What’s with all the hate for young people? What’s with all the hate in general?
I’m sure some of my critics will accuse me of spreading hate, but I maintain my hatred is for ideas, not people. Sure, I use strong words to describe what I call empty-head hippie liberals, but that’s coming from a place of love. It’s their ideas that are toxic, poisonous, un-American, and un-democratic.
But more and more I find that older generations are hating on young people. I’ve talked about it a bunch here; I’ve tried to untangle the generational angst towards those who are younger. But try as I might, there just doesn’t seem to be a sensible solution.
Hating on younger generations might be the only “cool” thing old people can do. Every other trend seems to be reserved for those without arthritis (try showing a fidget spinner to your 60-year old mom; not a good idea). But hating young people for being young will never go out of style.
I’ve criticized Millennials; mostly because of the choices and ideas they subscribe to. Ideas that are simply ridiculous or destructive—like protesting free speech on a college campus. But it seems hating on people between the ages of 16-30 has become more than just a generational thing; it’s now a political and pop culture thing.
So, in the interest of playing fair, I’m going to try to defend Millennials today. At least in a few areas, I feel they are getting a raw deal.
We know the economy isn’t what it was in the 1950’s. Sure, some smart people will say it’s much, much better today. But we know it’s hard to get a leg up in today’s world. After recessions and a litany of massive changes to many industries, young people are forced to make choices that perhaps their parents didn’t have to make.
In the past, it was much more common to go into the career your parents held. The family business was a solid, safe career path for many people. Today, not so much. If your parents were blue-collar workers, who worked at the town factory all of their lives, you might not have the same opportunity. In fact, the town factory might have closed long before you left high school. That’s also true for the family farm or business.
More and more businesses are outsourcing their labor. Not just in manufacturing and blue collars jobs. Companies have been outsourcing white collar, office jobs for years, to places like India. Plus, thanks to a very high corporate tax rate, entire companies are jumping ship to places like Ireland, where the tax is lower. Entire workforces in the U.S. are being wiped out. That means fewer good-paying jobs for graduates and people entering the workforce.
Plus, you have to remember the economic downturn of 2008-09. That crisis wiped out the retirement funds of many Baby Boomers. So, guess what? They haven’t retired. Although many are rapidly leaving the workforce—so much so that Social Security bends under the pressure—many older workers refuse to leave their positions, freeing them up for the young guns.
We also need to keep in mind the Great Lie that was fed to us growing up: that in order to get a good career you had to attend a four-year college. Generations of students were told that blue collar jobs or jobs that required technical skills (painters, plumbers, construction workers, carpenters and so many more) were no good. Those are jobs for “uneducated” people. Even though they pay great, and demand is shockingly high, most of us were told to get a four-year degree for jobs that aren’t available.
That’s not to mention how the career climate keeps changing, thanks to radical advancements in technology. When I was in high school and college, web design was a great field to get into. Then came Wordpress—which destroyed the demand for good designers. Suddenly web design was no longer viable.
And that’s not to mention overseas designers undercutting those of us in the U.S. who want a living wage.
All this has led to generations of young workers struggling to cut a little piece of the American dream for themselves. Workers in their 20’s and 30’s aren’t as established financially as their parents were at the same age. Few of them own homes or are even willing to start families—simply because they lack the money.
Yet instead of acknowledging the many reasons for this, assholes online blame Millennials, claiming it’s because they spend too much on food.
Yeah… that’s it.
Freely spending on avocados — the pricey, popular superfruit beloved by young people — may be one of the reasons why some young people can’t afford a house, according to Australian millionaire and property mogul Tim Gurner.
“When I was trying to buy my first home, I wasn’t buying smashed avocado for $19 and four coffees at $4 each,” Gurner told the Australian news show 60 Minutes…
“We’re at a point now where the expectations of younger people are very, very high,” Gruner said. “They want to eat out every day, they want to travel to Europe every year. The people that own homes today worked very, very hard for it, saved every dollar, did everything they could to get up the property investment ladder.” (Time)
Of course! That’s why young people are struggling! We’re all buying smashed avocados and traveling to Europe all the time! Hey, how was your tour through Paris this spring? Was it magical? How about that short jaunt to Venice and Milan? Equally amazing!?
Forget the fact that many, many Millennials struggle with crippling student loans, shockingly high rents, and jobs that refuse to offer upward mobility. It’s those damn smashed avocados and lattes!
I for one appreciate frugal living. I have a budget and stick to it. Personally, I would have a hard time paying $19 for smashed avocados; I don’t even know what that is. But to so blithely excuse an entire generation’s financial woes by saying they waste their money is utter bullshit.
Let’s consider the expenses a young professional has to front, just to be equipped in today’s world. I already talked about those crippling student loans. But how about rent? The rent for an average, single bedroom apartment in a major city (where all the jobs are) can range from $1300 to $3000 a month. Most people entering the workforce won’t make that much in a single paycheck.
What did their parents pay when they left school in the 1970’s and 1980’s? Around $430. Yes, they were likely to earn less, but that’s a big difference, one that’s only risen significantly in the last ten years.When your parents were starting out, aside from rent and that cheap junker they drove, they had few expenses. Aside from food and the occasional beer with friends. They had a TV, with free channels. And they had a phone, which was cheap if they were making local calls.
Today? In addition to rent, telephone, cable TV, and Internet access, you have your exorbitant smartphone bill. And while many of these are luxuries (and people are forced to cut back on phone and TV), imagine a young person trying to survive without Internet access. Most jobs are applied for online. Hell, all of my work is done thanks to the Internet. And I know of many jobs that require you to have a smartphone.
The average cost of Internet access for a home ranges between $45-$100 a month. Smartphone plans average at $100 a month. All these things add up, creating a drain on a person’s bank account. Does Gurner really think all our money is being spent on trips to Europe?
While a frugal person can make cuts to save cash, the increased costs are still unavoidable. A person starting out today automatically has more expenses than their parents did. This makes it much harder to save up for that first house, or any other big purchase like a car, or even starting a family.
But no, it’s all those damn smashed avocados.
To dismiss an entire generation’s struggles by saying they waste money is an incredible insult. And it ignores the real issues. I’ve had my ups and downs financially. Through it all, I’ve learned to budget, so I can save money to pay my bills. During the good times, I even have some extra to enjoy a few luxuries (like soft toilet paper). But I can honestly say my struggles had nothing to do with wasteful spending. It had everything to do with a lack of good-paying jobs and unavoidable expenses.
Aside from this kind of insulting treatment over finances, Millennials face other kinds of hate. In an age where one bad mistake can mean years of broken credit, crippling debt, or worse, we are being told we shouldn’t rely on the help of our parents.
Should parents really be picking out (even purchasing) first apartments for their kids?
At a time when what the world needs now is empathy—lots and lots more empathy—an entire generation is being deprived of the important life experience of living in character-building, less-than-ideal dwellings appropriate for their life stage and age.
"Many parenting experts and psychologists recoil at the idea of parents usurping this rite of passage in the name of expediency…," the New York Times explores this week in an article entitled "When Mom Picks Out Your Apartment for You." "You have to wonder, is all this parental help actually helpful?" (Apartment Therapy)
When I first read this article I thought to myself, “Holy crap, there are parents buying their kid’s first apartments!? Sign me up!”
While I believe individuals need to be responsible and earn a living for themselves, the advice proffered in this article is incredibly flawed. But it’s acceptable to say, because it’s based on the ongoing attitude that Millennials—by and large—are pampered babies that refuse to grow up.
Sure, there are plenty of man-babies out there. And lady-babies. But seriously, who doesn’t need the advice and help readily offered by their parents? I mean, they’re your friggin’ parents. Only an idiot would refuse their insight.
The article suggests young people should go ahead and pick their first apartment on their own, without the advice or experience from their parents. You know, the people who did this all before, have valuable tips, and can help you avoid making a terrible decision. They claim it’s good for a person to sign a bad lease, live with ten roommates, and struggle to carry shit up a 5-story walk up.
Yeah… I’m buying that!
When I was looking for an apartment in Brooklyn, once upon a time, I asked my dad to come look at it for me. This man has lived in New York all his life. He knows the city like the back of his hand. When we were looking at a renovated studio for $1100 a month (2011 prices), he had the foresight to check the windows. We discovered that the very large and heavy windows did not stay up when you lifted them. They slammed down hard, easily breaking a person’s hands if they were on the sill. If my father hadn’t had the insight to check, I wouldn’t have thought to do it myself.
But sure, let’s let young people make those kinds of mistakes. Broken bones are fun! Who doesn’t like a trip to the ER?
We have parents for a reason: there are some mistakes we cannot afford to make. A young person might not recover from renting a shitty apartment in a bad neighborhood. Or if they welcome roommates off of Craigslist. Or ruin their credit thanks to an exploitative lease or unscrupulous agent.
This kind of thinking is popular online, because of the general attitude towards Millennials.
I’m not in favor of parents co-signing loans, or paying outright for a kid’s first place (although that would be nice). Earning your own nut is important, and some lessons can only be learned via experience.
But to a certain extent Millennials have been dealt a raw deal. Life is way more complicated than it was in our grandparents’ or even parents’ early years. We have more to contend with, more competition, more burdens, and fewer options.
Does that justify entitled whining? Absolutely not. But does it justify hate from millionaires and ego-driven bloggers?
Surely, you must be joking.