Opinion: Why I'm fed up with baby-boomers complaining about millennials

Feb 19 2017, 3:00 am

Millennials deal with a lot garbage.

But one of the worst things we have to contend with is the constant belittling of our way of life by the older generation.

“Why do you take pictures of everything you do?”
Actually, it’s my job.

“You’re throwing your money away using data on your cell phone!”
I need it to do work. You know, that stuff about the pictures I mentioned…

It’s time to face the future and realize that for the most part, how millennials do things is how we have to do things in the 21st Century. Most of us work full time and probably have a side hustle too. Our lives are drastically different than those of our single income predecessors.

The entitled generation

With far fewer opportunities, I’m confused how Baby Boomers feel justified to call us the entitled generation.

Sure a lot of us have helicopter parents watching out for us, and we probably lived at home just a little too long. But maybe that’s because our chance of owning a house before we’re 30 is almost zero.

What drives me insane about this whole thing isn’t that all of us young people are struggling to make ends meet, it’s that the older generation refuses to acknowledge how lucky they were, and how crippling the economic reality is for those of us who are trying to make our way in the world today.

No one’s denying the boomers had it tough too – we get it, you had to eat powdered milk, and can your own fruit so that you could eat it year round. But you also owned a house when you were 20, benefitted from great pension plans, and enjoyed fantastic interest rates. Not to mention you likely had the same job (you didn’t need data to keep) for more than half your life.

So here’s an idea old timers, maybe it’s time to shut up. (Not you grandpa, I would never speak that way to you – just generally, to your entire generation.)

After all, if you look at life today millennials have a pretty tough time of it.

The price of university

Image: Lawrence Chernin / Flickr

Boomer: When I left home to go off to university I had to work the whole summer to afford school and pay for my living expenses. Luckily once I got my bachelors degree I was offered a high paying job so I could stop living the student lifestyle.

Me: When I was in school I had to work full time during the summer and part time year-round, and I had to live at home because I couldn’t afford to pay for school and living expenses. Now that I have my bachelors degree I’m officially qualified to be a supervisor at Walmart – lucky me. Oh, and I have a 5-digit debt.

The ridiculously affordable housing

million-dollar homes Toronto


Boomer age 21: When we moved into our 2500 square foot home we had lawn chairs for furniture because that’s all we could afford. It took a whopping 10 years to pay off our mortgage!

Me age 25: When I started renting my 550 square foot apartment I used my life savings to buy a couch. If I can ever get a down payment together to buy a condo I’ll be paying off my mortgage for 30-40 years. Unless, of course, the housing market crashes first, in which case I will be moving back in with my parents and never leaving their basement again.

Getting paid to save

Man with empty pockets / Shutterstock

Boomer: I put everything I had into the bank to save for a rainy day. I earned so much interest off my investments that I ended up buying a boat without spending a dime of my own money!

Me: The money I put in the bank has actually depreciated in value. Is it still called saving if you put it somewhere and it disappears…

Job security?!



Boomer: I landed this great job, now I’ll be able to stay here for the rest of my life…

Me: 🙄 Can you please just retire so I can finally move up in the world? These days, if you’re not working in healthcare or the tech industry the job market is pretty flooded.

With whom you ask? That’d be the boomers. Despite the older generation’s financial security many continue to work. The result is a bottleneck of career growth for the younger generation. That means that my climb up the career ladder is going to be a long, drawn out process.

Everyone likes to think they had a hard life, and that their personal strengths allowed them to overcome obstacles. There’s no doubt that boomers had their fair share of struggles, but it’s seriously time to wake up and look at all the changes that have happened over the last 50 years.

So to anyone out there still giving the classic “when I was your age” speech, please stop and consider that when you were my age it was very a different world.

We’re both walking up hill both ways, pal. The only difference is I’m doing it having to bump into every second person staring at their smart phone…

Sam SchonewilleSam Schonewille

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