3 Feb 2017
I have borrowed for inspiration from a quote from Mignon McLaughlin who wrote ‘The Neurotic’s Notebook 1960’ as I think it sums up very well where we are in the UK right now both in a society sense and a financial services sense.
I am a baby boomer and not a day passes with a moment of stark reality hitting me full on around the perception of millennials that society is failing them.
Where shall I start?
Well being born in 1951, I have seen quite a lot. Not as much as some but more than most around lifestyle changes and aspirations from the ‘50’s and ’60’s through until today.
In the post war era that I grew up in, the idea of family, friends and neighbours being victims of poverty, exposed to dangers various at every turn just did not exist.
The Thames froze. We had terrible smogs caused by coal fires, houses did not have central heating or double-glazing, toilets were outside the house, Bronco was the paper of choice. We would wake up from a duvet-less sleep in a house with windows frozen on the inside as well as the outside and after being given breakfast it was off to school, with school friends living nearby on foot.
We played in the street, unthreatened. we knew our neighbours, burger alarms were only found on banks.
Buses and trams represented the public transport offering. Milk was delivered by horse and cart, supermarkets did not exist, and food was rationed until 1954.
Homes that had a telephone would often share the line with someone else. And black and white televisions were tiny and for the rich.
Police were on the ‘beat’ walking the streets with clean white shirts and a very big hat, the Fire Brigade actually put out fires and ambulances took people (who actually needed to be there) to a clean and very efficient hospital casualty (not A&E) department. The call for emergency help was often made on a shared phone line or by your family doctor, not a GP, if they could not help.
If you were unemployed, you went to your local ‘Labour Exchange’ and got very little money to help in times of hardship. The credit card did not exist.
And as for financial advice, the ‘Man from the Pru’ was the ‘come to you’ solution. If you were a person of substance, your bank manager would assist, resplendent in attire and tattoo free.
Sixty five years on is this the time for a pause to reflect on whether life is better or worse in 2017 than it was in the 1950’s?