This College Grad Busts Her Boomer Mom for Not Understanding Today's Salaries

Jennifer Tisdale - Author

May 25 2023, Published 5:25 p.m. ET

In the great Generation Wars, most have come together to agree on a common enemy: boomers. For years, subsequent generations have been relentlessly subjected to their nostalgic musings about the good ol' days. And who wouldn't call those days good for most of them? People of a certain gender, race, and class had almost every door opened for them. The houses and jobs flowed like wine.

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Nowadays things are quite different, which shouldn't surprise anyone who understands change is inevitable. Unfortunately, most boomers seem incapable of recognizing or understanding change. One Gen Z college grad took to TikTok to explain how she learned about her boomer mother's salary when she entered the workforce. This prompted her to do a little compare-and-contrast to today's job market. Let's get into it.

TikTok user takes down her Boomer mom.
Source: TikTok@cataloguing

This college grad busts her boomer mom for not understanding today's salaries.

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This daughter got an accidental lesson about entry salaries from her boomer mom.

When TikTok user @cataloguing was about to graduate from college, she began seriously thinking about finding a job. This led to numerous conversations with her parents about her future. "My mom works for a company that is huge," she shared. "And she said something to me ... that makes a lot of sense in regards as to why it's so hard to find a job, or even find a salary right now that would be livable as someone who is fresh out of college." We're listening!

According to @cataloguing's mom, the general vibe in the hiring world is recent college graduates are asking for and expecting a salary they believe is too high. Her mom then dropped a vey helpful bit of information: "When I first graduated, I made made $36,000." Here's the catch, that is $36,000 in 1980, not today.

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Our TikTok hero then broke it down for us. Her goal is to make $24 per hour which is a $55,000 a year salary. In 1980, that would be equivalent to a $16,000 a year salary, which is $20,000 less than what her mom was making. She then goes even deeper by pointing out that today, the average college grad makes $55,000 a year while the average college grad in 1980 was making a little over $102,000 per year. That's nearly double what kids are making today.

Now, Reason points out that it is false that the average college student was making over $100k in 1980 — the TikToker likely read her source chart wrong. The actual average recent college grad in the early '80s earned $15,200 per year (which would be just over $51,000 in 2023).

That being said, there's no denying that the cost of living has not increased proportionally over the same amount of time.

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The boomers just aren't paying attention to the numbers.

It's not that anyone is asking for more than they should, it's that boomers are doing a 1 to 1 comparison when it comes to the numbers. They think everyone should still be making what they made, despite being aware of inflation. "So this sentiment being held by boomers of 'Oh, they're just expecting too much.' I just don't think they know what numbers they're talking about," said the TikToker, delivering a sick economic burn.

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To no one's surprise, the math isn't mathing across other areas. The housing market is equally as inflated today. If one can even afford a house, they'll need around $500,000 today. However, if you can time travel, you'll only need roughly $223,000 in 1980. Most people are unable to buy a house even though most pay more for rent which is just as imbalanced. Did you know the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in 1980 was $737 a month? That's a single closet in New York City.

At the end of the day, @caraloguing believes college and non-college graduates alike should be able to make a livable wage. No one is asking for more than they deserve, though who is responsible for deciding which people are deserving and which are not?

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