Meager Means: The Silent Generation

Anna DeMeuse
Dec 13, 2016 · 3 min read

“We didn’t have much, but what we did have we made the most of.” These are the words of a wise woman named Johanetta. As a member of the Silent generation she knows and understands the hardships of the money struggle in hard times.

Growing up in the wake of the Great Depression and experiencing World War II, Johanetta knew the meaning of the word sacrifice. With her large family of many brothers and sisters, the rations were small, the money was scarce and the work was hard, but you did your part to contribute to the family’s needs. She recalls vary hard times where there was barely enough money or resources to put food on the table. She remembers her friends being shipped off to war and the hardships that came with that. Because of this, Johanette, never had to be extremely focused on money. In, the article Money Matters & Millennials, Elizabeth Fonferek spoke about only buying what you could afford. Further along in the conversation she mentions her specific budget which happens to be the Dave Ramsey plan and how that dictates most of her spending and savings. The difference here? The millennials stick to a budget of their choosing while those of the silent generation stick with the budget that was prescribed to them by the hard times surrounding them.

Those of the silent generation are what can be most accurately described as frugal spendors. Steve Henderson, of the U.S. Deparment of Labor blog, gathered data to show this very fact here. Whatever those of the silent generation purchase is most likely a necessary item or a need for either themselves or another. This generation is very willing and eager to help those around them. Again, this tendency is rooted in their surroundings as they grew and developed within the society around them that was facing hard and desperate times.

The contrast is stark between the Millennials and the Silent Generation, and there are even large contrasts between this generation and the one it raised, the baby boomers. To spend on experiences and not things was and is hardly the mindset of this generation as most of the purchases that this group makes is only for what they need or what they esitmate they will need. But, at the end of the day, each generation contributes a valuable sum to the world and the economy by spending exactly the amount they choose to spend.

The differences between these three generations contribute to the economic growth and development that we have seen thus far in our society today, and taking a look into those who lived within their time and generation have caused me to open up my eyes to the way I view the money I earn and the way I seek to spend and save the money at hand. To reiterate the words of Maria and David Schuette on my own: I will try to save as much as I can, but live a life that brings me joy because at the end of the day you can’t take your belongings with you, but you’ll always have the memories, the love, and the joy you shared. So, “make the most of it all.”

Generations of Spending

A glance into the spending habits and ideologies of various…

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