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  • Writer's pictureKelechukwu “Chu” Oparah

Rules of the Game: Part 1 of 4

March Madness is finally here, and with it, the arrival (to your work, family and friend conversations) of all the lay people who fancy themselves basketball historians. I get it! The bracket has to be based on something. They’re all doing us a favor right?

Inevitably, there’s always that conversation about the G.O.A.T. at every position, including coaches, as well as conversations about how the players and coaches of today compare to those of years gone by. I’ve seen a few of these conversations. They get heated. In these cases, someone inevitably brings up the fact that the game has changed over time, and we can’t measure players from the 80s by the rules of today’s game.

Valid point.

And it brings up a useful and relatable point about money. What if the money game you thought you were playing changed, and no one told you? Yet, you carry on doing your best, according to the rules you thought you knew, unable to shake the feelings of concern as you compare yourself to the outcomes and trajectories of people in previous generations. Ever felt resentment that your parents never told you about money? Ever wondered, if perhaps, no one told them either?

In an earlier article I mentioned that, “the retirement model of the 1950s is dead, and it isn’t coming back.” Well, it’s time I circle back around and explain all that… I just can’t do it in one article.

So, let’s go down memory lane, and I’ll try to paint a picture. This week, I’ll start with the first major shift in the game.


After World War II, the primary mechanism for planning for retirement was a company pension, and 85% of corporations offered them to their employees. The litmus test of a reputable company was in part measured by the strength of its pension. People didn’t have to save much money in addition to those pensions to ensure a comfortable retirement.

Their incomes could focus on other things, like all the stuff their kids wanted. Disruptive forces in the marketplace began to emerge as “The Greatest Generation” had their 4 kids per household.

Pensions were a foundational piece of the disposable income that funded one of the greatest economic marches the world has ever known.

As far as massive expenses go, only 18.5% of the population was going to college as of 1964. The big expenses that people face today in terms of long-term savings didn’t exist for most people back then.

So, how does today compare?

Less than 10% of companies offer pensions. Now by age 18, everyone seeking a higher education needs to have saved, scholarshipped, or granted themselves into a value position of nearly $100,000 to secure a college degree without debt.

The stress on our income is far higher than anything our parents or grandparents faced.

Moreover, approximately 70% of the US population doesn’t have access to the information they need to win the money game as it is currently being played.

Over the next 3 weeks, I’m going to be going through three more primary shifts to the money game over the past 80 years. If you can’t wait, hit me up on social media to secure an invite to our, “How Money Works Masterclass.” It’s free of charge. It’s virtual, and only an hour. I just ask that if you find it valuable, you tell others, so we can all grow together!


Kelechukwu “Chu” Oparah is a Licensed Financial Professional Serving your Dayton Community. For more content, Chu is on Instagram @chuoparah.

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