Generation to Generation: Recession Changing Perspectives

By: Jessica Zartler Email
By: Jessica Zartler Email

Living on a little--the way of life for children of the depression and now, seven decades later a new generation of young people is learning how to deal with the harsh realities of an economic downturn.

But historians and psychologists believe the two generations might have more in common than they think.

Floyd O'nan remembers growing up during the depression.

"You just didn't want. The only thing I really begged for was a bicycle, because I could get a job when I had a bicycle," O'Nan told 11 News on Wednesday.

The 81–year–old started working when he was 12 years old, helping to put food on the table for his family of 14.

"I have lots now but I worked for it for 81 years."

Something he says young people today don't understand.

"They don't know how to live on nothing."

A new survey from New York based marketing agency JWT says 60 percent of people 18–29 feel they've been dealt an unfair hand with the recession. Historians and psychologists say the sour economy is making an up and coming generation appreciate a simpler lifestyle..

That's becoming a reality for Paige DeHerrera.

"We were pretty spoiled I guess before," DeHerrera told 11 News on Wednesday.

The new mom says she's spending less and saving more.

"Now you have to limit your sources of things you have and make them last longer."

And instead of wanting the latest gadgets and new clothes, she's tucking away every dime she can.

"Not just go blow it on material possessions that you don't really need," said DeHerrera.

Not a new concept for Floyd O'nan.

"Enjoy what you have."

He says he has always enjoyed the food on his table and hopes young people growing up during this tough time will appreciate what they have instead of dwelling on what they don't.

Although young people may be having a hard time adapting to living with less, the JWT survey found some see the challenges of today's economy as an opportunity--25 percent of those people surveyed say if they can't find a job they'll start their own business.

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