Then and Now – Financially Speaking

Dear Next Generation,

I see some fantastic things you have accomplished and am so proud. These successes don’t surprise me but I can’t help boast about you. It’s a joy watching you become the greatest generation.

I trust you received my last letters. Delivery can be questionable but in my heart, I feel you are well. The fact that I can see the results of your successful work, eases my mind.

Recently, I’ve learned of some disgruntled thoughts towards a previous generation. The discussion was specific about how one generation got through difficult financial situations. It seems their offerings of how they did it were just not believable. Especially when compared to your own struggles in today’s tight money regiment.

The generational divide will only grow through misunderstandings so for the sake of all generations, I would like to try to add some clarity.

Each generation may feel they have it the hardest. Of course history is the author of truth here. So since that history is in the future for yours and my generation, we can discuss things not understood here and now. Then maybe history will have to change his story.

Did you catch that poorly written pun? His story and history. I laugh at my own jokes, maybe that’s the problem.

Anyway, I can only suggest what I believe to be not understood and add something for clarity. So what I see involves money.

It might be easy to believe that because back then the cost of things were tiny compared to today, it wasn’t painful to purchase things.

I am very aware of your intelligence and know full and well that you understand that their wages were also tiny, but I’d like to point out a difference you may not have thought about.

I have told you before that the reason yours is going to be the best generation ever, is because you do have it hard. Those generations that people look back on and call great, had the toughest time. They became best because of it. Tough times run in cycles between extremely hard and not as hard. That tough cycle has returned to you.

Comparing a previous generation that had it hard, with yours, I can easily point out what makes yours just as hard.

Even though their wages were tiny, the list of needs could be written in a small list that required those wages. Like this;




And some medicine. There wasn’t much to get.

Some didn’t have electric yet or very little use of it, so it was a new and small bill.

Same goes for a telephone.

If they had a television, the signal was free over the airwaves.

Now let’s look at your list;




Car Insurance

Health insurance

Renters insurance/House Insurance

Car payments or taxis or Uber

Electric bill

Water bill

Cell phones

Cable bill

Internet and/or data usage


College loan repayments

You can add or subtract from those lists all you want, yours is still bigger. The other thing to consider is your wages are somewhat inline, adjusting for inflation, the same as the previous generation received.

So how the heck are you supposed to succeed? It looks as if the odds are stacked against you. I think this is where I can show you how that generation did it even though you might be feeling that they had it easier.

Their list, although smaller than yours, constituted their entire income. But wait a minute, yours does too. How does this help?

That generation may have not had the same amount of things to need or even desire, they could relate to your situation of trying to satisfy the list with meager earnings. What the individual things on their list cost were astronomical to them, like your thoughts towards yours.

Just like you, they purchased the things they could afford or needed, and those other things were dreamed about.

But history tells us they had everything on their list.

Looking back on a generation, time gets blurred. It’s easy to think they acquired the list all at once. Their retelling the events could also slush through time. They may not portray the endless wait for the wants clearly. It’s easy to forget the wait after you receive that thing you desired. Can you remember what happened while you stood inline for those tickets? I imagine you have better memories of the concert instead.

You should now understand that they didn’t get everything all at once or even in the view of quickly. Instead, they waited in line for their time to get those things. While waiting, they saved.

This is key. You can pull your own research on the amount of personal savings versus a past generation and find some very unwelcome news. Or check out this old article. Regardless of income then and now, the percentage people save have plunged.

Isn’t this a tool they used to achieve the list? It was, and also was a primary method to accomplish something that was supposed to not be achieved by their generation.

What is lost in translation by them is how to employ the tool. It’s hard to describe the small beginnings of a savings account but easier to say how they purchased that house.

Nobody wants to be told they have to wait for something they desire today. That’s exactly what I’m suggesting. You can have it, just not today and maybe not tomorrow if you don’t save for it.

That is exactly what a past generation did and it was taught to them. It should be taught today but very good marketing has removed it from current thinking. You have been conditioned to believe that the moment counts. There’s a lot of time that follows that moment they cleverly don’t tell you. If you think about that time, you won’t make that purchase.

So can you use these lost tools today? The answer is a resounding yes! The interest rate they received for their deposits might not be the same, but the method hasn’t changed. The self control resisting the marketing still can be employed. The waiting for the right time for that purchase, requires no approval other than your own.

You are in control of who gets it and when that dollar leaves your hand.

You will be the greatest generation ever because you have hard things to overcome and as you do, you will gain strength and realize you are standing on the shoulders of every generation that came before you.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my letter to you. You amaze me.

Until next time; Do try new things safely for you and your generation.


Related content;

Compound Interest Calculator (Daily To Yearly)


Nearly 7 in 10 Americans Have Less Than $1,000 in Savings, New Study Shows

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