As a child in the 1970s, I felt like I was living on the edge of a green pasture. The baby boomers were piled ahead of me and it was a time of profound economic growth. I walked past schools that were overflowing with portable units to manage the crowds, but by the time it came for me to enrol in them, they were closing down from the lack of enrolment. I realized that we live in a financial environment the way animals live in a habitat, and that it affects us on a very personal level.
Economic growth that happened during my toddlerhood had given way to inflation that marked my childhood, the way a big parade leaves a trail of garbage in its wake. When you’re tagging along at the tail end, you know there’s been a big party ahead of you, but all you cansee is litter and the clean up crews. It was a bit like growing up in the line up for an amusement park that had, just that minute, declared itself full to capacity and pulled the rope across the door just as you got to the front of the line.
I am the demographic leading edge of Gen X, and have found this has had a huge impact on me financially. As a child, I grew up in a sense of wealth and rising prospects, but also profound inflation and a confusion about what things were fundamentally worth. As a teen, I entered the workforce into an economy undergoing the flood of young adults into the labour market. Younger, and with less experience, I couldn’t find jobs. Anywhere. I spent my summers at the beach and couldn’t decide if I was lazy or lucky. I redirected back into school because I wanted to be a professor, but by the time I graduated from my B.A. there were already hiring freezes in universities across Canada. Read the rest of this entry »