RobInCT wrote:I'd be interested in hearing people's ages in their responses. I'm in my early 30s. The first big crash of the last 15 years happened about a year after I graduated from college. A few years of scrambling for work and I was back to graduate school where I was in my final year when the second big crash happened.
I'm doing okay and better than a lot of my peers. But I and many of my friends who are now approaching middle age have worked nearly the entirety of our adult lives under situations of economic uncertainty, declining wages/benefits and threat of layoff and frequently periodic unemployment.
Maybe this is typical, but my age group also grew up in the long boom years, so that probably influenced my expectations of what life was like. I don't remember the 70s. I have a job, but it's not the job I want, and the job market is still pretty terrible in my field. So if you asked the 18 year old me where I thought I'd be in 15 years, I think I'd have hoped to be doing better than I am now. But it could be--and is, for many of my friends--far worse.
I'm in my 50's. Grew up poor (the home I grew up in sold a few years ago for $8,000. That's right, $8,000). The "rich people" in our neighborhood were the ones with a garage. Got a job at a low-tech old company in town but at least it was a desk job, not working in the mill. Almost 40 years later, that low-tech old company keeps chugging along while many other high-tech places started up, burned white-hot for a while, then flamed out. Moved up in the company a couple notches over the years and am on pace for a comfortable, not luxurious, retirement even though there is no pension. I guess when you grow up poor you don't have lofty expectations and that helped us to keep our expenses low (still live in our "starter" home almost 30 years). When I was starting out, my hope was to be able to buy a house someday. No thoughts of accumulating wealth, early retirement, vacation home... none of that. Just to have middle-class living was a dream. Tell you what, it makes you thankful and keeps you humble when you know you aren't any smarter than lots of other people but somehow you got a steady job with good pay for decades while others did not.