‘This current generation is thin-skinned’
‘They expect to be spoon-fed everything’
‘They are entitled and want everything to be done for them”
‘They are such snowflakes’
These are popular comments made about millenials (those born between the early 1980s and early 2000s a.k.a Generation Y) by the baby boomers (those born between the early 1940s and mid 1960s a.k.a our parents generation).
In fact, a certain president was quoted as saying that his country’s youth do nothing and want everything for free. Apparently a lot of them haven’t been to school and are claiming that since it has been an oil producing country, they can sit about doing nothing while getting housing, healthcare and education for free.
Maybe this is old age catching up with Mr President and he is mixing up his presidency terms. Free access to ‘anything’ is outside our realm of imagination so where these were possible during his first presidency and even his youth, the only way these are possible now are in our fantasies – if we try really hard.
Alternatively, this could be his way of showing empathy to his counterparts. Mr President’s comments were made at a business forum with other Heads of Government in the UK. A country where free housing, education and affordable healthcare are available. A country who also complains about her millennials. However, this is not how do it sir.
Generational gaps are not new but it has been widely reported that the gap between the baby boomers and the millennials is the largest between generations. While they think so lowly of us, they do not consider the impact of their decisions (sub-prime mortgage loans anyone?) on the generations that come after them or the different economic landscapes. They had better pension deals with more pension contributions from their employers, barely experienced union strike actions, better wage growth, better stock market performance and enjoyed easier access to property ownership – properties which have increased exponentially in value. We will be the first generation to earn less than our parents or create a substantial pension fund. It’s no wonder then that we have different attitudes to money. Where their main aim of investing was for their retirement, we are investing to grow our wealth to be able to afford those things that were more easily afforded them.
Thankfully, this lack of intergenerational equity has been identified by some and ideas on how to reduce this unfairness is being debated by political leaders, economic advisors and think tanks. Mr President should consider learning from these counterparts rather than bashing the people that he leads – I’m just saying. One of such groups, Resolution Foundation has proposed that £10,000 be give to every person, in the UK once they turn 25. This is referred to as a citizen’s inheritance. It is intended to redistribute wealth at a time when youths are staring out and would need it most and would be funded by changes in inheritance tax.
Right now, there are little to no policies in place to reduce the gap. Rather than waiting around and holding our breaths (as we shall most likely die while waiting) we should continue in our efforts to live the type of lives we want for ourselves. The baby boomers may mean well when they offer advice but we have to take them with a pinch of salt and consider the economic climate when making decisions. It’s worth remembering that they are basing their advice on their experiences which happened in a different time. If you do choose to take on their advice, be sure to be include the socio – economic landscape in your decisions. For example, is jumping into a masters degree the best option to take as opposed to getting some work experience? Where apprenticeships are available, have you considered applying for those as opposed to going to university?
Dear snowflakes, adulting is not easy and your efforts are acknowledged. Keep up the good work!!!!