About Us Contact Us Privacy Policy
© GOOD Worldwide Inc. All Rights Reserved.

25 financial differences between parents and their kids that show drastic changes in economy

The many differences between different generations' financial habits show how much the economy has changed over the decades.

25 financial differences between parents and their kids that show drastic changes in economy
Representative Cover Image Source: Pexels| Pixabay, Reddit| u/Asmothroaway6969

The financial landscape has undergone profound changes over the years, significantly affecting various generations differently. From expenses and income to prospects and investments, everything has shifted, aligning with today's economic structure and lifestyle. Consequently, the financial practices of today's generations diverge markedly from those of their parents.

Representative Image Source: Pexels|
Representative Image Source: Pexels| Pixabay

Right from buying groceries to owning a house, no financial practice is the same as it was years ago. Many things one's parents could easily afford are now sold at mind-boggling prices. The newer generations are forced to practice even tighter and frugal habits in this economy. That being said, some changes have made their way for the better. u/Asmothrowaway6969 asked people to share experiences that gave them a dose of the ever-changing reality and many shared their stories.

1. Deducted salary

"My dad just retired at 76, he has a great pension and was making 150k and they asked him to retire this year for a 1-year pay. His replacement is making 45k, has no retirement package and has more duties than my dad did, so overall is doing the job of 2 people who were paid 150k each."-u/worktillyouburk "When my husband was hired they started at $25/hr, time and a half overtime, free health insurance, life insurance, etc. When people started becoming desperate, they started hiring out of temp agencies. They make $12 hr and have zero benefits." -u/PickledPercocet

2. Unbelievable costs of houses

"My uncle casually said he bought their house (valued at 1.5 mil now) when they were 28 at $28,000." -u/HellyOHaint "I remember that my parents bought our house (3br, 1.5 bath) at around 40,000 USD back in 1997. I don't live in the US anymore, so I have no idea about property prices. But I just looked up houses for sale in my hometown and a literal plot of land costs as much as our house cost. The cheapest houses are like 160,000 USD. My parents were poor and they could afford a house. I'm doing much better than them financially but I couldn't afford a house." u/TSllama 

3. More workload vs pay 

"About 5 years ago, my mom and I were talking and she told me how much she was going to be making in retirement (she retired in 2023). Guys, it's 3x what me and my husband make annually. In retirement. I think that was the moment that broke me, that made it sink in that I'll never reach that level of financial security. I'll work myself into my grave because I'll never be able to afford anything else." -u/Asmothrowaway6969

4. Not just generational 

"I’m getting tired of this narrative that everyone in the generation before us had it so well off. My dad had 3 factories close on him and never got a pension or good retirement. He had a little saved in an IRA that he managed to scrap together in his later years of self-employment.

Every generation has people who did well and those who didn’t. I have friends who got into the tech field early and are making bank and I’m far from what they make. But I’m also better than others in my generation." -u/general_kael04

5. Difference in living environment

"For me personally, it depends on what metric I’m using for a comparison. I’m 33 and make far more money than either one of my parents ever has. But because of the vastly increased cost of living, I don’t “have” as much as they did at my age. Namely, a house. At my age, my parents had already been homeowners for years whereas it’s still really not on my horizon at all." -u/sts816

Representative Image Source: Pexels| Pavel Danilyuk
Representative Image Source: Pexels| Pavel Danilyuk

6. Lifestyle and effort

"My mom has a nice pension, and a school teacher at the height of public pensions in a city, but I already make more than she ever did, my husband makes more than my dad did at that age. I think probably ahead we are both savers by nature and have a lot invested, though my dad ended up doing quite well in his career probably more than either of us will ever make so who knows. If we were willing to work harder / more hours / more high-pressure jobs we maybe could but we like our work/life balance and spending time with our kids." -u/drinkingtea1723

7. Different responsibilities 

"My wife makes more than her mom ever did working part-time, from home. I passed my dad's income at around 35 years old. Our net worth exceeds both sets of parents, put together. Our house is worth more than both of theirs put together as well. That said, they invested in us. They paid for my college and her college, at least what wasn't covered by scholarships. Her mom gave us cash to help with a down payment on a starter home." -u/NeoGeo2015

8. Messed-up housing conditions 

"A lot of millennials and Gen-Z here are moving to the city into rowhomes since it's all they can afford. Gentrification is bad for the existing residents but the other side of the coin is that housing has gotten insane to the point where people have no other options if they wanna be homeowners except moving to the hood (and subsequently turning it around). We're considering doing it too just to get a fixed housing expense and not having to worry every time the lease runs out." -u/SilverBolt52

9. Older generations had their problems 

"Too many people celebrate the bare minimum. My parents did very, very, well so the bar is set high, but I’m about to surpass them in my 30s by simply investing in myself, finding ways to provide value to others, and taking a long-term perspective." -u/CNYtoSWFL "My grandparents grew up with a mud floor in their house. My parents grew up without running water. I can afford a little house which I'll buy soon. But no, I grew up with intergenerational trauma from colonization. In these times I will always be better. And if not, I'm glad they have every blessing they did." -u/LobsterAgile415

10. Variety of novel financial choices 

"That’s the type of mentality that will keep you feeling defeated. Yes obviously the purchasing power of the dollar has gone down over the years and we are experiencing a lot more financial hardships outside of our control but there are more opportunities now because of the modern technology we have. Also becoming financially secure has more to do with how well you manage and invest your money throughout your life so if you’re good with managing money/investing, or willing to learn, then you can potentially make more than your parents did and achieve financial independence." -u/anonymous-rebel

Representative Image Source: Pexels| Karolina Grabowska
Representative Image Source: Pexels| Karolina Grabowska

11. Other forms of investment and expenses

"I’ve made more money than my mom since I was in high school but she has a house that’s paid off, free healthcare, and now her pension and social security. Even though I make more money and live much more frugally I am miles behind my parents."  -u/BuzzyScruggs94 "I started looking into salaries now vs then - my dad’s salary 30 years ago in today’s dollars doesn’t come close to the increase in the value of their house in those 30 years. The house values have shot up while salaries have stagnated. Today, I can’t come close to affording their house." -u/ocean-blue-

12. Ever-increasing prices

"The housing boom of the last few years I think really did it for me. I’m a (young) real estate attorney so I’ve been seeing firsthand all the contracts going for $100k-200k+ over asking in my area, or the 40 offers on one property over a weekend, or the houses somehow managing to appraise just at these insane prices. People waiving appraisal and inspections (!!) just to get their already over-asking offer accepted. I’ve seen houses clients bought in 2018 nearly double in value when they went to sell last year. My parents wouldn’t be able to afford their house if they were trying to buy it now." -u/ocean-blue-

13. Standard of living 

"My parents never really had anything. My standard of living is miles above what theirs was at my age (or any point after) even though I make a very humble wage for someone with a professional job. I feel for my friends who came from stable well-to-do families and feel like they haven’t done/made enough, even though they’ve done quite well for themselves." -u/beefclef

14. All about time 

"I will never make what my parents are making right now but I will make what they made while they had us as kids, so I’m not getting that feeling of being left behind. Does that make sense? My parents were typically middle-class parents when I was younger. My spouse and I are in the same boat. My father now makes $1M/year while my mother is retired early. My spouse and I will never reach that level of wealth. My father didn’t start making that kind of money until I graduated college and was out of the house."  -u/102015062020

15. Change in money value 

"My mom was an admin assistant. My dad was an electrical engineer until he became a process consultant. He tried management for a bit, hated it, and took a demotion to spend the rest of his career as an individual contributor. They're retired in a beautiful home after raising 2 kids. I worked as a software engineer for 12 years until I became a software development manager. I have 13 direct reports. I married an office manager. We don't have kids, we don't have debt, and we don't take wild vacations. My home is older and smaller than my parents' home." -u/T-Flexercise

Representative Image Source: Pexels|
Representative Image Source: Pexels|

16. Longer periods to collect and save

"I make far more than my parents, so never. But my mom has gone back to school and became an NP in the last decade, so they're doing decent now. My husband's dad makes over 500K a year, but we are within 100K of catching up. I expect we will before we are finished working." -u/MyCupcakesAreHot "I’m far more well off than my parents. Not that it’s anything to brag about because we were poor and I’m poor by today's standards. But I have savings and retirement which is more than they did. I still don’t have a house though." -u/Courwes

17. External Factors 

"I think the people of this sub highly overestimate the monetary value of boomers. I was making more than my mom ever had when I was 22– and I was only making $40k. Poverty and income inequality are and always have been a major issue in the US." -u/lil-jabroni  "I’m not sure I’ll ever hit the peaks that my parents did but my adult life has been and likely will continue to be a lot more stable than their lives were. Plus my parents worked extremely hard, and have always helped me and my husband. So it doesn’t feel unfair to me. I’m not going to do as well as them in part because I like having a work/life balance that favors the 'life' part." -u/DuckDuckSeagull

18. Added responsibilities 

"Significantly better off than parents and worry every day about how they’ll afford to retire. Imagine that some of it will likely be on my shoulders, unfortunately. They busted their asses in low-income physically labor-intensive jobs their whole lives and I will make sure they’re comfortable. Along with making sure I have enough money to retire, support future children, etc. I don’t think people in your position realize how fortunate you are to not have to worry about supporting your parents on top of yourself. " -u/What_what_putt_butt

19. Retired vs Working generation 

"You need to put in the work to get what you want, it isn't going to be given to you. Yes, for us, it is more challenging compared to our parents but we have to stop crying about how unfair it is and whatnot and take action to get what we want. You still have time, our generation isn't retiring for at least another 20 years so you have time to make the moves you need to retire comfortably like your mom did." -u/Ponchvilla18

20. Unique financial scenarios

"As my wife and I have generated a snowball of investments that are self-funding itself despite significant annual withdrawals, upon our demise our children will inherit wealth along with the knowledge of how to grow and successfully manage their inheritance. We routinely just give them cash. One of our children is not yet financially set and we provide resources for him, but always provide equal amounts to our other children." -u/dgs1959

Representative Image Source: Pexels| Polina Zimmerman
Representative Image Source: Pexels| Polina Zimmerman


21. Course of life and plans 

"As my wife and I have generated a snowball of investments that are self-funding itself despite significant annual withdrawals, upon our demise our children will inherit wealth along with the knowledge of how to grow and successfully manage their inheritance. We routinely just give them cash. One of our children is not yet financially set and we provide resources for him, but always provide equal amounts to our other children." -u/kellyooh

22. Inflation and its problems 

'When I reached the target salary that should’ve been what made me financially comfortable, and then the post-pandemic greedflation hit after the pandemic and now I’m behind again." -u/TheShape1078 "Yes, inflation is truly wild. I make £58,000 now and it's the same as when I was making £35,000 two years ago. I've hustled hard for the increase but I have no extra luxuries to show for it." -u/Keeping100 "The worst part is I'm better off than my parents and I'm still poor. There are no windfalls coming my way." -u/Ookamikurogane

23. Financial success isn't based on age milestones 

"My financial situation changed dramatically during my 30s. Not ridiculous but steady pay raises combined with having student loans paid off through PSLF moved my wife and me from the middle Middle class to now being Upper class (outside the middle class). This kinda stuff doesn't happen overnight. I think there's a fantasy that by 30 things should turn around. If I keep going on this trajectory, I will also appear loaded by 62, but that won't showcase what it took and how long it took to get there." -u/Delta-Q2

24. Tougher obstacles 

"I’ve been clean and working hard for five years but between inflation and lack of further education, it’s hard. I’m above the poverty line, work very hard, and am fortunate enough to have inherited a bit of wealth. If I want to do as well as my parents, I’ll probably have to take some courses. Right now, I’m investing and I do ‘okay’ so there’s still a chance." -u/babibackribz

25. Need to keep up with the economic trends

"I look around at the economy nowadays and I have no idea how anyone could make it. I look at Gen Z and Gen A and I have no idea how they could even hope to dream to make it on their own. At least I got to strike while the iron was lukewarm. Realistic goals helped get me to where I am now. People are trying to set out and buy houses for 3 times the amount I paid for mine. Gas was $0.97 when I started driving. You used to be able to get a whole car with the money you got back from income tax." -u/Bsweet1215

Representative Image Source: Pexels| Karolina Grabowska
Representative Image Source: Pexels| Karolina Grabowska

More Stories on Scoop