Roya Wolverson wrote in ‘Rental Nation‘ for Time Magazine,
“Younger consumers are also more educated, better traveled, and more physically active, which heightens the appeal of spending precious dollars on new experiences rather than ownership of things, which seems very last century to many of them.”
A young couple new to Portland, Ore. were her models. The Ore abbreviation is so last century.
Is she writing about young consumers or Boomers in their youth? Weren’t we more educated, better traveled, and more physically active than previous generations?
With a few qualifications, I’ll take a hell yes, and here’s why.
- Better educated? The Greatest Generation went to college on the GI Bill after WWII. They didn’t all sign up for classes, but enough did to aim their Boomer kids toward college. And we went.
- Better traveled? No generation is better traveled than the Greatest Generation. Taking the Grand Tour with a rifle is still the Grand Tour, except they freed nations they visited from Nazis and Japanese domination. They showed their Boomer kids the albums and made them watch documentaries until the boundaries of the experience faded.
- More physically active? Than Boomers? Impossible. Children of the Great Depression came away with a ‘saving’ habit. Scraps of yarn. Pieces of wood. Stacks of newspapers. And they passed it on.
The ‘save’ everything habit grew into what we call hoarding today. Whether it’s Boomers or their parents, hoarding is not a good choice for the physically unfit. You need to be healthy enough to find hoarding goodies, move it, store it, and get fifteen things just like it to earn that merit badge.
Hoarding may be a fitness challenge, but it’s nothing compared to selling a house, packing up, and moving.
Renter Nation stuffs a suitcase, straps it onto their bike, and pedals to the next apartment. Boomer boxes their gear, loads the moving van, and unloads at their new place. You might read this and think, “What’s the big deal?”
Boomer’s load includes ‘family heirlooms’ from parents and in-laws. Also kid stuff that might be future ‘family heirlooms.’ The next time you rent a family heirloom will be the first, so take pictures of stuff for that memory.
BoomerPDX Lesson: Whether a crowded mind or crowded space, find the right balance.
Better Boomer says, “Don’t ruin Rental Nation’s moment by telling them you spent five bucks over four days in San Francisco during the early 70’s. Or lived out of a backpack for a year. Avoid the easy one-up.”