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:
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 ?