Sunday, 12 August 2007

The problems and advantages of being a middle-aged man

My wife pointed out this article entitled "How to be a middle-aged man" in the FT on Saturday. To read Click here.

You see, my wife disapproves of me having a Facebook profile despite my protestations that it is 'for research purposes". Interestingly, the FT article supports the view that Facebook is for the 'younger generation' and - like 'dancing at parties' , 'wearing slippers' and 'having affairs with women young enough to be your daughter'- should be avoided by middle aged men.

Despite that, it's a fun read. It says that middle aged men can wear jeans 'because we invented them', can drive fast cars and can 'keep up with the latest sounds' purely because the young - unlike the middle aged - have 'musically truly missed the party' anyway.

Style-wise, being a middle aged man might seem difficult nowadays. But, in other respects, it seems we 'have never had it so good'. David Smith, writing in the Sunday Times today, makes the point that rises in interest rates transfers cash from those in debt (largely the young) to those with savings (largely the middle-aged and older). Indeed, us "Baby boomers" or "Golden Generation" have three quarters of the UK's £5000b of wealth. We tend to have paid off our mortgages on houses that will never ever be capable of being bought by any average younger person. We not only have savings earning ever higher interest but are the last generation to have decent pensions. On top of that we are in demand in the labour market like never before - should we wish to spend our time working.

So "rising interest rates, like rising house prices, are an inter-generational transfer from young to old".

Unfortunately, I think that is true. Unfortunately, because one cannot but feel very sorry for any young person with a family struggling with an ever increasing mortage today.


Ian said...

Richard, surely you're "old" now rather than "middle aged"!

GeorginaO said...

I know several people, young included, that refuse to get involved in Facebook. They either can't see the point or don't wish 'everyone to be able to see their business'. I have pointed out that you can pick and choose your friends and limit your profile but nothing will convince them. I must admit it can be addictive (negative) but I love being able to keep up-to-date with what all my friends are doing so easily and it's the best way I've found of sharing photos.

Regarding the transfer of wealth from young to old. I am sadly feeling the effects of a huge mortgate etc. Can you give me a better prediction for the longer-term? What happens when our generation become 'your' generation? Will we be any better off then?

Richard Holway said...

I do have the right to remove offensive comments....