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Monthly Archives: June 2015
When does the word “Dear” mean something other than, “I like you and want to convey my affection.” Possibly when you are a small, old person, standing in flats because your feet hurt too much to wear heels, making you look even smaller and frailer than you really are, and much to your chagrin someone calls you “dear”.
“Well that’s your problem”, the clerk says, “I certainly didn’t mean to offend you by addressing you in such a nice, kind way.”
If you are old, and you have lived in a house with the same partner for most of your adult life, you are part of this interesting Statcan 2011 statistic:
- The majority of Canadians (65.4%) over 65 lived as part of a couple
- Of men 65-69, 66.5% lived in single-detached houses. Of women 60.4% lived in single detached houses
- Of seniors 85 and over, 44.3% of men and 30.9% of women lived in single-detached housing
- All others lived in collective housing or with family
I haven’t found statistics for how many of these older people have lived in the same house for all of their married lives. However, several people in my circle of family, friends and acquaintances are doing exactly that.
My husband and I are not represented in this group—we have been more like the Boomers—switching homes, careers, and sometimes life partners. However, the majority of people born between 1926 and 1945 (the Lucky Few) were more cautious in their life choices. Many met their potential mates in church or in the community, and conformed to the pressures of those institutions. As in their career choices, they opted for safety, staying married when their relationship faltered, toughing it out during challenges with their careers or teenaged children.
Why “The Lucky Few”, Are the Richest Generation (and Why Nobody Else is Happy About It)
Think The Lucky Few are not the Richest Generation? Here are three reasons we disagree:
- The median net worth for Canadian seniors 65 and over is $460,700 ($182,500 for Canadians under 44 years old)
- The poverty rate for seniors is 6.7% (15.1% for children)
- 42% of Canadian millionaires are 65 or older.
How did this happen? In the 1970s nearly 40% of Canadian seniors were poor. They had long been considered society’s most at-risk citizens. Younger Canadians were called upon to respect these elders and reward them for their hard work and sacrifice during the depression and World War II.
During the 1950s, just as the Canadian economy was taking off, the lucky few were in their 20s. Financial discipline, public policy and good economic timing set the stage for their upward climb:
They belong to the generation of people born between 1926 and 1945. The world events that most defined them were the Great Depression of 1929-1939 and World War II. They occupied a unique place in history:
- They watched their parents struggle through the depression
- Food and money were scarce
- They were cautious, self-sufficient and hated any form of waste
- They were employed for life at the same company
- They were often promoted through the ranks until their retirement at 65.
- They didn’t complain, they accepted their annual increases and company benefits, and simply got on with the job
Perhaps the last generation to rely heavily on pension plans and Social Security benefits, they were confident that they would have enough money to live well to at least age 85.
Over the past 30 years, the proportion of the Canadian population made up of those aged 65 years and older has increased from 9% to 14%, a trend also evident in other developed countries.
The lucky few are those of us born between 1926 and 1945. If that includes you, WWI bypassed you, and you came of age just in time to miss WWII. But that’s only part of it. You were the first generation to be indulged as children, you became teenagers just as the western world was emerging from the depression, and later, from the privations of a devastating war.
As you were growing up, you were privy to an explosion of wealth and economic stability. Let’s say, for instance, you were born in 1930, and turned 18 in 1948—western economies had just started to boom. When you graduated, the world teemed with opportunities. You could have your pick of jobs. Like Woody Allen said several years later, all you had to do was “show up”.