Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

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tennisplyr
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Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by tennisplyr » Wed Mar 23, 2016 9:55 am

There's a lot written that the young folks today won't do as well as their parents did financially perhaps for the first time. I was wondering how you feel you are doing or have done compared to your parents? If you could explain why that would be helpful.
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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by sport » Wed Mar 23, 2016 9:57 am

I have done much better financially than my parents. The main reason is that my parents made sure that I would get a college education. That is something they never had the opportunity to acquire.

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DaftInvestor
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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by DaftInvestor » Wed Mar 23, 2016 10:02 am

Far far better. In my case it was mostly about Career choice. My parents were both school teachers in a low paying area (yes - even low for teacher standards). I have a lot of respect for teachers and may have chosen that career myself but certainly wasn't about to struggle financially the way we did growing up so I went to school for Electrical Engineering for a better chance at a fair salary. Back when I graduated 25 years ago I landed a job out of college earning a starting salary higher than my Father's who had a Master's degree and had been teaching for 30+ years.

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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by Blueskies123 » Wed Mar 23, 2016 10:03 am

I have done much much better. My dad was a hot head that argued with his boss and never worked past 5:00. I tried to make my boss look good and ultimately became the boss often working until 7:30 and then getting into the office at 6:30 the next day.
My dad in 90 now living on basically social security which he barely paid into.
Last edited by Blueskies123 on Wed Mar 23, 2016 10:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

Snowjob
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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by Snowjob » Wed Mar 23, 2016 10:03 am

Financially, better. But that due to better investing results and increased risk.

Career wise, parents were much more successful, so in the end it will probably even out.

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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by michaeljc70 » Wed Mar 23, 2016 10:04 am

I make much more money than my Father ever did due to college education and the field I work in. My Father had a union job (railroad) with low pay but great benefits. My Mother never worked.

I am sure I have more saved/invested at age 45 than they have at age 68. However, they get a good pension and I will not so they probably have more certainty than I will in retirement. My Father was able to retire at age 60 with a full pension.

For those that don't know, you contribute to railroad retirement rather than social security. My Mother, who never worked, automatically gets 1/2 of what my Father gets. Together, it is a pretty good pension - more than my Father ever made working.

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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by Rwentworth » Wed Mar 23, 2016 10:06 am

I'm doing much much better. My parents never had high paying jobs and always struggled to pay the bills. They also spent their money unwisely. I'm the opposite.

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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by bubbadog » Wed Mar 23, 2016 10:07 am

Better, the result of being the first generation of my family to obtain a college degree. I then went on to medical school and financially things have gone fairly well.

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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by stoptothink » Wed Mar 23, 2016 10:11 am

I was raised by a single mother who was a medical assistant for most of her working career. I had surpassed her not only in income, but networth before I even finished my college education. Today she's remarried and in a much better paying field, but the gap has only gotten wider. It is even worse on my wife's side, my parents (including my mother's husband) may have nothing in retirement and little in savings, but at least they have enough income to support themselves.

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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by mhc » Wed Mar 23, 2016 10:14 am

I am doing better. My dad grew up poor, graduated high school at 16, and was then on his own. He did very well for where he started. We always had plenty and took nice vacations. No complaints. My parents are enjoying a nice retirement with no financial worries.

I took it up another notch higher than he achieved. I got into a higher paying career field and learned about investing at an earlier age than he did. I'm no smarter than he, but I was willing to put in a lot of hours at work in the first part of my career. My dad was always an 8 hour a day type of guy. I'm sure he worked harder than most and did an excellent job, but he never went above and beyond.

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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by flyingbison » Wed Mar 23, 2016 10:15 am

It's hard to say - it's probably a mix of both.

My father was a HS dropout who was able to support a family of 6 as a truck driver, and then retire at 55 years old. Adjusted for inflation, I probably earn less than my father did, but for most of my adult life have been part of a two-income couple. So I've probably had more household income than my parents did most of the time, but I have pay for childcare and have to pay more of my income for retirement. I won't have the retirement benefits my father has, and will be lucky if I can retire by 67, not 55.

ETA: I'm an old Gen-Xer.
Last edited by flyingbison on Wed Mar 23, 2016 1:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by DJInvestor » Wed Mar 23, 2016 10:27 am

I am doing much better than my parents, despite having almost exactly the same education and salary as my father. We both received our MDs from the same institution and were both practicing physicians on faculty at that institution. The difference is that my father lived above his means and was often having to borrow money and finance his tax payments. He carried a large balance on his American Express Credit card because he enjoyed the "points". He loved his financial adviser...they were best buddies despite the obvious churning of individual stocks, ridiculous variable annuities, high expense funds, and AUM fees. He frequently bought lottery tickets and engaged in speculative investments because he couldn't see any other way to get his head above water. My dad was a smart man, so I truly am at a loss to understand his lack of financial common sense.

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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by Texanbybirth » Wed Mar 23, 2016 10:28 am

I owe a significant portion of any of my success to my parents. Lessons taught (hammered into my head), examples lived, college tuition helped when possible - they are shining examples of financial management.

We're a single income household, so financially we're probably about the same as my parents. My mom always wanted to stay home with us kids, but it wasn't possible. I hope to always be able to give that gift to my wife.

My parents are both still working in their early 60s (they love their work), but I can see that coming to an end in the next few years. When I get to be their age I'd like to be able to retire. We shall see. They always say things like "we can't afford to retire." I've seen their bank statements, they can easily afford to retire. It must be something with their generation.

I hope to not have quite as much fear about money as they did/do, but they also didn't have the support structure from their parents that they were able to give to their children.

Interestingly, my dad has a very nice state-sponsored pension that could easily support him and my mom, especially once SS kicks in. That is something I'll never have, so perhaps when viewed holistically they are actually doing better than we are.

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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by Blueskies123 » Wed Mar 23, 2016 10:34 am

Rwentworth wrote:I'm doing much much better. My parents never had high paying jobs and always struggled to pay the bills. They also spent their money unwisely. I'm the opposite.
Me too!, my motto growing up is that I was going to be their opposite. Now that I am 61 I have learned that life is a little more complicated than just being the opposite but 9 time out of 10 that is how I make my decisions.

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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by Keim » Wed Mar 23, 2016 10:51 am

My parents have done far better than me.

That doesn't mean my family has done poorly.

My parents have done well by most definitions. My father was willing to be a company man in a way that I wasn't. He did the long hours, periodic moves, etc. as he went up the company ladder. On the other hand, spouse and I chose careers doing nonprofit and gov work. He received paychecks and retirement bennies I can only dream of.

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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by Swampy » Wed Mar 23, 2016 11:03 am

tennisplyr wrote:There's a lot written that the young folks today won't do as well as their parents did financially perhaps for the first time. I was wondering how you feel you are doing or have done compared to your parents? If you could explain why that would be helpful.
Considering my parents lost everything, including loved ones, their homes and homeland, between 1939 and 1945 before finally making it to America - there is no comparison. The fact that they even survived an 800 mile death march during a terrible winter is incomprehensible.

Using finances is a very poor yardstick to measure success.
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. | Failure is not an option. | If I have seen further, it is because I was carried on the shoulders of giants.

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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by fposte » Wed Mar 23, 2016 11:12 am

My father definitely made more money, proportionately, than I do or will. But I was the generation that was supposed to have the luxury of choice, and I ran with that to a career that I really enjoy (and do perfectly fine with, financially speaking). I'm just grateful that he actually liked his job, so that my pleasure wasn't at the expense of his drudgery.

Wellfleet
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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by Wellfleet » Wed Mar 23, 2016 11:12 am

Just yesterday, I was doing white collar work at a factory in the city where my great grandparents emigrated to and were factory workers 100 years ago. I am very fortunate.

whadyaknow
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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by whadyaknow » Wed Mar 23, 2016 11:26 am

My parents never went to college for lack of resources. They made sure I didn't suffer the same outcome and saved aggressively for my education. It was a pleasant surprise for them when I came out of college and grad school net positive financially - thanks to scholarships, internships and research assistantships.

Thanks to their ground work, I've done way better than they ever did financially. I've also been extremely lucky with the chances I took early in my career.

I agree with @swampy in that finances are a poor measure of success and a life well lived.
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Broken Man 1999
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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Wed Mar 23, 2016 11:47 am

My parents didn't finish high school, which wasn't all that unusual for depression-era students. Still, Dad ended up becoming a millionaire through sales of farm land he acquired over time, while working a blue collar job full time.

My career was mostly white collar, well compensated, with terrific benefits. Wife was also well compensated, though she was a stay-at-home mom for several years.

Wife and I did end up with more financially, though some of it, perhaps a quarter, came from inheritance from my father.

The inheritance allowed wife and I to increase our retirement portfolio, and softened the blow of educating our children.

We will be doing the same by paying it forward and providing most of the means to educate our grandchildren. Hopefully our children (with kids) are taking advantage of their opportunity by stuffing their retirement accounts even fuller, as wife and I are doing the heavy lifting for the grandkids' education.

Perhaps our children can pay it forward as well, helping educate their grandchildren. I doubt I'll live to see that happen, but hopefully it will happen.

So, we certainly have done better than our parents, but we were spotted a good lead through inheritance.

Broken Man 1999

ETA: Wife and I are members of the "boomer" generation, both of us were born in 1953.
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aj44
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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by aj44 » Wed Mar 23, 2016 11:55 am

Doing much better than my parents (I'm 35).

My dad had a pretty good job but didn't have a degree so he was limited. My mom spent him into trouble several times growing up so they never saved anything, she had a very low paying job. He retired from his government job and gets a nice pension, but had to go back to work part time due to taking out a loan to fund two bad business investments pitched by two different friends.

In contrast both my wife and I graduated from college and have worked our way up to management and save more than half of our income.
Last edited by aj44 on Wed Mar 23, 2016 1:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Crow Hunter
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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by Crow Hunter » Wed Mar 23, 2016 11:58 am

Financially, yes, based on the sound financial principles that my parents gave me on top of inheriting a not insignificant (to me) sum from them.

Otherwise, no. My Dad was the son of a carpenter and the first in his family to graduate high school and my Mom was the daughter of an alcoholic/abusive share cropper that never even owned the homes they lived in. They both managed to land very good union jobs with a mega-corp and raised myself and my brother without real wants (too many toys and 2 vacations a year minimum) and helped us graduate college debt free.

I don't have that kind of grit. My "starter home" was nicer than the house I grew up in and I don't know what it is like to chop/pick cotton or go to be hungry or use an outhouse in the winter or have no electricity.

I can only barely remember only having 3 channels on an aerial antenna.

I can never live up to my parents example.

ETA. Based on my Father's extreme artistic talent (all self taught) and the fact my Mom tested out at an over genius level IQ, if they had the same opportunities that I had growing up, I would only be a dim shadow of their brilliance. For example, my Father saw a bas-relief one time on an archaeology documentary we were watching and decided he wanted to try it. I was really into pirates and sailing ships, so within a few days, I had a nearly photo realistic bas-relief of a sailing ship carved into a piece of scrap wood. I can't even comprehend how to even start.

ETA2: I'm Gen X and my parents were born during WW II.
Last edited by Crow Hunter on Wed Mar 23, 2016 2:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by quantAndHold » Wed Mar 23, 2016 12:04 pm

By my late 20's I was making more money per year than my Dad. Mom was a housewife.

Dad, on the other hand completely toasted my investment returns. Over the years, I've pretty much kept pace with the market. I suspect he was Warren Buffett in disguise.

As far as retirement, Dad had a pension that paid enough that he didn't have to tap his investments until the last couple of years of his life, when he had some large medical and care bills. The pension I have will pay $500/month, with no adjustment for inflation.

I am very grateful for the inheritance.

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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by walkindude » Wed Mar 23, 2016 12:17 pm

quantAndHold wrote:By my late 20's I was making more money per year than my Dad. Mom was a housewife.

Dad, on the other hand completely toasted my investment returns. Over the years, I've pretty much kept pace with the market. I suspect he was Warren Buffett in disguise.

As far as retirement, Dad had a pension that paid enough that he didn't have to tap his investments until the last couple of years of his life, when he had some large medical and care bills. The pension I have will pay $500/month, with no adjustment for inflation.

I am very grateful for the inheritance.
+1, except Dad and Mom are still alive and I am blessed that they are. I will have no pension at all. They have also gifted $14000 per year (or the maximum allowable) for approximately the past 14 years to each of my siblings and me. This helped us immensely in the college years for our two children.

In addition, they have funded their 8 grandchildren's Roths to a maximum of $2000 per year whenever they earned money until they were out of school.

They have set great examples of how to succeed financially and personally in life. Thanks, Mom and Dad!

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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by PVW » Wed Mar 23, 2016 12:18 pm

Financially, I have done significantly better than my parents. Mostly due to different circumstances and life choices. I don't know if any of it can be attributed to changes in economic environment.

Many people discuss the financial differences between generations in the context of individuals, but the underlying differences between parents and kids are often so different that I think generational differences are only meaningful in aggregate.

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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by Abe » Wed Mar 23, 2016 12:21 pm

I've done much better financially than my parents, but life dealt me a hell of a lot better hand then they got. I don't know what I would have done if I had the same hardships they did. I've been lucky.
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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by strbrd » Wed Mar 23, 2016 12:29 pm

I'm one of the oldest millennials and my brother is among the oldest, and my parents are among the oldest baby boomers. My brother and I have had a much harder time than my parents on two related metrics: real estate and the possibility of single-income living. My mother mostly stayed at home from when my younger brother was born, and there is no way either my husband or I could stay home and still afford our mortgage. My husband and I basically had to both go to law school (after two far less lucrative post-college careers) to afford a condo while still heavily indebted with student loans at age 35; my parents bought a single-family house in the same city in their twenties pretty comfortably, had only bachelor's degrees at that time, and already had two kids by our age.

Basically I'm doing pretty well financially compared to my peers and I may ultimately do the same or better than my parents but I had to take on a ton more risk (hundreds of thousands in student loans) and be vastly more geographically flexible than they were to make it to where I am now. Meanwhile, my brother, who didn't go to college, still lives with my parents, has had a very tumultuous work history, and will likely never approach our parents' quality of life on several metrics. My husband is probably doing somewhat better than his parents (neither of whom had college degrees, but nonetheless had good jobs with the federal government). But the dramatic change in the value of real estate in our parents' cities (plus the cost of child care) has an outsized influence on how well we all perceive that we're doing.

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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by Rupert » Wed Mar 23, 2016 12:47 pm

Just reading through the comments, it appears that a lot of Baby Boomers and some Gen Xers report doing better than their parents. But the Millenials tell a different story. It would be interesting, to me at least, going forward if posters would identify their generation.

I'm doing better than my parents because I have more education than they had and chose a more lucrative career. I don't believe it had anything to do with the economy. I'm in Generation X.

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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by goingup » Wed Mar 23, 2016 12:50 pm

We have much bigger net worth than they had. They both had pensions, though, but didn't long enough to enjoy them much. :|

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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by mattshwink » Wed Mar 23, 2016 12:59 pm

Mixed bag. Mom stayed home until my brother and I went to college, then she went back to work (while my youngest brother was still at home). Dad was military, then federal employee, then state employee. When he retired he had 3 pensions plus a little social security. He was only retired 25 days before he passed (but he did collect the federal and military pensions for a few years prior to that). From a financial perspective they didn't have a lot in investments (~25k) but had plenty of cash (~200k) and lifetime income from the pensions and SS. Their house was also paid off (probably something that won't happen for a long time for me - though even with 17 years left on my mortgage I have more equity then their house was worth).

Investments wise my wife and I far surpassed what they had in our mid-30's. But we don't have any pensions.

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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by SouthernCPA » Wed Mar 23, 2016 1:32 pm

I'm a millennial and my parents were at the very tail end of the baby boomer era. I believe I'm doing about the same as my parents were at my age financially speaking. My father is an engineer and my mother was a nurse, I'm a CPA and my wife is a teacher.

Many millennials my age are struggling because they are buried in student debt and majored in fields that have virtually no employment prospects. I'm thankful that my parents saved up and paid for my college so I did not have student loans when I graduated. Dad, being the engineer who thinks all non-engineering degrees are cake walks (joking for all you engineers out there), said if I majored in something it needed to be an actual profession where they issue a state license so at least I would have a marketable skill or else he wasn't paying for it. Looking back, I'm thankful for this requirement because I can now earn a good living for my wife and I.

I believe I'm more focused on investing than my parents were at my age, but they also had pensions. They have done very well for themselves and will have no trouble retiring in the next few years. I hope I can do as well as them and stay the course on my investing.

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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by jsapiandante » Wed Mar 23, 2016 1:47 pm

Financially, much better. My parents started a business that, on paper, made them lots and lots of money. Enough to put two out of the three kids through college. I never paid attention when I was young but the more I learned about managing money, the more I learned about how bad they managed theirs. . Basically, all the worst financial decisions you can make, they probably made. Now, they're a few years from retirement and still hundreds of thousands in debt.

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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by BahamaMan » Wed Mar 23, 2016 1:54 pm

tennisplyr wrote:There's a lot written that the young folks today won't do as well as their parents did financially perhaps for the first time. I was wondering how you feel you are doing or have done compared to your parents? If you could explain why that would be helpful.
Asking this question of Bogelheads has a Big selection Bias.... The people that aren't doing that well, are working 2-3 jobs and don't have time for an internet Poll. The people here, are all interested in investing, which means they pretty much all have taken care of the Food, Clothing and Shelter issues.

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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by simplesimon » Wed Mar 23, 2016 2:03 pm

My parents are immigrants and moved to the U.S. when they were in their early 20's in 1980. My father is the hardest working person I know having worked two full-time blue collar jobs for most of my life and is hopefully retiring at the end of this year. My mother went from office assistant to SAHM and back to office assistant. I help manage their finances and their living expenses are so low that I tell them they can retire at any time given their combined investments, Social Security, and pensions, but they have their doubts.

I'm 31 and make more now than their three jobs combined, but feel the pressure of cost of living and uncertainty of the future. I save 30% of my income and by most measures I should be okay, but I have my doubts.
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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by Meg77 » Wed Mar 23, 2016 2:05 pm

I'm an "older Millennial" and am doing better than my parents were at my age.

Parents' Story
When my parents were my age they were both college grads and had just gotten married and had me. They lived in "the ghetto" in Montgomery, AL which was the only place my dad had been able to afford to buy a home on his entry level architect's salary after working his way through college. Allegedly they were the only white family in the neighborhood, which was just fine with them. My mom worked in sales for her dad's relatively new company. Both grew up in large families that struggled to make ends meet.

Dad moved over to become a broker at Merrill Lynch at hit a 6 figure income during the 80's while my mom stayed home to raise 4 kids. By the time I was 5 they began receiving generous annual gifts from my mom's parents whose business had taken off. They moved to Louisiana where my dad worked in his father's small business as CFO for another decade before he was pushed out and effectively early-retired around age 48 I think (he worked various other jobs for a year at a time but ended up finally considering himself retired a few years ago at age 52).

They divorced a few years back, but each are multi-millionaires - primarily due to inheritances/gifts from their respective parents.

My Story
Until I was 8 we lived in tiny homes and my parents scrimped a lot, but then we moved into a large beautiful home and began taking vacations to places none of my friends had ever visited like New York and Washington D.C. I even got to go to Europe once with my grandmother. I had the benefit of a private high school education which my parents did not, and I found out my grandparents had set aside a big fat college fund for me which I used to go to a private university and get a degree in finance. With the money leftover in that college fund I was able to put 20% on a perfectly nice condo as well as several rental properties in my 20s.

I married an MBA graduate whose education and income has far exceeded both his parents' (a nurse and a union commercial contractor). We both make 6 figures now and bought a beautiful half a million dollar home as our first home. Since we haven't had kids and both work, we have plenty of money to save and spend.

Comparison
So I'm doing "better" by various lifestyle and income metrics, but primarily because of my parents' and grandparents' hard work and financial success later in life which enabled me to start off well-educated and debt-free. Also largely because I'm part of a 2-income household at a time when my mom left the workforce and had the expenses of 4 kids in 6 years. Based on the big head start I've gotten, I predict I'll remain "better off" than they were financially, even if they manage to spend their inheritances before any trickles down to me!

For the record, I'd say my other three siblings are doing around as well or a bit better than my parents were at their ages too (maybe slightly lower incomes after inflation, but nicer houses and cars). They and their husbands don't have quite the income DH and I do, but I'm also the oldest so have had longer to save and be promoted.
"An investment in knowledge pays the best interest." - Benjamin Franklin

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Go Blue 99
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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by Go Blue 99 » Wed Mar 23, 2016 2:08 pm

I’m Gen-X and we are doing much better than my parents at the same age. But that’s not surprising. They were poor immigrants who never had a lot of money until late in their careers. We lived in a roach-infested apartment in the city when I was very young. Even when we moved out to the suburbs, they only bought a no-frills 2 bedroom/1 bathroom condo.

They never achieved their dream of owning a single family house, which was a huge regret for them. They wished they hadn’t been so frugal when buying their condo.

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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by Traveller » Wed Mar 23, 2016 2:08 pm

Hard to say compared to my parents as they built up substantial wealth, but then lost it all on some bad business deals and ended up with very little. I believe I have more now than they did at their high-water mark and like to think I'll keep it long term.

My in-laws on the other hand will be hard to catch up to. :moneybag :moneybag :moneybag :moneybag :moneybag

CWhea1775
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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by CWhea1775 » Wed Mar 23, 2016 2:09 pm

My wife and I are boomers and my parents were just (barely) too young to be directly involved in WWII. Financially my parents were better off than we are; he was a Physician with an Ivy League education, she was a stay at home mom; I am a government employee and my wife is an RN. Interestingly though my dad never wanted to learn about or talk about money due to an unfortunate family history, plus he divorced my mom and married a spendthrift second wife, so I would say that we are much better prepared than he was for retirement. Just had to help them get a reverse mortgage because they are about out of retirement savings at age 86. I think we will be fine well past that age with a pension, SS, and our savings.

hnzw rui
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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by hnzw rui » Wed Mar 23, 2016 2:13 pm

tennisplyr wrote:There's a lot written that the young folks today won't do as well as their parents did financially perhaps for the first time. I was wondering how you feel you are doing or have done compared to your parents? If you could explain why that would be helpful.
Older millennial here. Income-wise, definitely much better but that's thanks to my parents' sacrifices. My mom's a much better saver though so parents still have more savings than me but I expect to surpass that in the next 5 years or so. We migrated from the Philippines to the US when I was 19 so they had to start over at almost age 50 (hard to get hired at that age even for minimum wage jobs). They had PHP1m ($20k) savings which is a fairly significant sum in the Philippines but in SoCal, isn't even enough for a year's expenses unless you're receiving government subsidies.

Best advice we received was to get a government job (equal employment opportunity so there's less age discrimination). We'll all have pension and retiree medical although my pension is probably going to be much bigger than theirs.

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Elsebet
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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by Elsebet » Wed Mar 23, 2016 2:18 pm

After leaving the Navy, my dad worked at the same place (PA DOT) his entire career through all the ups and downs. He didn't attend college. My mom didn't work outside the home. We lived in a tiny town with ridiculously cheap COL. He did stress college to all of us. In fact I honestly didn't even consider college was something optional, it was something I had to do.

If I recall correctly the last tax return I saw of my father's when I was doing financial aid in 1998 or so was around 45k income, which would be plenty for where he lived. He had a pension from his long career at the DOT plus SS and they gave him an early retirement package. I have no idea on the specifics of that, he was very private about money to all of us (including my mom). I got a small amount of inheritance when he died, my two brothers got the bulk of his share of our family land and other property. I was left out of that because (I'm guessing) our relationship was iffy at best and I was the "weird vegetarian daughter" who moved far away from home to a large city for my college/career.

At 39 I make twice what my father did when he retired and I have a nice nest egg in my TA retirement accounts. However I will not have a pension with medical benefits like he did. I did retain his frugal habits, minimalist lifestyle, and and love of reading and gardening so I'm doing okay in comparison with other people I know.

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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by JDCarpenter » Wed Mar 23, 2016 2:55 pm

bubbadog wrote:Better, the result of being the first generation of my family to obtain a college degree. I then went on to medical school and financially things have gone fairly well.
Same here, although I got law degree and college sweetheart got her MD two years after we married. Never felt anything was lacking growing up and had a great family, but financially a different world for us then (and my siblings are still in that economic world). Bottom line though, I was blessed to grow up in a strong, intact family with mom and dad married nearly 50 years before his cigarettes finally got him.
________________
Edited to Add: I am 1960 vintage "boomer." My kids are in late 20's, and they may do better monetarily than us, or they may not. Having no student debt and being in dual income marriages with high paying professions gives them the choice, if they and their spouses choose to accept the concomitant time commitment....
Last edited by JDCarpenter on Wed Mar 23, 2016 5:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by Nowizard » Wed Mar 23, 2016 3:05 pm

We have done much better than my parents, somewhat better than my wife's parents. My parents were not interested in money, had terminal degrees and were professors and teachers who were civil rights activists. My wife and I have terminal degrees, as well, but I knew that I wanted more financially and we began investing early and consistently. That and blind luck in the early years have been beneficial.

Tim

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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by snowman » Wed Mar 23, 2016 3:26 pm

BahamaMan wrote:
tennisplyr wrote:There's a lot written that the young folks today won't do as well as their parents did financially perhaps for the first time. I was wondering how you feel you are doing or have done compared to your parents? If you could explain why that would be helpful.
Asking this question of Bogelheads has a Big selection Bias.... The people that aren't doing that well, are working 2-3 jobs and don't have time for an internet Poll. The people here, are all interested in investing, which means they pretty much all have taken care of the Food, Clothing and Shelter issues.
Very good observation, BahamaMan. While I love reading threads like this one, it also helps to put things into perspective.

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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by bjc3 » Wed Mar 23, 2016 3:36 pm

Far better than my parents. Makes me grateful that they pushed me to get a college education.
michaeljc70 wrote:I make much more money than my Father ever did due to college education and the field I work in. My Father had a union job (railroad) with low pay but great benefits. My Mother never worked.
...
For those that don't know, you contribute to railroad retirement rather than social security. My Mother, who never worked, automatically gets 1/2 of what my Father gets. Together, it is a pretty good pension - more than my Father ever made working.
FYI - My father worked for the railroad as well and is in the exact same situation as michaeljc70's. My mother gets 1/2 of what he gets. The only difference is my mother is a school teacher, so she will get some additional funds from the state.

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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by whatusername? » Wed Mar 23, 2016 3:38 pm

Older Millennial, and I'm doing well but probably not quite as well as my parents did. They were high earners and I grew up with a lot of advantages, one of which being their willingness to spend on education. I am considered affluent by income standards, and frugal by spending standards, but I'm relatively certain that I could not afford the educations they paid for.

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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by Gill » Wed Mar 23, 2016 3:47 pm

In my case it's difficult to answer. My father was a small town general practice physician from the 1930's to the 1970's interrupted by several years in the Navy, back when doctors were held in high esteem by nearly everyone in the community. He also was the city health officer for about fifteen years. My mother was a college graduate, valedictorian of her high school class and was a stay at home mom to four children. Dad drove a Cadillac and we lived in one of the nicest houses in town. At the time he retired in 1975 he was charging $7 for an office visit. He often worked seven days a week and all hours of the day and night. He worked and smoked himself to death and died at 70. He left my mother, who lived to be 100, quite comfortable, although I still cringe at the thought that it was mostly in seven stocks which fortunately did well.

I saw how hard he worked and how little time he had for his family. He also discouraged me from medicine feeling strongly it would be run by the government in my generation. He paid for my two Ivy League degrees without me having to borrow a cent. I became a lawyer and CPA and spent my career in banking. I have outlived him, am in excellent health, live in a beautiful home, drive nice cars, travel the world, and have a very comfortable retirement. Adjusted for inflation, I probably earned less than my father during my working years. Have I done better or worse than my parents? In some ways yes, in some ways no. I really don't know. :confused
Gill

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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by ClevrChico » Wed Mar 23, 2016 5:35 pm

Background: Parents were old boomers. I'm a young Gen-Xer. All lived a below your means/high savings lifestyle.

I surpassed their net worth in my early 30's. My parents lived in a very different financial world. Their investments were IRA's and annuities. They didn't have a company 401k until their 50's.

Financially, I've been much more successful. Access to low cost index funds, plentiful knowledge on the internet, and landing the right career at the right time (tech) gives me an unfair advantage.

Money isn't everything. They easily afforded a huge house with easier lifestyle in a small town. My dad used to get a round of golf in on his lunch hour. I can't even imagine that today.

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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by jucor » Wed Mar 23, 2016 5:47 pm

Boomer/Gen X border child here. Lots more $$ saved/invested than my parents, but not as likely to have as secure a long-term retirement. My father had three great pensions with amazing health care -- he's gone, and my mother, who will be 90 this year, is very well set in a good retirement community with enough coming in to more than cover expenses. That era is largely history, but we'll likely be very comfortable, barring a 20-year implosion of the market (of course, all bets are off if that happens!). :twisted:

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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by wolf359 » Wed Mar 23, 2016 5:54 pm

tennisplyr wrote:There's a lot written that the young folks today won't do as well as their parents did financially perhaps for the first time. I was wondering how you feel you are doing or have done compared to your parents? If you could explain why that would be helpful.
I believe the operative words are "young folks today." This refers to the Millennials, particularly those who came of age around 2008 and after. This also assumes adjusting for inflation.

The studies show that your first jobs highly influence your subsequent jobs. Those who came onto the job market in 2008 and shortly after either found no jobs, or took much reduced salaries. Many took jobs for which they had not originally trained (like college graduates working at Starbucks.)

I don't think these conditions apply to Baby Boomers or Gen Xers. Even the older Millennials who hit the job market before 2008 may have avoided this bullet.

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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by MrKnight » Wed Mar 23, 2016 6:00 pm

tennisplyr wrote:There's a lot written that the young folks today won't do as well as their parents did financially perhaps for the first time. I was wondering how you feel you are doing or have done compared to your parents? If you could explain why that would be helpful.
I am doing far better financially than my parents ever did at the age of 29. My parents were both immigrants in their 20s and 30s. Their salary varied between minimum wage and $14 hour (and often unemployed), which is the same nominal pay they were making when they first entered this country 30+ years ago (so less in real terms). They also lacked health insurance.

I am 29 and make more than their combined income. Their wealth does exceed mine due to their home equity. Living expenses are higher now relative to when they first entered this country and their wage has remained the same on nominal terms, never mind real terms.

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