As you may have seen, heard, or read, there was a very short lived trend last month on TikTok, X, and Instagram Reels that uncovered a subset of people that apparently ruminate on the Roman Empire with a shocking frequency. I’m not one of them. But the meme did cause me to step back and ask ‘Well what random thing DO I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about?’ For me, at least over the last decade, I think that ongoing thought in my head revolves around demographics.
I think about my father-in-law, the son of Greek immigrants. Born in 1925 in Alameda, CA at home in his parent’s bed, two hours after his twin sister was delivered by a doctor who had already left thinking his job was done (no one knew his mother was pregnant with twins). I think about how his mother would lift him into the dumpster behind their local produce market to pick out the edible fruits and vegetables to help supplement what they would eat. I think about how he rushed to the local Army recruiting office at the age of 16 to fight in WWII – and how devastated and lucky he was to get his kneecap knocked off in basic training. He ended up serving in the American Campaign as a tank mechanic while the rest of his basic training unit fought and died overseas. I think of how proud he was to be the father of four beautiful daughters and how lucky I was that he approved of me marrying one of them. He passed away this July 31 of this year – just shy of his 98th birthday. He was part of the Great Generation (1901-27) indeed.
I think about how my Silent Generation (1928-45) parents made their way from Erie, PA and Buffalo, NY across the country to a small little city near the beach in Southern California. How they were able to buy a home and put three of us through four years of college on their salaries. I think about all of the other young families in our neighborhood, the new homes popping up all around, and the block parties they would throw. I think about my parents’ pensions that afforded them an enviable and comfortable retirement.
I marvel at how incredibly lucky I was to have been to be born a Gen Xer (1965-80) and the amazing opportunities that existed for me. I think about how relatively easy and affordable it was to get into the UC school system and the good luck I had moving to San Francisco in the late 90’s right as Web 1.0 started to explode. I think about the incredibly good fortune I had meeting a small group of close friends to go through my post college young adult life with. I think about all the support and encouragement I’ve had that allowed me to take risks, and how the dice almost always seemed to roll in my favor. I think about how weird and exciting it was at the time meeting the young woman who would become my wife through a new online dating website called Match.com.
I think about how fortunate One Wealth Advisors is to have half of the team of Gen Y Millennials (1981-96) with their bristling intelligence, amazing energy, optimism, and work ethic. I think about how insurmountable the prospect of buying a home in the Bay Area must appear to them. I think about how rapidly family formation is changing and the breathtaking cost of trying to raise a child – let alone two! And I can’t help but laugh at how easy it is for the other (older) half of OWA to find new ways to stumble over how out of touch we are becoming.
I think about the world my Generation Z (1997-2012) daughter and son are growing up in. How deeply the pandemic scarred their psyches and how much harder they must work to get into college. I think about how outrageously expensive that opportunity will be if they are lucky enough to get into a school of their choosing. I think about what skill sets they will need to succeed, the post truth world they face, and the climate concerns they inherit.
And then there’s Generation Alpha (2010-25). I can’t begin to imagine what is in store for them – it is way too soon…
Lastly, I think about how blessed I am that I get to work with my closest friends every day at an amazing little company that serves the greatest clients on the planet. I think about how fortunate we are at OWA to get to learn our clients’ equally unique and fascinating stories and what an extraordinary honor it is to be alongside them as it all unfolds.