One particular lass crapping on about how easy we had it - with nannies and cooks and cleaners from the day we were born, lifelong Medicare, free tertiary education, low interest rates which enabled all of us to buy lots of houses, a clean Earth etc etc etc.... I pointed out that Medicare was certainly not lifelong and she should do some research; that interest rates reached a peak of 17.25% in 1989, that tertiary education was free for 14 years only, between 1975 and 1989 - just in time for Gen X - and before that there was no government assistance for fees, that my generation was the first to campaign on environmental issues etc. And of course she arced right back up saying she's sick of my generation who had such an easy ride.
Yeah real easy. I started work in a bank in the mid 70s. Three years earlier, if I'd been working there and got married I would have had to quit. There was no maternity leave, no compulsory superannuation, no medicare, no child care subsidy... I had to quit work when I became pregnant, and it was five years before I was back in the workforce properly. I was in my first house for six months before I could afford curtains. Floor coverings took even longer; in fact when I sold it three years later I still only had carpet in the lounge and main bedroom as it was all I could afford to get done. And the reason we sold it? I was pregnant, and gave up my job, and we couldn't afford the mortgage on one wage so we downsized from our 11 sq brick home to an old fibro shack that was within our budget. Up until recently air travel was out-of-the-question expensive; my mother had never been on a plane when she died at 61, and I can recall paying $600 for a round trip from Coffs to Sydney, where the same flight now is around half that, and the same fare would get me to New Zealand and back, with spare change.
There is going to be a huge generational wealth transfer over the next two or three decades as the last of us Baby Boomers shuffles off this mortal coil. So many people inheriting wealth that they didn't work for. Does that mean we should despise the Gen Xers too? Or the Ys, if the transfer skips a generation?
And you know what? I refuse to apologise for working bloody hard, for channeling nearly every spare cent into the mortgage in order to pay it off, for taking cheap holidays close to home in order to save money (truth be told, for most of my life it was all I could afford), for buying shares a portion at a time to build a portfolio over many years. Hardly fits the image she's trying to portray.
Gah I'm so angry right now. It would be easy enough to call this chick a latte-sipping smashed-avo munching inner city hipster but that would be a shallow generalisation.