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My Daughter, a 1%’er ? Vol 33

January 10, 2014

If hearing the phrase Rosanna Rosannadanna brings on a smile, and a tear of sadness, you must be a Boomer ! 


My 26 year old daughter is home, between employers, renting my basement as she soon starts her new job, and looks for a roommate. Since I was married at her age, and thus already had a mate, I have no advice for her on the SWF front. Aside from the obligatory room and board cost discussion, my focus with her has been on exploring various avenues of thought on the issues of the day.

Finally, here was my chance to quiz a Millennial, born in 1987, an educated ( she has a Masters and is working in her field ), traveled ( multiple universities, with time off for New Zealand  – yes, daddy paid a portion ), an erudite and yet focused group of friends, a cohort of lawyers, phd’s,  masters, 2nd language types, and environmentalists.

If you have the chance to quiz an offspring, don’t focus on the economics. I realize there are discussions in this area that need undertaking, especially if you are funding, even partially, their lifestyle by letting them use your basement. Necessary discussions, tough love, however painful. However,  its a great opportunity to get some real coaching. Who else will give you the real goods, in terms of their thoughts unencumbered by an economic prerogative or intellectual slant ? Your kids already expect monetary help, and think of you as inferior, so whats to lose by asking some leading questions ? Translating their answers so that they are understandable may take a village, but is worthwhile. Just be positive, and listen, listen, listen. 

As an aside, one comment from my daughter concerned the lack of financial knowledge or education that was available during her schooling. As she switches jobs and provinces, she is aghast at the amount of taxes she now pays. I resist the urge to lecture, as I am in listen mode. Besides, any hint of a criticism will end the conversation, and I will lose the opportunity to fail. I do point out some fundamental financial thoughts, like the idea that the sooner you start to save, the less you have to save later to retire comfortably. I am not sure the idea took, but I tried.

So, what was their action plan for the environment ? How would they suggest attacking inequality, both economic and social ? Were they for full immigration, or should there be consequences. Legalize pot, and what about the criminals who just wanted to supply what we all wanted ? Specifically, how about gay rights, or the war on poverty ? A group that should have answers, right !

Surprisingly not ! I grant you that its a small sample size, but these 1 % of their generation are not focused on any big social causes. Instead, they seem to be focused on many of the standard themes of their age group, namely dating, career advancement,  not getting tied down necessarily, and the lack of commitment from boys. Their singular focus seems to be encapsulated by the “live and let live” mantra. Gay marriage, for example fits the ” as long as two consulting adults agree, who are we to intervene” civil rights view prevalent today. Be the best you can be may be the new slogan for our kids, as they seem to be the least values judgemental group I can think of.

Really, isn’t this what the Arab Spring is all about? If this is our greatest western export – this started to sound very egotistical in my head, like us in the west had somehow stumbled into a truth suddenly, and could now preach our wisdom worldwide with impunity. Personally, I prefer to think of our war dead and the financial cost already given to the Middle East Uprisings as starter fuel – hey, Sunni / Shiite, its up to you now, we have done our bit !!!!  –  well, thats not bad, considering. Materialism is a means to an end, and our kids realize that. Thank god the ME generation did not survive the 90’s. 

The conversation, over our vegetarian dinner, was relaxed. My daughter was not troubled by the issues that seemed to occupy my thoughts. Remembering that from her point of view, the world was a great place, the idea that Boomer issues had their place, and that their place was not currently on a millennial’s brainspan, is a great gift we give our kids. I am reminded that some things are age dependant, and rightfully so. The fact I do not yet enjoy opera, or wish to travel back to the Irish ancestral home is not to ignore the urge, but to realize that some things are time sensitive. They will mean more if realized at the appropriate time. 

Having said all that, How should Boomers react ? Should we be remain protective, and keep the hard decisions to ourselves ? Should we jerk our kids out of their cocoon, and warn them about the damage we are doing to the planet, and ourselves ? Or should we just fix things, chalk up any bad flowthrough to learning experiences, and ask forgiveness ?

Boomers would be wise to use this free time to work on our legacy. Thankfully, its the next set of kids, born since 2000, who have the participant medal attitude, that someone else will have to deal with.

Consider this time to build our resume, so that we have something to show our kids when Boomers get asked the inevitable questions about out stewardship. So, raise money to build schools in a faraway place, volunteer for a charity to help the less fortunate, conquer some inner demon, whatever you value. After all, you taught your kids their values, and they will be using your words against you soon enough.

Next time on Boomers – wtf !, whatever happened to the 47% ?

One Comment
  1. Great, you have written one with which we can agree. Your only problem buddy is that everyone gives your wife 90 per cent of the credit for your wonderful daughters.

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