We are always hearing that older ages like 50, 60, 70 are really the NEW 35 or 40 or 50. I think not, but recently something came my way that made me wonder if the ages ARE going backwards as to when and where we accomplish certain life-markers.
An acquaintance sent out invitations to a party to celebrate their 26th birthday. For the sake of this blog post, I am going to call this young person YP, for young person. YP suggested that instead of the usual birthday gifts, they would like to receive certificates of deposit at a certain financial institution. The desire for this gift suggestion came from the fact that at age 26, YP felt they should be considered an adult and begin saving money for the future. I wouldn’t argue that, but I would think one would do that saving with one’s own money.
At 26 I was working at a job that paid into a retirement plan for me. The company also paid my health and life insurance. Although I wasn’t making a big salary, I was making enough to buy a home. That was my savings plan.
At 26 I had completed college, gotten married, had that before mentioned job, bought a home and had a child. I can only guess that times were different and today’s 26 year old does not have the same opportunities. It seems that they are living more like a 17 year old.
We know several young people in this age group who have not finished college. They are working for minimum wage in a service or retail job. Some are living at home, some with roommates. A few don’t have a car. And that retirement plan? Their employers are certainly not offering them anything like mine did. Forget about sick leave, paid vacation, and health insurance.
At 37 I changed careers, using that previously mentioned retirement plan to bankroll the change. I then went on to a new career that paid better, provided a pension plan, health insurance, and my summers off. I was able to retire at 58 with a house and cars paid for and enough saved to live in San Francisco for 15 months.
I wonder what today’s 26 year old will be doing in 32 years at age 58. Will they be able to retire? Will they have a house and car paid for? How about children? Will 58 be the new 38 at that time?