing on their side that I haven’t had. But we all make choices and things happen and it’s hard to predict everything.

  • Reply Katie @ Second-Hand Hedgehog January 20, 2015 at 11:16

    Oh no! Hope some positives come your way soon. And yes, the housing market is terrifying here in England, and I’ve heard even worse things about housing in NZ. No way will I be better off than my parents, what with job insecurity, enormous house prices, and a massive great big student loan hanging over my head. Oh, and that insatiable urge to just up and leave to travel the world! Not great for the savings… Amazing for the life experience, though! 🙂

  • Reply Newlyweds on a Budget January 20, 2015 at 12:36

    If you had asked me three years ago if we’d be better off than our parents, I would have said no. But these days, I am firmly believing that we will be. However, housing has definitely made it really difficult. My parents’ house quadrupled in value before they sold it. Salaries have not quadrupled since 1989.

  • Reply Mrs. PoP January 20, 2015 at 13:38

    My parents, yeah – that bar was pretty low as there are only a few years of my childhood (heck even into my adulthood) where both of my parents were gainfully employed at the same time. Their savings is pretty nil, but luckily my mom will have a modest state pension. She’ll just have to work until she’s nearing 70 to get it.
    Mr PoP’s parents, I don’t know. Our lives will definitely be different. If we had wanted the careers they had (both tenured university professors), I think it would have been darned near impossible to have the kind of benefits and pay they saw through their lives. But luckily we’ve been aiming a different direction and are finding a different kind of success and freedom with our time and our lives.

  • Reply Emma January 20, 2015 at 14:00

    I’m much better with money than my parents were, but since they invested SO much of their money into real estate, it’s unlikely I can compete with that!

  • Reply nicoleandmaggie January 20, 2015 at 16:22

    *hugs*/*patpatpat* (whichever you prefer)

    DH and I are both better off than our parents, but that was a pretty low bar! I think when my parents were my age, we were renting an ancient flat in the city with the linoleum and (no doubt lead-based) paint peeling. I loved that place. DH’s family was living in a trailer in the woods on a relative’s land (he loved that place too). Owning isn’t the end all and be all.

  • Reply Anya January 20, 2015 at 17:00

    Definitely yes for me but I came from a working class immigrant family. I already make more than my parents combined, and living in a country (USA) where income inequality is a big problem, that’s not hard to do once you move up into the professional class. Also, it helps that we live in a low COL state where housing costs are very affordable. In terms of income, DH most likely won’t outearn his parents (although it’s not impossible), but with me as the CFO of our house, he’s already in much better financial shape compared to them – again not hard to accomplish if you squander your money.

  • Reply Stephany January 21, 2015 at 05:22

    I definitely will be better off than my parents, but the bar isn’t very high. My dad is an ex-con & my mom has no savings and has never owned a home. Soooo.

    I’m not very interested owning my own home. Maybe if I ever get married, but right now? Just not a thing that’s even on my radar.

    Sorry you’re getting so much push back about that. That’s no fun. 🙁 I guess it’s just a thing everyone goes through. If it’s not “why aren’t you dating?” it’s “why haven’t you popped the question?” or “having kids yet?” People are too nosy. I can see why you would avoid family, in this case.

  • Reply Mutant Supermodel January 21, 2015 at 10:51

    I’m not better off than my parents and I sincerely doubt I will be. On the other hand, one of my brothers definitely is and I am pretty sure the other will do as well if not better too.
    Both of my parents were educated– they both have master’s degrees. I only have a bachelor’s and my SO only has an AA. I also got a divorce and lost a home in the whole fiasco a few years ago. It’s not easy to bounce back from that. It used to bother me a lot but not so much anymore. I like being me.

  • Reply Sally January 21, 2015 at 13:28

    I love my parents but we basically don’t agree on anything financial except home ownership, haha. However, I don’t think it’s a wise move when you can’t afford it or when you will end up refinancing several times and wiping out the equity (ahem, that is definitely NOT in my plans). Sooooo, I take any and all financial advice from anyone related to me with a HUGE helping of salt. On the other hand, Ry’s parents seem to have it figured out much better and are quite comfortable in retirement. So it’s nice to have at least one good example. I tend to avoid them when I don’t want to just rehash the same old stuff, so I know where you’re coming from.

  • Reply Revanche January 21, 2015 at 19:22

    I’m sorry you’re catching all that – it’s most certainly tone deaf to your situations which is difficult enough without what I’d dub the Peanut Gallery. My aunt, not too long ago, suggested very earnestly that I “stop throwing money away on rent and just buy” a house for my dad to live in. She means well but … Really? What makes me look like I have an extra $400-800k lying around with which to buy and pay to maintain a house that he most certainly will fail to keep up on his own?
    From long experience, I’m a huge advocate for avoidance when engaging is not productive and just causes more stress when it comes to family.

  • Reply Rhonda Albom January 21, 2015 at 20:43

    I don’t think it’s a worldwide problem, but I can see where it is here in Auckland. I read this as advice not to hassle my girls (who are teens now) in a few years when they might be buying a home had they lived somewhere else.

  • Reply Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank January 26, 2015 at 23:17

    I still don’t know because my parents are really great at everything. I don’t know if I can be better off than them because I am not yet a parent. But, what I am sure of is that I’m gonna apply their strategy and values to my future family.

  • Reply Leigh January 29, 2015 at 16:41

    Parents, sigh. My boyfriend’s parents keep trying to convince him that he should buy a place. He recently told them that’s a silly idea when I own a place that’s big enough for the two of us. It turned out that they’re mostly concerned over whether he’s saving his money (and they see a house as a good way to do that), which he reassured them he is. And lately, it feels like my mom doesn’t agree with any of my decisions. Oh well.

    I’m definitely better off than my parents were at my age – neither of them went to university and they didn’t find well paying jobs until well into their thirties. But I don’t know if I’ll be better off than them long-term. Maybe since my boyfriend has higher earning potential than my mom (my parents are a single income household).

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