I came across an article that the Guardian published titled Revealed: 20 Year Economic Betrayal Dragging Down Generation Y Income.
In a nutshell, the gap between pensioner and below 30’s income earnings is drastically widening and this doesn’t bode well for society. Why should you care about this? Well, I think the closing statement in the article sums it up quite nicely:
“We’ve never had, since the dawn of capitalism really, this situation of a population that is ageing so much and in some countries also shrinking, and we just don’t know whether we can continue growing the economy in the same way we once have.
Wow that sounds bad. Many would read that and think, well, crap, now what are we going to do. I read OPPORTUNITY.
Why is the country shrinking? No one is having babies. When you have mountains of student debt, are earning a lackluster income, and constantly being faced with increasing expenses, owning a house and starting a family is just a far off dream.
At the same time we have many baby boomers wanting and ready to retire but suffering from market losses on their portfolios and increased need to support their children who are taking longer to “grow up.” Do we just sit back and hope for the best?
The more urgent problem in these two situations appears to be the baby boomers as their retirement is on the horizon. However every year it seems people are working longer, and delaying retirement. Eventually our bodies are going to say enough is enough and health will determine ability to work. What happens when a large percentage of the population doesn’t have enough money to get by? Maybe income supplementing? Where are we going to get the additional revenue to contribute to CPP and other benefits? The answer, taxpayers, aka the working class. Except, the “working” class is at home, in moms basement, working a job that doesn’t put a big enough dent in their student debt. They are saddled with debt from going to school and taking a program which they thought would guarantee a large salary upon graduation. Maybe they have a decent job at the nearby bank or small business but are not making enough to cover living expenses. For those who are working, finding out that your next paycheque will have even MORE deductions in order to assist the generations which came before you, doesn’t help your situation!
This feels like a huge problem. I’m tired just writing about it!
The good news is where there is problem there is opportunity. What sorts of products and services are these groups going to require based on their lifestyles? Maybe new financial products will be developed that offer better flexibility. Maybe the job market will change and we will see an increased amount of contractors and consultants as employers don’t want to take on the risk of hiring additional employees but require tasks to be completed. Perhaps housing arrangements will change and we will see a greater amount of the population living together with second or third generations.
The government will step in where possible but ultimately it’s up to us to find ways to navigate these waters.
How can you benefit from these societal shifts? How can we turn around all of these bad news stories into stories of opportunity?