24 December 2011

I'll take the fifth

Do I feel guilty about being a baby boomer?  Not so much guilt as complacency.  The Telegraph reports:

Baby boomers shouldn’t feel guilty about being better-off than younger generations, because people aged over 50 today saved harder and spent less when they were young than is the case today.
That’s the conclusion of analysis of more than 2,000 people by the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII). The study acknowledges that baby boomers – or those born within 20 years of the end of World War II – were fortunate to enjoy easy mortgage availability and decades of house price inflation plus final salary or defined benefit pensions denied to most young adults today.
As a result, about 80pc of the Britain's net personal wealth of £6.7trn or £6,700bn is owned by people aged over 50 while younger folk often have no savings, substantial debts and little hope of becoming homeowners any time soon. The average age of first-time buyers is now 37 or about 10 years later than two decades ago.
I confess that I do not recall making prodigious savings in my twenties or thirties.  As for spending, I spent what I had to spend; I can still recall my mother's sage advice about the pitfalls of borrowing.  So, by and large, we kept out of financial trouble.  But the expansion of university education in the 1960s was of enormous benefit to my generation.  And the rapid inflation of the 1970s meant that mortgage payments diminished equally rapidly (at least until you had to move house).

All of which is no damn consolation to today's youngsters seeking to secure a job and a place to live ...

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