My teenage years were spent entirely in the 1990s when half-hour sitcoms ruled television and when the internet was just in its beginning. In high school it was strongly advised that we attend post secondary after or there would be a very good chance that we would become losers because a high school education isn’t good enough any more they said.
Post secondary education was probably advised to generations graduating high school a decade before I graduated but I get the sense that it wasn’t as strongly urged. If you were an adult in the 1980s there were still quite a few of those slacker union jobs you could get straight out of high school.
Back then a clerk at a big supermarket chain could earn twenty-something dollars an hour in a time when life was also less expensive. All those jobs are gone now.
The good pensions have become fewer. Most companies seem to be offering a matching contribution instead of the defined benefit plan that promises you a guaranteed monthly amount for life that you can also pass on to your spouse. The outcome of the former which is still much better than nothing is largely dependant on how the financial markets perform. If the stock market goes to shit and never recovers, your pension could be worth crap.
A detached home is not affordable for most people where I’m living. I’m not sure if most people have comfortably accepted that idea yet. Some can afford an apartment and many others will have to rent for the rest of their lives. Home ownership was a means for retirement for many. If you don’t own a home or a pension, you’d better hope you inherit something or that you earn a decent income.
The standard of living for the unambitious in Canada and America has declined. It’s getting worse but compared to most of history this era ranks way up there. Unfortunately, people have a very difficult time adjusting to going backwards.
I might be in trouble. Hopefully some of you out there will like me enough one day to take me in if need be. I make pretty good oatmeal.