Generational divide and conquer: The need to develop an intergenerational compact in Australia
Tim Beshara
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As one member of the generation sandwiched between two loud generations, the generation that often gets overlooked in any of these sorts of discussions, I’m seeing a lot of my generation quietly putting in place strategies to help their children — who will probably never be able to buy a house, sighing and getting on with working out how they will support their parents in their old age AND their kids through university since it looks increasingly likely that there will be no other means of support into the future.

And many of my generation are doing this without having managed to get into the housing market themselves, without having conquered the art of wealth generation due to the Boomers beating them to it and squeezing them out, knowing full well that they probably won’t have enough to retire on (so many dodgy companies in the 90's and 00's who never paid super) and will definitely not get to do the type of gray nomad thing, gleefully ‘spending their children’s inheritance’, that Boomers are busy doing. We won’t be able to afford that.

Many of us are now at an age where, rather than being at the peak of our careers and earning capacity, we’re still trying to climb the ladder while already coming up against age discrimination and still juggling school aged children and their needs.

One thing Hugh Mackay is right about is that Gen X tends not to get vocal about it though. We know it’s unfair. We know nothing will be done about it. We know no-one’s going to help us. We grew up knowing that we’d have to do it on our own, in our own way. And we are. That doesn’t mean we don’t fight — what I’ve observed is that Xers have a stubborn sort of resilience that means they just turn their back on the status quo and do their own thing, outside the system. But again, not in a showy way, like Gen Y. We’re quietly but persistently disruptive.

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