Financial Lessons From The Greatest

Recently read and was inspired by this article to reflect on how people have changed throughout the generations, and really put things into perspective. We all know about generation Y (hey that’s me), generation X, and the Baby Boomer generation (such as my parents.) It’s no secret that we don’t always get along with each other. Boomers sometimes talk about how hard their lives are because their pensions might be cut, and they complain about how spoiled and lazy the younger generation has become today. On the other hand, people in their mid twenties are having  a difficult time getting any job and complain that their parents have spent the country into debt and now the younger generation have to pick up the bill, with interest.

Well there’s one other generation I haven’t mentioned yet. We don’t talk about them much, but I think every other generation can learn a lot from them. Of course I’m talking about the Greatest Generation (people who are 88 to 111 years old today.) These people were brought up during the great depression  (O_o) when unemployment was over 20% in America. Before things could get better for them WWII began and they had to go to war. And when the war finally ended they came back home and worked their butts off to make the United States into the world’s largest economy today. They were humble, hard working individuals, who understood the value of making a better life for them and their families. They sacrificed and worked harder than most people do today, without complaints. They really are the Greatest 🙂

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Today’s generations (X, Y, even Z) are often saturated with whiners and excuse makers. But the Greatest Generation took responsibility into their own hands. They embraced new challenges, and simply got things done. Back then people didn’t need to buy a new car to feel good about themselves. And when they bought something they would use it until it broke. Then they would fix it themselves and continue to use it rather than buy a new one. They treated relationships the same way. That’s why divorce was uncommon. If they had marital problems they would just work it out, instead of playing mind games on each other, and then breaking up.

I have much respect for these people and thank them for all their contributions to society.  I try to incorporate much of their attitudes towards material wealth, work ethic, and frugality into my own life. Our problems today are nothing compared to their’s 50 years ago. If you think your pension is in jeopardy then do something about it.  I’m investing in large-cap, dividend stocks today to ultimately create my own pension plan, because the Greatest Generation didn’t rely on other people for their future financial security, so neither will I \(^_^)/

Random Useless Fact: I took an online IQ test for fun recently. Got 130. I think that’s normal for Canadians.

IQ Test

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07/20/2012 5:40 am

I think we could tak a lot of advice from the greatest generation. They know what true sacrifice means and there are not many people today who are willing to give up as much. I think you make a good connection between the qualities of that generation and those required today to achieve extraordinary financial success.

07/23/2012 12:49 am
Reply to  Brian

Let’s show them that today’s generation of young adults also have what it takes to to achieve extraordinary financial success 🙂

07/20/2012 6:33 am

You can tell a GenYer did not make this infographic, because obviously, the person who did is a hater. Lol. But seriously, there is I think that people tend to forget that there is downfalls of all generations – even the “great” generation. The racism, the strict religion and lack of freedom, intolerance ran the society..there are lessons to learn from every generation.

07/23/2012 12:53 am
Reply to  Daisy

Oh my, that’s right. There’s still prejudice in the world today, but compared to back then we are much more tolerant of diversity now. Maybe in the future there will be a perfect generation where they learned from all the mistakes and lessons from all the previous generations.

Modest Money
07/20/2012 7:27 am

lol awesome infographic. That stuff is so true. Honestly I didn’t even know the older generation was called the Greatest Generation. They did sure go through some tough times though. If more people adopted their views on things like employment and finances, society as a whole wouldn’t be so in debt. These days people are just too quick to throw things out and blame other people for their failures. I like how you’re being proactive about building up a strong dividend portfolio to offset future lack of pensions. I’m going to try to follow suit.

07/23/2012 12:55 am
Reply to  Modest Money

Today there’s just too many people who lack responsibility and accountability. I didn’t know they were called the greatest either before (-_-‘)

07/20/2012 11:52 am

I am a boomer and we did not all get pension plans. I built my own from dividend growth stocks.

I think that the Greatest Generation did a lot of things right and certainly tried to do right. I did not realize growing up that my parents were prejudice. They brought me and my siblings up not to be prejudice. (As a kid you do not pick up on the subtleties in people’s behavior or actions.)

07/23/2012 1:01 am
Reply to  SPBrunner

My parents are prejudice too in a way. I’m glad that with globalization and mixing of cultures all over the world, society is slowly but surely moving in the right direction of acceptance and respect. It’s great to get an opinion from a boomer. I have dividend growth stocks too like BCE, and BNS. Looks like I’ll be following in your successful shoes lol.

07/21/2012 11:17 am

That info graphic is hilarious! That said, Boomers are hosing the Millennials by drying up the social welfare programs, so it is good that they are astute at selling things on Craigslist.

07/23/2012 1:04 am
Reply to  Mike

The internet is going to be the new land for where the millennials will flourish 🙂 I’ve only sold a couple of things on Craigslist. It’s a really convenient service.