Millennial Survival Guide: How are you getting by?

The proverbial excrement is already smeared across each blade of the ceiling fan for most people under 30. If these numbers have any legitimacy — 55.3 percent of folks 16 to 29 have jobs right now. Yeah, yeah, they’re derived from government research, but let’s assume that they’re actually at least kinda accurate. For those of us who spent (probably wasted) our time going to college , 85% of Millenials are moving back home after graduating. Some of us are ’employed’ to the extent that we have jobs,  but that doesn’t mean we are bringing in enough to pay the bills.

Our standard of living is significantly lower than that of the generations that came before us. A few days of hard work may have paid Dick Cheney’s apartment rent, back when he was a kid with some hair— but this is 2011. A month’s worth of labor these days will cover some rent and a few groceries for most. It’s not building anyone a nest egg.  And, if you’re like me, you still have to call family for bailouts…

I might soon execute the Boomerang strategy myself to shave $800-900  a month off of my living expenses (unfortunately, I could not find Mr. Cheney’s $45 dollar rent rate, go figure). I am seeing little in the way of decently-paying  jobs in the Beltway right now (I guess we can’t all take government contracts for the Pentagon), and it seems a redundancy to take labor jobs to pay rent and utilities when I can live under my parents roof for free, right? Basement-dweller stigma be damned, it’s smarter than doing the debt dance and getting obese on a sodium-laden ramen diet.

Essentially, our lives are being put in a kind of purgatory that no one anticipated. We were told if we worked hard, we’d attain the American Dream. We aren’t seeing that.  It is bound to take an emotional, and psychological toll on most. Moreover, the whole ‘get a job and quit whining’ bit that some Baby Boomers and Gen Xers spew out isn’t quite right either. This little piece , written in 2006 by Daniel Gross (born in 1967 — NOT a Millennial), clearly didn’t see the hurricane of the 2008 crash that was fast-approaching, did it?

The Baby Boomers inherited a land of prosperity from the greatest generation, and squandered it

The grievances of young people are legit. This isn’t just another recession. The economists might not be saying it on the airwaves, but for many people it’s very much a depression, and the Federal Reserve is hiding it with a ballroom masquerade of money printing.

I’m working on a piece over at The American Conservative that will attempt to asses the political ramifications of  the Millennial crisis in the context of the larger global shitstorm the entire world is now swept up in (it should run in January). But this crisis goes much, much deeper than politics.

The crisis runs far deeper than just finances or ballot boxes. I go so far as to say it is a crisis of culture and morality by no stretch of the imagination. It’s multifaceted, inflicting troubles emotional, spiritual, psychological, and even sexual. It’s a big-ass can of worms. I can’t cover the scope of it in one or even 10 blog entries. It’s not a simple quarter-life crisis, though it certainly intersects and compounds with Millennial woes.

We face nothing short of being America’s next ‘Lost Generation‘.

Pardon the horribly trite cliche, but “we are all on this together.”

Some of us will make it, many will not.

So given that —  how are you surviving?

What lengths have you gone to in order to get by?
What lengths are you willing to go to still?

I want to hear your stories — more importantly, what’s your plan to get ahead?

2 responses to “Millennial Survival Guide: How are you getting by?

  • Nick Hankoff

    Without patience, honesty, kindness and a good sense of humor I’d probably miss out on the opportunity that gives me an upward trajectory for success. My financial strategy is basically a faith in karma.

  • sb

    I am 53 years old; my S.O. is 58. We recently decided to retire from our jobs soon and move to a new location. He has announced at his workplace; I am waiting a few more weeks before announcing it.

    I have lived here in my state (California) since I was five years old. We feel that the state is a time bomb waiting to go off. People here have a profound sense of entitlement and Sacramento is desperate for revenue. If economic conditions continue to deteriorate, then we don’t expect that we’ll be safe here. In this state you can get in trouble for defending yourself or asserting your rights by lawful constitutional means.

    We are not wealthy. We are not great investors. The reason we are in a position to retire is because we have never been lavish spenders, have relatively frugal habits and have always striven to stay out of debt. I don’t even contribute to any IRA or “max out” on a retirement plan at work, because I want to keep as much of my savings as possible under as few government rules as possible. Desperate governments do desperate things.

    My S.O. has been patiently waiting for me to pull the retirement lever for a few years. After working 50-60 hour weeks relentlessly for the past few years (I am a software engineer and am employed by the state), I have been watching my health slowly deteriorate. In September I finally hit a breaking point – “That’s it. No more.”

    In the spring we plan to move to another state which is in not such dire financial straits; where living expenses will be substantially cheaper; where there is a more communal feeling; and where we can defend ourselves if necessary should it ever come to that. Besides devoting much time to my S.O., my main goal in life will then be to revitalize and maintain my good health and even help others to do the same. To do that I am doing everything to avoid the conventional medical system, while still relying on the advice and research of medical doctors who have also “opted out” of conventional medicine. I am truly looking forward to that sense of community at our future home. What is the point of having money or things if you don’t have good health to enjoy life and share that feeling with others?

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