By: Maxim Basu
On Feb. 24, the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) ran an article entitled, “Current generation of young Canadians wealthiest ever,” which discusses a Finance Canada study that argues young Canadians today are richer than our parents and grandparents. The department looked at wealth surveys from 1977 to 2012 to come to this conclusion, and the article cited a 31-year-old woman, Alyssa Furtado, who stated that she was “really happy” about her financial situation and that her Toronto business was flourishing.
That headline, however, is based on false premises; it masks certain truths to fit our lives to a government agenda. The article mentions the “young generation” and then defines it as individuals aged 28 years to 34 years. I do not think that those people can be defined as part of the “young generation.” One would think these are full-grown adults that should already have their lives established.
Also, the study is inconclusive because it neglects many factors. Yes, adults aged 28 years to 34 years without student debt and who are living with their parents without children definitely fit the category of being “wealthier” than previous generations. However, the financial situation of our time has in fact forced many adults to be dependent on their parents for longer periods of time. It takes money to pay rent, buy a car, sustain yourself, cook for yourself, and have children.
Furthermore, most people interpret the “young generation” to represent the age group of most students in university, like ourselves in our early 20s. Unless you live in Alberta, it is next to impossible to find a high-paying job for people our age in cities like Toronto. Student debt is higher than ever before and many of us have to work part-time to be able to fund our educations.
The study does not mention social class, either; it only mentions one case of a woman whose parents paid for her tuition. Most of our parents cannot do that—it is much worse for international students who have a $30,000 yearly tuition.
In this day and age, it is almost compulsory for us to be able to get a post-secondary education to be able to live a good life in Toronto. It will take years for most of us to repay our student debt, and the job market looks really bad, with the Canadian dollar current valued at 75 cents to one American dollar.
The situation is worse for those young people who do not have the opportunity to go to school because of their financial and/or family situations. They will have a very hard time advancing in society and getting a good-paying job.
That said, whatever your political views on Justin Trudeau are, he at least wants to help young people in Canada get summer jobs through pushing through the Canada Summer Jobs initiative, something Stephen Harper never did.
I would argue today’s youth live in a much tougher and more competitive world than the one our parents and grandparents grew up in. That world didn’t require post-secondary educations; you did not even have to finish high school to live a good life.
Globalization and foreign competition, especially from developing global superpowers such as India and China, have caused students in Canada to face major competition academically. Western universities have been forced to raise standards for professional programs, such as medicine and law. Foreign competition was not a major part of life for many of our parents and grandparents living in Canada.
On the whole, this article fails to access our current socio-political climate in Canada and contextualize the “prosperity” of today’s “young generation.” I believe that, unfortunately, young people in Canada are only going to face more financial troubles and accumulate more debt; this is just the nature of living in a highly competitive and globalized world.
This article was originally published on our old website at https://thenewspaper.ca/the-opinion/millenials-wealthiest-generation-ever/.