People measure wealth in different ways.
For some it means having thousands of dollars in the bank. For others owing their own home makes them feel rich, some are content that they can pay bills and feed their family.
Big bank balances are not what makes them happy and let's face it, happiness and health is worth way more than wealth. Certainly you could say that having money helps with happiness but when all is said and done living a happy life surrounded by family and friends is what everyone wants and needs.
I thought about this after listening to researcher Jess Berentson-Shaw saying on telly that people aged between 55 to 74 own the bulk of New Zealand's wealth.
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So what, I thought. That makes perfect sense to me. According to Statistics New Zealand this group of people are worth a total of $744 billion, while the next wealthiest are those between 45 to 54 with a net wealth of $300.5b and then $197b for people aged 25 to 44.
Still makes sense to me but Berentson-Shaw thinks there's a problem with older people being the wealthiest in monetary form.
She reckons the older generation have done well because of policies in place to help them and that the government needs to put new policies in place.
Not quite sure what policies she's talking about but I think there would be a far larger problem if the so-called wealth was distributed the other way around.
Would we want people nearing retirement and those retired to have the least amount of wealth? Of course not.
For years these very people have been told to save for their retirement and it seems many of them have. They have also earned wages or a salary for many years more than the other two age groups quoted so there would have to be something really broken about our society if older group didn't "own more wealth".
People are living longer lives — it's not unusual for people to live into their 90s. The stats say the wealth age group ends at 74. Then what?
We all know what happens when there is no money to spare no matter what age you are. The elderly sit in cold houses too afraid to turn on the heating because they can't afford to pay the power bill.
So the more money they have at retirement the better, I really don't understand why this is a problem. Berentson-Shaw should be happy that the older generation have looked after their money because if they hadn't then the government would have a big problem on its hands.
There also seems to be a conception that these people have had an easy life. Well I for one have not. I fall into this category and I am certainly not rich in monetary terms. It wasn't easy to get on the property market and I lived on Struggle Street for a long time as did many of the people I knew.
The next generation and the generation after that will sort themselves out as we had to. In fact if they are smart and started KiwiSaver when it was introduced they will be sitting pretty by the time they reach retirement.
It would be really nice if every generation respected the others and realised that because we have all grown up in different circumstances we are all different.
And if I hear the word boomers one more time I might just scream.
Linda Hall is assistant editor at Hawke's Bay Today.