World War II veteran Jack Alsbury recalls the tough times of the Great Depression and says there are some simple financial lessons he has learned in his 98 years which could help people today. Picture: Lachie Millard
World War II veteran Jack Alsbury recalls the tough times of the Great Depression and says there are some simple financial lessons he has learned in his 98 years which could help people today. Picture: Lachie Millard

Wise financial words from a 98-year-old during virus pandemic

Jack Alsbury lived through the Great Depression and can still vividly recall what tough times were like.

"I was a paperboy. I was delivering Herald newspapers and I was selling Footy Records at age seven at the footy to help my uncle out," the 98-year-old said.

"I had to give all my money to my mother to help her get by."

As many Australians grapple with the financial fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, there have been comparisons with the tough economic times of the 1930s.

Mr Alsbury remembers the financial hardship he experienced as a child.

Jack Alsbury, 98, likes to keep active and still rides a bike. He said living during the Great Depression was tough. Picture: Lachie Millard
Jack Alsbury, 98, likes to keep active and still rides a bike. He said living during the Great Depression was tough. Picture: Lachie Millard

After he left school at 13, he was working a 44-hour week earning a wage of 10 shillings per week making inner soles for shoes.

"We didn't eat much," Mr Alsbury, a WWII veteran, said.

"It was so hard financially - it was terrible. When I changed jobs and got to 15 shillings a week, we had nothing really.

"We used to make footballs out of rolled-up newspapers. If anybody owned a tennis ball they were a really good friend."

Fast forward to today and Mr Alsbury, a great-great-grandfather, said there had been some damaging behaviours which had hit our hip pockets hard and left many people in financial turmoil.

"Credit cards: I don't believe in those … people are stupid using those," he said.

"Money seems nothing to people these days and there's been too many government handouts. We never had them."

Mr Alsbury is on a Department of Veterans' Affairs pension and has been retired for 40 years.

He said he was financially comfortable after saving hard his whole life.

Crown Money Management chief executive officer Scott Parry said older people "are the best people to learn from because they know what it takes to get through times like this".

"It's the old school messages such as cash is king, don't buy things you can't afford, live within your means," he said.

Jack Alsbury, 98, says there have been some damaging behaviours which had hit our hip pockets hard and left many people in financial turmoil. Picture: Lachie Millard
Jack Alsbury, 98, says there have been some damaging behaviours which had hit our hip pockets hard and left many people in financial turmoil. Picture: Lachie Millard

"These days you have credit cards, the Afterpays. We are making spending so much easier and these old generations didn't have this entitled mentality.

"The older ones worked long hours just to try and get food on the table and get the essentials."

Mr Parry said his advice to clients during this tough time was to distinguish between their wants and needs.

"Wants are luxuries at the moment - you have got to focus on the essentials such as food on the table, health and as a result being able to get through this," he said.

Mr Parry added having a safety net was critical and also slashing bill expenses such as utility and telco costs by phoning up your provider and asking for a better deal.

Originally published as Wise financial words from a 98-year-old during virus pandemic


DETAILS: Plan unveiled for ‘second Bruce Hwy’ through Roma

Premium Content DETAILS: Plan unveiled for ‘second Bruce Hwy’ through Roma

A NEW MULTI-BILLION HIGHWAY project has been announced which would run right...

Trucking boss weighs in on ‘2nd Bruce Hwy’ announcement

Premium Content Trucking boss weighs in on ‘2nd Bruce Hwy’ announcement

A PROMINENT figure in the transport industry is proposing an Emerald Bypass to deal...

Premier announces details of ‘2nd Bruce Hwy’

Premium Content Premier announces details of ‘2nd Bruce Hwy’

THE Queensland Government is providing updates for a bold announcement to build a...