We all know housing prices have gone way up. It’s great news for some. Since many of our parents and grandparents bought homes decades ago, far higher housing prices mean far more wealth for them.
But what’s been good for our retiring parents is generally bad for us. High home prices squeeze generations in their 40s and under with crushing debt, which they must pay with wages that have fallen compared to a generation ago, and in jobs that rarely contribute pensions.
The national response? Governments spend less than $12k on benefits and services per Canadian under 45, compared to more than $33k for every retiree.
This is NOT a “good deal” if you are in your 40s or younger. Despite Canada’s economy producing more wealth than ever before, investments made in our generation look a little scant, or unbalanced. And that’s before talking about the larger government and environmental debts we inherit.
Still, our generation is doing all it can to adapt. To compete for better employment, we squeeze in YEARS more of education and tuition. To buy a place, we accept jobs or contracts that require us to work YEARS more to save a down payment. And for many, this means we wait YEARS longer to move out of our parents’ homes, or to establish our financial independence.
Work and Postponement are our coping mechanisms.
Problem is, most of us can’t work our way out of this time and income squeeze unless we give up something fundamental – the opportunity to have the family we may want or the financial foundation we’ve patched together.
Since two earners barely bring home today what one breadwinner did in the 1970s, we’ve gone from 40 hour work weeks to closer to 80 hours. The result? Generations raising young kids are squeezed for time at home. They are squeezed for income because housing prices are nearly double, even though young people often live in condos, or trade yards for time-consuming commutes. And they are squeezed for services like child care, which are essential for parents to deal with rising costs, but are in short supply, and cost more than university.
We can change this. While the deck may be stacked against us now, we can get A Better Generational Deal – one that gives all generations a chance, including Gen Squeeze. Squeeze back with us to make this Better Deal a reality.