The financial situation is partly passed from generation to generation
In 2011, 54% of people aged 25 to 66 considered that their financial situation was better, or even much better, than that of their family when they were adolescents. This favourable opinion is down by six points compared with 2005, before the 2008 crisis. It is more widespread among the older generations and applies to 67% of people aged 60 (born in 1951), against only 41% of those aged 30 (born in 1981).
Factors other than age or generation increase the likelihood of feeling an improvement in financial situation compared with that at adolescence: having grown up in a family with major financial difficulties, living today in a couple with no children, having a job or a high standard of living.
Most of the parental characteristics play a role in forming their children’s standard of living. In particular, the financial situation of the parents is partially transmitted to their children: 59% of people whose parents found it difficult to make ends meet have a standard of living below the median, compared with 44% of those whose parents had no difficulty in paying the necessary expenses.
This transmission is mainly through the level of education attained by their children, whose level of standard of living was dependent to a large extent on their level of qualifications, which is itself closely linked to that of their parents. For a given level of qualification, the financial situation of the family at adolescence therefore no longer has any significant effect on the current standard of living. On the other hand, it has a residual effect on an individual’s perception of his current financial situation, and this perception also involves psychological factors.