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What we earn – and the way in which we earn it – is changing. Fast. Research from finance experts Wizzcash explores how each UK generation has faced different economic problems – from the Swing Generation of the 1930s and ‘40s right up to the present day.

Analysing the post-war prospects of the Baby Boomers to today’s Millennials, Generation Debt looks at the price of a pint, the average home, day-to-day costs and even life expectancy to build a picture of how generation to generation have been affected by the changing economy.

The guide reveals that:

  • House prices have rocketed – in the mid-’90s, the average house price was £116,685 in today’s money – now it’s more than double that at £227,000.
  • Our personal finances have changed almost beyond recognition – in the ‘60s, a pint of beer cost 5p – today, it’s £3.31.
  • But despite the uncertain economic landscape, Millennials are more confident about their finances than their predecessors.

Let’s look at a few sample generations form the guide and compare and contrast their different financial fortunes.

The Baby Boomers versus the Millennials

It’s often said the Baby Boomers (born 1945 – 1960) have it pretty good. How do the Boomers shape up against the Millennials of today (born 1980 – 2000)?

  • The Baby Boomers have an average life expectancy of 73 – that’s compared to an expectancy of 80 for the Millennials, or Generation Y.
  • In the 1980s, if a Baby Boomer fancied popping to the pub for a pint, it would have set them back 35p – or £1.85 in today’s money. For the Millennials, a pint is a whopping £3.85. However, 1 in 4 MIllennials are teetotal…
  • University-going Baby Boomers definitely had it better than today’s crop of students. In the UK in the 1980s, university tuition was free, although there were maintenance grants to repay. Today, tuition fees are capped at £9,000 for most students, although some pay less.
  • Baby Boomers enjoyed some disposable income, around £7,347 a year – but the Millennials have a bit more cash lying around – about £13,980.
  • When it comes to financial confidence, 35% of Baby Boomers are confident about their money, compared to 29% of Millennials.

What happens next?

So what do we know? We live in an uncertain world, shaped by unexpected events – political, financial, cultural. It’s thought life expectancy will reach the 90s in wealthier areas by as soon as 2030 – this raises lots of questions.

For many of today’s young adults, economic uncertainty is the new normal. The next generation will know they need to make their own way in the world; it will be up to them to embrace this challenge with confidence and an entrepreneurial spirit.

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