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Talkin’ bout my generation: Learn the ABC’s of the XYZ’s

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If you’re anything like me, keeping up with other generations is becoming increasingly difficult. 

Trends and lingo, fashion and culture aside, it’s the labelling I can’t seem to get right. 

I know we’re all now categorised for media purposes according to our generation, and I know I sit fairly and squarely in the middle of Gen X, but tell me this – have we run out of letters of the alphabet yet? 

I think we’ve moved on to words that sound more like they’ve come straight from Elon Musk’s Baby Naming book – no offence Elon (the name Elon is a gender-neutral word meaning “oak tree” btw). 

To help out those among us that might be struggling, I’ve compiled a list for reference. 

Feel free to bookmark this page and refer to it every time you hear someone say, “lazy Millennials or “cranky Boomers”, or you read in a news article how bad Gen Z is with finances or you read that they prefer to remain ‘gender fluid’ and you’re “totes not catching that vibe”. 

TBH there’s no need to get salty about these things, YOLO, this vibe is actually slayed. 

If you still think things are “groovy” or “spunky”’ or are waiting for the term “mintox” to come back in vogue – I hate to tell you, but it’s time to move on. 

millenials
Talkin’ about my generation

It’s fair to say every generation thinks they’re the best at doing life. They might envy characteristics of another, admire fashions gone by, appreciate the carefree spirit apparent in earlier years, but each is forming a new set of standards and moments in time that will one day be reflected on.

For me, I’m sandwiched between the Boomers who are busy building contemporary styled homes set among golf courses and country clubs deliberately too small to house their Gen Z grandchildren for any considerable amount of time, purchased using every last cent of any possible inheritance.

Nevermind, if I live long enough, perhaps my Gen Z teen will feel an ethical urge to care for me, or my Alpha will have enough savings to support me in my retirement years…

Talkin’ about my generation 

Just to clarify, by generation we mean people within a population that experience the same significant events within an historical time frame, a birth cohort. While the dates may vary slightly depending on information sources, there is a set of generation names shared by those countries who identify as belonging to the Western world. 

So, who’s who in the zoo?

The Federation Generation ‘The Feds’: born 1901 – 1924

(Currently aged 99 – 122) 

The Feds are Australia’s oldest living generation, the first generation to be labelled and profiled, their start date coinciding with the year Australia became a nation 1901 – Federation. This cohort were the young men and women who lived during the Depression and the World Wars, with a high chance they fought in both. If they are still living nearby, you should visit them and let them know how much you appreciate their sacrifices.

The Builders: born 1925 -1946

(Currently aged 77 – 98)

Australia’s current senior generation were born between 1925 and 1946 and are referred to as “The Builders” because a lot of the infrastructure that surrounds us today in Australia was built by this group. This is the generation that prefer to tell their stories starting with “Back in my day”, and “It’s not like it used to be”.

In Australia, many of The Builders probably arrived on our shores seeking a new life for their families, with many paying a ten pound fee for a fresh start.

Baby Boomers: born 1946 – 1964

(Currently aged 59 – 77) 

They’re named after the baby boom that occurred post-World War II, where the fertility rate was 3.5 babies per woman. This population ‘boom’ also resulted in a boost in the economy, housing, construction, and infrastructure to cater for the population that was almost doubling in their early years. 

Now they’re the “grey nomads” you’ll pass on the Bruce Highway while they enjoy their seventh trip around Australia in their caravan. Preferring to stay at their homes and live independently, they are gently being coaxed by younger generations into ‘Over 55’s residences’, lured by golf courses and country clubs and Melbourne Cup luncheons and on-site gyms and swimming pools.

Generations

Generation X: born 1965 – 1979

(Currently aged 44 – 58)

The term Gen X is thought to have come from an anti-establishment mindset that existed at the time of their youth. Gen Xers’ have reached the age when they are supporting and educating children while also providing care for aging parents.

Their parents are the most divorced generation in history, and they are the first generation to use computers in their homes and schools. Gex Xs are more peer-oriented than previous generations, and are keen to strike a perfect work-life balance. They are the first generation to want to pay off debt and support not-for-profits and the arts sector.

Generation Y: born 1980 – 1994

(Currently aged 29 – 43) 

Gen Y are often referred to as the “Millenials”. This generation are digital natives. They are believed to prioritise lifestyle and experience over accumulating assets, and relationships with colleagues over career progression.

This generation are getting married later (average age 30.5), prioritising overseas travel over buying a home, and prefer to purchase goods online.

Gen Ys prefer to rent cars, clothing, and houses, and will almost always research the ethical origins of everything they purchase, from coffee beans to tshirts.

Generation Z: born 1995 – 2009

(Currently aged 11 – 26) 

Gen Z has been shaped by the rise of digitalisation and firsthand experience with living through a global pandemic.

For this generation digital technology in the workplace is a given, in fact research shows four in five Gen Z want to work with cutting-edge technology in their future career, and 98% have already gained experience with technology during their formal education.

Gen Z have a strong preference for entrepreneurship. They hope to combine traditional employment with running a side business. They want financial freedom and to travel the world, while also harbouring dreams of owning their own home.

Generation Alpha: born 2010 – 2024 

(Currently aged 0 – 13)

They are named after the first letter in the Greek alphabet and are the first to be born entirely in the 21st century and the third millennium.

Generation Alpha are more digitally and globally connected than any other generation before them. They have lived through learning at home, have missed milestone birthdays, cancelled overseas holidays and become familiar with Zoom catchups with grandparents.

Experts believe this generation will become more like their frugal grandparents and save rather than spend as they grow up among the terms “unaffordable housing” and “rising interest rates” and “cost of living crisis”.

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