What the Future Holds (From the Perspective of Two 30-Year-Olds)
I have been wanting to write about life from young peoples perspective but did not want to make any assumptions based on what I see as a 60 year old. I decided to sit down with my 30 year old son and his wife to see how they felt about the future in general. I was surprised by their response. I was expecting a pretty depressing account of life from their perspective because times are so hard for everyone these days.
What I heard from both of them was that the days of the thriving middle class are over. They have accepted this fact and are devising ways to deal with it. I did not find them to be morose or victimized by the changes since the 50's when I grew up because of course, they have no memory of those days.
They are in acceptance of the fact that it is rare that they go out for dinner, or buy new clothes. They have prioritized their purchases in terms of IPhones, computers with high speed internet and video games like Wii. The idea of paid vacations or even vacations at all are not in their realm of possibility, but they don't begrudge the fact.
They are both self employed because they don't feel that they can make enough money to live working for a company or corporation even with both of them working. They don't expect paid health insurance, retirement plans, or even the possibility of Social Security when they are of age for that.
Since they have nothing to compare it to they are generally hopeful and happy that their circumstances are improving and will continue to improve. They also reported that they and their friends are happy about the bursting of the housing bubble because for the first time, buying a house is now within the realm of possibility.
When I grew up, I heard about the hard times of the depression that people the age of my parents had to live through. My children hear a very different report about the 50's when I grew up when only one person in the family had to work, when vacations and retirement were taken care of and when health care was affordable. They see those times as a blip and these times as the norm.
It was a very eye opening chat.
If you are thirty five or younger, I would very much like to hear your perspective on this.
response from a Facebook friend - Michele Happe - Mar 1st 2011
Hi Michelle, feel free to post/edit/share this but omit my name.
Some background: I'm 32, my dad was born in 1939 and my mother in 1944. We grew up quite poor, so I had never seen or experienced prosperity or security.
Having grown up in the lower class, rising to lower-middle class by my teenage years I have a 'get out there and get what you can while you can' outlook.
I've been employed since the age of 14, and while I've had a yearlong break three times, work has been steady. The childhood of having nothing has turned into the adulthood of wanting everything. I'll work hard for it, but dammit, I'm getting health insurance and vacation time. Every employer I have worked for has made a profit on my services. Negotiating my compensation package dictates how large that profit is.
I have a positive outlook on the future, but know that it will require work to achieve my goals.
It would be a shame if the funds I am obligated to contribute to social security were not available when I retire, but with retirement ages being so close to life expectancy, I suppose it wouldn't bother me that much.
I don't own a house and don't know if I ever will. While property values are low, lenders are hesitant to extend credit to any other than the most credit-worthy.