Are you better off than your parents?

When my dad was my age he had been dead of a stroke for five years.

Better off? You bet I am. :cool:

I picked “other”. I am better off than my dad by far, but my mom and I are about even.

Absolutely, and a lot of that I attribute to my father’s teachings regarding credit and savings.

Thanks, Dad.

A little better. It would be a lot better if not for the future state of Social Security. Between their pensions and Social Security my retired parents make several thousand dollars a month (mostly?) tax-free in addition to a decent nest egg.

I technically have a lot more saved up than they did at this point, but will definitely not receive such a generous traditional retirement pension. In the nearly 30 years before I can draw SS, I’ll be lucky if it’s still even around let alone in a position to be as relatively generous as it is today. And definitely no outside pensions.

Better off financially, mostly due to two professional incomes in the house. If we had to live off just one of our incomes, we would be in about the same place my parents were. My mother worked outside the home, but at part time not well paying jobs.

Yes, both my husband and I are much better off. My parents had great examples in their parents, but got married far too young (16 & 18), blew off education, had 4 kids in 6 years, and got by on my dad’s NCO navy pay for 20 years, then mostly depended on the government to pay for them after that, supplementing with a minimal amount of work. Never saved, never taught their kids to save or plan, are in their 70’s in poor health with plenty of debt, and spend their days in front of the TV in an apartment that looks like an episode of Hoarders. I am far better off than my sibs, some of whom emulate my parents to a scary degree, some of whom have tried to get better off but were knocked down in the latest economic crisis.

It’s interesting to be old enough to watch it being played out in the next generation. The children of my siblings who worked to make something of themselves are nearly all doing quite well, while the children of the sibs who take after my parents are making a real hash of thier lives, and in some cases their own kids’ lives as well.

A little worse off… though it’s very hard to compare. They both got practical degrees and worked good jobs, whereas my husband and I both got silly degrees and while he has a good job, it’s at a much lower payscale than my parents ever worked (and I stay home with our daughter). We live in an older house than they did. On the other hand, we aren’t house-poor, which they were… we do consume every paycheck my husband brings in, but we also have a pile of money in the bank, from back in the days when I briefly worked a high-paying job.

Do people really think the OP meant “is your health better than your parents?” “Better off” always means financially, unless indicated otherwise.

My parents are dead and I’m not: I’m much better off.

Made much more money, retired earlier, and am healthier than they were at age 65 (or at least than my stepfather).

Yes, definitely better off than my parents. Both of them are poor. I have way more debt (student loans) but also a lot more savings and a higher standard of living, overall. I’m not sure how things will change once my husband graduates, though. It all depends on how fast we find jobs.

My parents came from urban and rural poverty, respectively, and got themselves good college educations, came out West and rode the post war building boom to success. They became professionals/business owners, raised four kids, and retired in moderate wealth. Although all their children are financially stable, all of us earn less and manage to stay middle class through higher-earning spouses even though we each had one or two children instead of four. Pretty much arc of America here: my grandparents couldn’t afford college, my parents were able to via a small rise in prosperity and the GI bill, they were easily able to afford to put their 4 kids through, and we had to sacrifice to get one or two kids through.

Now my generation’s children range from 19 to 30. None are married, none have children, none own houses. Nor do I perceive plans for any of the above. I believe this is fairly typical for their age group and level of education.

My mother was born into a middle-class family that became lower middle-class over the course of her childhood, and after she graduated from high school and struck out into the world, she fell even further into abject poverty. She remained that way until recently, but she’s still poor by anybody’s metric.

I’d describe myself now as existing on the lowest rung of the lower middle-class ladder (which will almost certainly improve in the future), and I make more money than my mother has made at any point in her life.

My father, I don’t know. He was a skilled laborer and worked for the state and federal government. I’m assuming he made some decent change, more than I’m making currently, if we’re adjusting for inflation.

Ultimately, we made a lot more money than either set of parents, but we also made a lot more bad choices along the way, in the early years and it took a long time to recover financially. And it wasn’t till recent years that we got serious about saving, so we don’t have as fat a bank account as we might have had.

So I voted Other. I’m retired and my husband is still working, and after running the numbers, I’m thinking I’ll need to go back to work, or when he retires, we’ll be forced to get super-cheap if we want to have money for vacations and such. The big expense is the mortgage - 19 years to go, and I’m 58 - I can’t be sure I’ll live long enough to see it paid off.

I’m much better off. I have a great job; my wife has a very good job, we have plenty of savings. At my age my dad’s business was failing and he was worried about their financial future. (Things got better a few years later.)

Much better off financially. I can never appreciate how poor my parents were. And my children will never understand how poor my siblings and I were growing up.

Relative to my parents at the same age I am now? Somewhat better off, but not vastly so. The biggest difference is probably more disposable income ( no kids, for one ) and the fact that I own property, though with a lamentably large mortgage so technically I have more debt than they did as well. My step-mother and mother were probably both then more or less at their peak earnings-wise and doing okay ( my father’s income was always smallish, but quite steady ).

In later years my mother’s income would decline vastly while by contrast my father/step-mother actually bought and sold property at the right time, place and price. So now I’m far better off than my mother, who has sunk down to the level of the barely working poor ( she still gets by, but it is tight ). But I’m very loosely a peer of my F/S-M - I have much more income, but they own their home outright, so have more actual net worth and much lower expenses.

Well at my age (32) my mom was a nun and my dad was, I think at that time, a boiler inspector married to a straight-up crazy loon. So yeah, we’re doing better - the mister and I are both professionals and neither of us are married to God.

However, at the time Dad’s dollars might have gone farther, depending. So I’m not sure how our standards of living compare.

I immigrated from Pakistan to the United States when I was 19. My parents immigrated at 48/47 a couple of years earlier.

In Pakistan we had a very comfortable, upper middle class lifestyle. Nice house, two cars, one driver, loads of domestic help, social status. My father was a senior manager (managed over 100 people) in accounting. My mother was an Admin Assistant to a senior executive at an MNC.

After emigration, my father could not find work at anything like the same level. He was severely hearing impaired, which strangely enough did not hamper him much in Pakistan where there were no legal protections, but made finding work in the US (in the late 1980s/early 1990s) extremely difficult. My mother also found it hard to compete with younger candidates for jobs at the same level.

So for the last fifteen years of their working lives they were reduced to much lower level work, and their financial situation was much worse. They did spend down much of their life savings putting six kids through college (grad school for two of us). All the “kids” are financially quite well off, but only one of us is better off than they were in Pakistan (in terms of standard of living).

They will never admit that they made any sacrifices for us.

What is better off: Being a single parent of a 12 year old, with no degree, living subsidized housing and having just obtained an entry level state job that provide a relatively early retirement, great benefits, and would eventually build to a modestly comfortable standard of living, but no real job satisfaction or opportunity to do much more than stay on that track.


Being single-and-fabulous in the big city, with few responsibilities, living in a rented room but able to spend money relatively freely, an advanced degree, a pile of student loan debt, a temporary but well-paid and fulfilling job, a bright future with the opportunity to eventually make some real money, a high probability of marrying another decently paid professional and raising kids in a two-income household, but just not a lot pinned down quite yet?

My mom had a lot of responsibility, had made a lot of sacrifices and had some real tough times in her 20s, hadn’t had a lot built up, but could look forward to a modestly secure future. I have a lot of potential and flexibility, and have already made good use of a lot of that and had a very satisfying first-decade-as-an-adult, but with that comes a lot more risk and uncertainty.

I think it all comes down to what you value. Even in a purely monetary sense, there are a lot of ways to define "better off’ when you consider debt, earning potential, mortgages, retirement, cash flow, disposable income, savings, job security, etc.