The “Millennial” generation is often the subject of many news stories. Most of these stories shine a less than favorable light on the generation and, while I agree with these stories to a point, sometimes I think the perspective we are given of the Millennial is unfair. I did some research and, yes, there are many Millennials who are the entitled protesting type that we see on the news, but there are many more who have the same ambition and work ethic that made America the greatest country in the world. I was also surprised to find out that technically I am a Millennial. I thought it was only the 25 year olds we see on the news. Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, is a Millennial as are many of the pro athletes and celebrities we and our children admire each day. We are so much more than what the media shows and I know that future generations will admire us just like we are inspired by the past.
So, why are the Millennials always so controversial and angry? The obvious answer is that we don’t have enough money! The key word here is “enough” because higher salaries won’t help if we don’t learn how to manage money. A family making $80,000 a year faces the same monthly struggles as a family making $40,000. Athletes sign multi-million dollar contracts, but many struggle financially in retirement because they never have “enough” money. More is not always the solution. Sometimes you just need to visit your friendly neighborhood financial planner.
I do sympathize with the Millennials because we face expenses that past generations never had. My parents asked me why people my age cannot survive on $60,000 when they were only making $8,000 when they got married. The short answer is inflation as $8,000 per year was a great job in the 1970’s while it is way below poverty level now. However, we also forget that the technological advances we have today did not exist in the 1970’s. For example, the bills in my household for cable, internet, and cell phones alone cost over $300 per month. Technically, these are considered luxuries, but can you imagine life without them now? It’s hard to do schoolwork or apply for jobs without a phone and email address. Sure, we do unproductive things on our devices, but they have become necessary tools in life. There are other examples of expenses, but you can already see how the single Millennial making $30,000 a year struggles each month.
I believe this is why the Millennial is always protesting for higher wages. We believe more money will solve the problem and we think politicians will give it to us. First of all, there will always be temptations to take our money, so if we don’t learn financial management, we will always struggle. Second, do you really want to put your whole future in the hands of politicians? How’s that revamped healthcare program working for you? Instead of forcing higher wages, which will be hard to do, why not give us a technology tax credit each year or a credit on all the different insurances we have to buy? Then you put money back into the pocket of the consumer without hurting the employer’s bottom line. Yes, it takes money away from the government, but they need to learn financial management as well!
Personally, I’m not going to waste my life waiting for the government to solve my problems, so I would like to challenge all Millennials to do the same. As someone said, “Noah didn’t wait for his ship to come in, he built one!” Wouldn’t it be awesome if, 50 years from now, we are referred to as one of America’s greatest generations? The first step to greatness is learning financial management and I would be glad to help you on your journey!