Not Gen-X, Y or Z. Gen-E or Generation Entitlement and I’m one of them. Let me explain:
Gen-E, unlike its counterparts Gen X & Y and Millennials can’t be defined by the period of time in which you were born. Generation E encompasses not just a time period of births but a group of people found in every generation and I think this group seems to be growing in number. I have learned a lot in recent years and as I’ve grown up I have begun to see the world around me differently. I now look around me in amazement at the attitude many people in my environment have. They expect and accept as normal things that even I never had as a child.
My family has humble beginnings. I grew up in a family of little means and I still remember simplicity vividly. Basic winter veggies in the winter, cabbage & potatoes. Handing down clothes to my siblings, rabbit ears – no cable, my mother mending and sewing pants for me, my father working 6 long days a week. We didn’t get brand name-anything. The first house my parents bought in the early eighties (before I came into existence) did not have plumbing, the indoor toilet was a wooden seat with a round hole and a bucket underneath. Things change, I know. My parents managed their money well, worked very hard and eventually eked out a better, more comfortable spot in the world. They did well and they deserve some rewards for what they’ve achieved. (I think I got the whole ‘buy an old old house and fix it-thing from them)
Unfortunately a lot of other people, including myself aren’t like that. We don’t grow up to count every penny and we don’t really really learn that to buy that nice thing you must earn it first. My two youngest sisters are definitely used to a few things. We think we deserve a nice vehicle and a house. 10 year olds now walk around with Iphones, cellphones, laptops, brand name gazingus pins and a whole lotta other widgets and we think it’s normal. We think we are entitled to all this crap and privilege and I think Seriously? But when I really take a close look at myself I’m no different. I have entitlement issues just like every one else. I like gadgets and cool stuff just as much as you do.
There is a reason I blog about personal finance. It’s not just something I happen to be interested in. It’s something that happened to me. I spent money when I shouldn’t have and that landed me here. I used my credit-card to buy things I couldn’t afford and yes, I admit I also used my student-loan for things that shouldn’t have been put on there. I’m sure that aside from books and tuition there are also a few burgers and items of clothing on there accumulating a fine 4% interest until I pay the stupid thing off.
This is called entitlement and I’m a bit ashamed of it because I’m no different than everyone else. I feel entitled to a job that has benefits and pays more than minimum wage, I feel entitled to have good looking clothing and a nice house. I feel entitled to have a car and good health and I think I deserve all of it. In reality though very few of the things I feel entitled to I’ve actually earned.
When I go back in history and look at the time BEFORE credit-cards and all kinds of equity-loans were normal I see that people made do until they could afford something. Buying it anyway even if they didn’t have the money wasn’t an option. There may have been some lay-away options but you certainly wouldn’t have walked into a furniture store to buy that nice sofa on your credit-card. It’s not how the world worked back then.
Now, I’m not saying I’d like to go back in history 100 years because I do like my laptop and Internet but… maybe it’s not such a bad thing to start living in the past when it comes to entitlement: Don’t buy something unless you’ve earned it. Don’t buy stuff on a store-credit card because you need the newest gadget and don’t buy CRAP you can’t afford. If you don’t have the money in the bank but think you deserve something anyway – you’ve got an entitlement issue.