READER REPORT:

Four myths about baby boomers

SUE O'NEILL
Last updated 05:30 10/03/2014

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After reading some of the comments on Stuff recently about the young generation's perception of baby boomers I feel I have to state my case.

Myth 1: Baby boomers were able to manage to live on one wage.

Baby boomers, of which I am certainly one, did not stay home en-masse like some believe. I spent the 70s and 80s working with hundreds of other young mums out there working to get by.

Myth 2: Education was free.

Unless my parents lied to me, sorry, but I had to leave school at 15 simply because my parents could not afford to keep me at school. University was a dream and back then you actually had to pass your university entrance exam to get in.

Myth 3: Housing was cheaper and there was government assistance to get your own home.

There was a scheme available that enabled families to cash in their Family Benefit (the princely sum of $3 per week per child) if they built a new home. This was stopped just before baby boomers were able to access it. Baby boomers' parents were the generation to get this, as well as a 3 per cent loan for life.

Housing was and still is extremely expensive relative to income. There was no easy ride for baby boomers. If they didn't qualify for state advances loans they had to save with a bank for three years with a special housing account to prove they could afford to buy a home.

That home would be a modest three-bedroom, one-bathroom house with no garage, no fence, no drive, carpet, vinyl or drapes, and would be lucky to be 100 square metres. That would have been considered a huge home.

Myth 4: Goods and food were much cheaper.

Rubbish. Food was expensive. Mince and sausages were the staple diet of many baby-boomer families.

A new car? Most could only afford a secondhand car. You had to have a 50 per cent deposit to buy what were pretty rubbish cars, costing a fortune in repair bills.

Televisions, clothing, furniture, all goods that we now can access for relatively little money, cost a small fortune back then.

I would love to read a post from the few baby boomers out there that actually did get all the advantages the younger people seem to think we all had.

I know there are a few, but most baby boomers did nothing wrong. They went to work, they supported their families, they lived through the oil shocks of the 70s, and the restructuring and many redundancies of the 80s and 90s.

Yet the younger generation seems to think we had it all. I wish.

We had to work, we had no subsidised childcare, maternity leave (paid or otherwise), no Working for Families, no interest-free student loans and we certainly did not have low interest rates on our mortgages.

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Now that we are reaching our sunset years, once again the younger generation seems to think we should work even longer, whether we can physically cope or not.

Why is the younger generation so selfish? They seem to think that they are entitled to as much government/taxpayer money as possible.

If we work, we're taking jobs off the young. If we don't work, we're a drain on society. We just can't win.

I am sick to death of having to justify my existence to a generation that is under the impression that they are so hard done by. 


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