Thursday, May 5, 2016

Explaining Gen Y + Z

I was asked by my uncle about a year ago, "Why is it your generation can never seem sot hold down a steady job, find a house, a get married younger? They seem to wait forever to do those things." 

I explained it to him and he actually thanked me for sharing valuable insight he hadn't considered. So here's the insight: 

#1 Going To College 

In my uncle's generation (aka going to college in the 70s and 80s) things were much more affordable then they are now. NOW the average tuition of a 4 year college now costs somewhere between $75,000 to $120,000. Most students in this day and age are left with DEEP student loan debt. 

#2 Finding a Job

In my uncle's generation -having gained a college degree, you then went o work -which was fairly easy at the time and there wasn't as much saturation or competition. In that time, graduating with a college degree was enough to vouch for your competence. NOW since most people have college degrees, it's not enough. Master's Degrees and a couple years or being an intern are more standard ways of establishing competency in a field you have not officially worked in. Competition is off the charts, so finding work is very very challenging. 

#3 Finding a Home

In my uncle's generation, there were these nice things called LOANS banks would give out -even to people it was pretty clear weren't going to be able to pay them back (kind of like credit cards now). People took these magical loans and bought houses they couldn't afford by their jobs alone. NOW since most people having graduated college are already in deep debt, loans are impossible and wouldn't amount to much. Most people live in appartments well into their 30's on average. No one in my generation can afford a home. 

#4 Getting Married

In my uncle's generation, if you had a steady job, could get a house, and had a girlfriend it was Expected for marriage to follow. So his generation usually married early on if for no other reason than they could AFFORD to. Most people acknowledge after marriage comes children, which is why owning your own home is essential. NOW most people in my generation couldn't even afford the marriage Ceremony -let alone the house to potentially raise the kids in. Work is too unstable itself, leading many to switch professions midstream and also contributing to financial instability. Do you really expect people in their early to late 20s to be able to get married, buy a home, and raise kids at this point? Those that do have kids had them "unexpectedly" and are currently raising them in apartments. Those who do get married usually wait until they are "ready" in their later 20s/early 30s because they can actually afford to do so at that time. 

In conclusion: Generations Y + Z aren't "lazy" or "inconsistent with work", "mooching off the system", or "unwilling to commit to relationships". They're just broke and can't seem to fix it. 

*Update: The Pew Research Center decided to get on board and provide support of this understanding. Thank Pew!

Just because the job market has improved doesn't mean finding a job is any easier for a millennial -especially depending on their work history or lack thereof. It also doesn't mean they'll make enough to own their own home -or even their own apartment. 

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