Now I’m Fifty Five

Some time in the past week or so I turned 55, which is another milestone in my life. I am now somewhat a Senior Citizen (after a fashion). I can start collecting CPP (at a large discount), and I can retire with my pension from work (at a large discount), and I even get discounts at a few stores and restaurants.

I have seen the world change dramatically over these years. When I was a kid:

  • Fifty Five

    Fifty Five (not a Prime Number Though)

    Banks were only open from 10 to 3 PM Monday to Thursday and opened Thursday night 6-8 PM and Fridays were open until 5:00 PM. Oh and there were no ATMs, those only started appearing when I went to University (remember the Johnny Cash Machine). Hence when someone wasn’t working all their hours in the office, the nasty remark you could make was “Sam works Bankers’ Hours“. Now that would mean Sam is working a lot of overtime. You don’t even have to go to the bank any more!

  • I applied for my first Credit Card and was turned down!
  • My first job was as a Paperboy and I collected payment every week, door to door. I delivered telephone books as a summer job.
  • The first few TVs my family owned were Black and White, and the first colour TV we had was leased from Granada.
  • My brother brought home his first computer in 1977 (I think), it was two boards with a 4 Digit display (I think it might have had 2K of memory). Later my Dad bought the family a VIC-20 and we played Pong (and the Sword of Fargoal) and thought it was great.
  • I got paid with an actual Cheque, that I had to take to the bank (which wasn’t open often (remember)).
  • I had to apply (and got turned down once) for a cheque payment card at Loblaws (so I didn’t have to carry cash to pay for my groceries).
  • My first mortgage interest rate was 14% and we locked in for 5 years because that was cheap.
  • I carried a dime around in case I had to make a phone call on a pay phone.
  • At my job when I was on-call I carried a pager, and I had a special device that held 8 quarters in case I had to call into work (on a pay phone).
  • It used to be normal to have someone pump your gas, there were Milkmen who delivered milk to your house, and there was even Mailmen who delivered Mail.
  • Long Distance phone revenues used to be the backbone of the telecomm world, now it is free. Remember waiting to call your mom until after Saturday noon until Sunday at 6 PM (so you got 67% off).
  • Entire technologies have gone by the way side:
    • VHS Video Tape rentals and Blockbuster, 8-track tapes, Audio Cassettes (remember the mixed tape?).
    • The AOL CD Coaster, but remember AOL still exists (and people are still paying for it).
    • The Pet Rock came and went
    • The entire Y2K thing
    • Direct Film, where you could get the film in your camera developed in 24 hours? How about film cameras?
    • Furbees came, went and came back

Yes, the world has changed a great deal in the past 55 years.

OK all you other “end of the Baby Boomers” crowd, what other fun financial things did I miss from yesteryear ?


{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Steven January 26, 2016, 9:53 PM

    Remember when you bought gas and you had to go into the store to pay? Pay-at-the-pump is great

  • My Own Advisor January 21, 2016, 5:44 PM

    “My first mortgage interest rate was 14% and we locked in for 5 years because that was cheap.”

    Wow. Makes you appreciate these rates now for sure.

    Happy Belated! 🙂

  • RICARDO January 21, 2016, 11:31 AM

    “CHARGEX” machines are actually still around. Very few and far between but still there.
    And when they first came out with credit cards the merchants would ask “Will that be cash or credit?” to which I would ask how much they would discount if I paid cash. Guess what, I never paid cash.
    Of course now we are fortunate to have debit cards in place of having to carry around all that cash and hence the mercahnt now asking “Will that be debit or credit?” I don’t bother asking any more and just whip out my plastic C.C.


  • Tawcan January 21, 2016, 10:14 AM

    How the world has changed. Even for a young person like me I’ve seen many things changed in the last 10 or 15 years. 🙂

  • Grant January 21, 2016, 9:23 AM

    When I went on a 6 months trip in 1979, there were no credit cards, so we carried traveller’s cheques, and had some money transferred to a bank in Italy which we withdraw when we got there. Phone calls were too expensive, so Mom would send a letter every now and then to a Post Restante when she knew we would be in a particular city at a particular time. In Asia we budgeted $5 a day, $1 for each meal, $1 for 0 star accommodation, and $1 for local travel, entertainment etc.

    • bigcajunman January 21, 2016, 10:07 AM

      Travelers’ cheques are still around, but I haven’t used them for a good long time. Calling from Europe? What are you a Rockefeller that you can afford to do that? 🙂

  • Neil January 21, 2016, 9:08 AM

    I’m 51.
    I remember when the provincial tax (in Ontario) was simply 52% of whatever your federal tax was.

    I also remember the “Chargex” machine. I guess that was the old version of swiping a card. They actually checked your signature too.

    • bigcajunman January 21, 2016, 10:06 AM

      Chargex! I remember that! The “chunk.. chunk!” machine was great and having to sign your slips, that felt “safer”. Excellent take.


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