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Kinsa

GenX'ers: We're pretty much screwed

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Anyone I know who is renting in my city would be thrilled to be able to afford one of the houses our grandparents lived in.

 

I get so sick and tired of hearing that it's all about inflated expectations. Well, maybe it is, if inflated expectations = having a secure roof over your head. Trust me, I didn't piss away a $100 000 house deposit in lattes. It's gone on rent that is ever increasing, inflated for the quality of the housing stock, and only results in insecure tenancies of a few years in a row anyway.

 

Yes, there was a housing shortage very similar back in the 30's here in my city. But seriously, yay freaking yay we have it better than those who endured the Great Depression ? Is that our baseline for 'OK' ? Maybe it should be that we're better off than medieval peasantry, so no problems, move along ?

 

There is a real and growing gap between the haves and the have nots in our societies. It's not the boomers fault that they fell as a generation onto the 'haves' side. It is their responsibility to use their influence and wealth to reduce the gap, not increase it, and frankly, on any number of measures they are not, at least here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Anyone I know who is renting in my city would be thrilled to be able to afford one of the houses our grandparents lived in.

 

I get so sick and tired of hearing that it's all about inflated expectations. Well, maybe it is, if inflated expectations = having a secure roof over your head. Trust me, I didn't piss away a $100 000 house deposit in lattes. It's gone on rent that is ever increasing, inflated for the quality of the housing stock, and only results in insecure tenancies of a few years in a row anyway.

 

Yes, there was a housing shortage very similar back in the 30's here in my city. But seriously, yay freaking yay we have it better than those who endured the Great Depression ? Is that our baseline for 'OK' ? Maybe it should be that we're better off than medieval peasantry, so no problems, move along ?

 

There is a real and growing gap between the haves and the have nots in our societies. It's not the boomers fault that they fell as a generation onto the 'haves' side. It is their responsibility to use their influence and wealth to reduce the gap, not increase it, and frankly, on any number of measures they are not, at least here.

 

I'm not so sure that it is as simple as that though.  What do you call it when you have a large wage gap, and less employment and social security, and also a pretty strident sort of consumerism about, among other things, housing?  One that does a lot to create an expectation of increasing wealth, even depends on it to stop the system from collapsing?

 

I tend to look at it most fundamentally, or first,  as a sustainability issue.  On the one hand I know a lot of people really struggle, and that people who are doing ok are increasingly worried about things like how they can retire or job security or what if they get sick.  And i think it is crazy and evil that while workers are getting less for their work capitalists are getting more - its pretty obvious where that excess is coming from.

 

But on the other hand, the way we live in the west is simply completely unsustainable environmentally - not just the capitalists but the middle and working classes as well, maybe even many of the poor.  Medieval peasants had some things really rough - security, including food security, could be very poor, there wasn't much help for a lot of health problems...  But in other ways, I don't know that I am willing to say that - their lives by necessity were often tied to what the land could sustain.  Living and working with your family in a small house, be it farming or some sort of craft, not traveling to far and mostly doing so on foot, one or two sets of clothes, few consumer goods - given the world population, that is a lot closer to what we should all be doing if we aren't going to be the people on the upper end of the wealth gap on a global scale and if we aren't going to leave future generations even worse off.  And when they weren't plagued by insecurity and bad health, that lack of things - big houses with yards and cars and computers - doesn't seem to have made them less happy people than we are.

 

So ultimatly while I think there is something terribly unjust in our system, and many people - workers really - are finding it harder and harder to get by, I have a hard time feeling like any people should be having all the things the baby boomers and generation xers do.

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I was born right smack dab in the middle of the defined GenX years, making me solidly a GenX'er.

 

I read this article, and I was nodding my head in agreement the entire time.  Pretty much sums it for us, eh?

 

http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2015-07-10/economic-setbacks-have-hurt-generation-x-more-than-millennials?cmpid=yhoo

 

 

Yup.  Says so right on my birth certificate.  Date of birth - September Thirty-one Nineteen sixty screwed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That is not a typo.  My original birth certificate really said the 31st.  I was extra screwed on that.

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I was at the early end of Generation X (didn't even know I was Gen X until today).  I don't share this experience.  But my younger siblings might.  I have heard them say "I deserve it" in reference to lifestyle choices they really could not afford at the time.  I never did understand the words "I deserve it" in reference to anything other than an earned paycheck, vacation, or retirement.

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I was at the early end of Generation X (didn't even know I was Gen X until today). I don't share this experience. But my younger siblings might. I have heard them say "I deserve it" in reference to lifestyle choices they really could not afford at the time. I never did understand the words "I deserve it" in reference to anything other than an earned paycheck, vacation, or retirement.

Well, L'oreal has been telling women that for years!

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One thing that is happening is that people build houses to court the wealthiest. So even if you are willing and eager to buy a much cheaper, smaller, uglier house with NOTHING in it, you cannot find such a house in a good school district. Theoretically, we should be able to find a place that is smaller square footage, fewer bedrooms, that we could fix up and have two kids share a basement and share a bathroom.

 

The reality is that in our area, whenever such a house goes on the market, they spruce it all up first, and we're priced out. Or they will sell it to a developer who knocks it down and puts something else up. Ostensibly that is to "the market". In a way, it is. The global luxury market.

 

We aren't in the market so our desires don't count.

 

If they don't find a luxury buyer they can rent it out. That's the name of the game.

 

 

 

So ultimatly while I think there is something terribly unjust in our system, and many people - workers really - are finding it harder and harder to get by, I have a hard time feeling like any people should be having all the things the baby boomers and generation xers do.

 

Most GenXers don't have a home.

 

They don't have land.

 

They don't have a trade--their job could be eliminated any moment.

 

Many of them don't even own a car--they lease, because owning a car is a terrible idea, you get screwed on the insurance.

 

http://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/generation-rent-battles-to-get-in-the-game-20131012-2vf43.html

 

I am sick and tired of being told of "all the things" we have. We only own one car and we don't have air conditioning and neither do our GenX neighbors. I know you probably know wealthy complainers, but that doesn't mean that most people who complain are actually wealthy.

 

Are we as poor off as people in the middle ages? No, BUT I know for sure one thing:

 

I would not have paid for my college education if I had thought for one minute it wouldn't do me any good. And I think you will find many Millennials and Gen Xers who paid a huge price in debt for their education will say the same. You promised me what you had, that I could get a "better life" if I studied hard and went to college and I have it worse than you and I owe between $15,000 and $150,000 for this. That is a huge factor in people's discontent. It would not be so bitter if we had not been promised a better future and told to take out loans for it when we were just 18, 19, 20 years old!

 

So people need to stop telling young people to go to college for a better life. We need some truth in advertising here. "Go to college or you will be condemned to a life of indentured servitude. Actually that is the most likely scenario regardless, LOL. This doesn't apply if your parents can pay cash for college. Oh, did we say this was a country where you could work hard and get ahead? HAH! Sucker!"

 

This would all feel a lot better if they weren't lying to children about their futures on a daily basis, you know?

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One thing that is happening is that people build houses to court the wealthiest. So even if you are willing and eager to buy a much cheaper, smaller, uglier house with NOTHING in it, you cannot find such a house in a good school district. Theoretically, we should be able to find a place that is smaller square footage, fewer bedrooms, that we could fix up and have two kids share a basement and share a bathroom.

 

The reality is that in our area, whenever such a house goes on the market, they spruce it all up first, and we're priced out. Or they will sell it to a developer who knocks it down and puts something else up. Ostensibly that is to "the market". In a way, it is. The global luxury market.

 

We aren't in the market so our desires don't count.

 

If they don't find a luxury buyer they can rent it out. That's the name of the game.

 

 

Most GenXers don't have a home.

 

They don't have land.

 

They don't have a trade--their job could be eliminated any moment.

 

Many of them don't even own a car--they lease, because owning a car is a terrible idea, you get screwed on the insurance.

 

http://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/generation-rent-battles-to-get-in-the-game-20131012-2vf43.html

 

I am sick and tired of being told of "all the things" we have. We only own one car and we don't have air conditioning and neither do our GenX neighbors. I know you probably know wealthy complainers, but that doesn't mean that most people who complain are actually wealthy.

 

Are we as poor off as people in the middle ages? No, BUT I know for sure one thing:

 

I would not have paid for my college education if I had thought for one minute it wouldn't do me any good. And I think you will find many Millennials and Gen Xers who paid a huge price in debt for their education will say the same. You promised me what you had, that I could get a "better life" if I studied hard and went to college and I have it worse than you and I owe between $15,000 and $150,000 for this. That is a huge factor in people's discontent. It would not be so bitter if we had not been promised a better future and told to take out loans for it when we were just 18, 19, 20 years old!

 

So people need to stop telling young people to go to college for a better life. We need some truth in advertising here. "Go to college or you will be condemned to a life of indentured servitude. Actually that is the most likely scenario regardless, LOL. This doesn't apply if your parents can pay cash for college. Oh, did we say this was a country where you could work hard and get ahead? HAH! Sucker!"

 

This would all feel a lot better if they weren't lying to children about their futures on a daily basis, you know?

 

Actually I think most US Gen-Xrs either own or reasonably anticipate owning a home and car.  Do you have statistics showing otherwise?

 

For those who don't, it's not necessarily because they can't/couldn't, it might be because they have chosen to spend money on experiences over hard assets.

 

When I was a kid, my parents were homeowners.  But we almost never went to restaurants of any kind (including McDs).  I saw maybe 5 movies (in theatres) throughout my childhood.  If we spent the night away from home, it was in a canvas tent on a holiday weekend.  I was never on a commercial plane or train or saw live theatre until grad school.  There is a popular resort place 1 hour from my birthplace and my family never went there.  Nowadays most people don't deny themselves relatively modest, accessible experiences in order to save for something bigger.  It's considered a valid choice since many people move often.

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Well, binip, the boomers in this area will flat out tell you that gen x should go live elsewhere...see, their desire to have children and commute 2 hrs to a high paying city job means that property taxes have to go up dramatically to expand the local rural infrastructure, and boomers dont want to pay for that. They are conflicted...the ones that are developers have happily been passing those costs on to the buyers, but now its such a high percent of income that no one is buying, even after they restricted lot sizes to 3 acres and built 3000+sq ft mansions. To buy a home here now as a 20 to 40 something, one needs a partner and roommates, just as they did 25 years ago if they didnt have a good union job.. Or one needs to belong to a religious group that has an exemption and live on its property.no one actually wealthy with family is buying to live here, because the schools and infrastructure are so bad. Plenty though are buying homes to rent out. My younger neighbors are all 2 families in a single family 90 year old home on a quarter acre.

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So people need to stop telling young people to go to college for a better life. We need some truth in advertising here. "Go to college or you will be condemned to a life of indentured servitude. Actually that is the most likely scenario regardless, LOL. This doesn't apply if your parents can pay cash for college. Oh, did we say this was a country where you could work hard and get ahead? HAH! Sucker!"

 

This would all feel a lot better if they weren't lying to children about their futures on a daily basis, you know?

 

My family had enough savings for 3 years at a private college, but it would've been a much smarter financial decision in retrospect to have taken those savings and bought a home. Student loan payments would've s*cked but not as much as paying $$$ in rent for a decade and what our mortgage is now.

 

Attending college wasn't a bad financial decision. Paying cash for the tuition and room & board instead of purchasing a house in 1995 was.

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One thing that is happening is that people build houses to court the wealthiest. So even if you are willing and eager to buy a much cheaper, smaller, uglier house with NOTHING in it, you cannot find such a house in a good school district. Theoretically, we should be able to find a place that is smaller square footage, fewer bedrooms, that we could fix up and have two kids share a basement and share a bathroom.

 

The reality is that in our area, whenever such a house goes on the market, they spruce it all up first, and we're priced out. Or they will sell it to a developer who knocks it down and puts something else up. Ostensibly that is to "the market". In a way, it is. The global luxury market.

 

We aren't in the market so our desires don't count.

 

If they don't find a luxury buyer they can rent it out. That's the name of the game.

 

 

Most GenXers don't have a home.

 

They don't have land.

 

They don't have a trade--their job could be eliminated any moment.

 

Many of them don't even own a car--they lease, because owning a car is a terrible idea, you get screwed on the insurance.

 

http://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/generation-rent-battles-to-get-in-the-game-20131012-2vf43.html

 

I am sick and tired of being told of "all the things" we have. We only own one car and we don't have air conditioning and neither do our GenX neighbors. I know you probably know wealthy complainers, but that doesn't mean that most people who complain are actually wealthy.

 

Are we as poor off as people in the middle ages? No, BUT I know for sure one thing:

 

I would not have paid for my college education if I had thought for one minute it wouldn't do me any good. And I think you will find many Millennials and Gen Xers who paid a huge price in debt for their education will say the same. You promised me what you had, that I could get a "better life" if I studied hard and went to college and I have it worse than you and I owe between $15,000 and $150,000 for this. That is a huge factor in people's discontent. It would not be so bitter if we had not been promised a better future and told to take out loans for it when we were just 18, 19, 20 years old!

 

So people need to stop telling young people to go to college for a better life. We need some truth in advertising here. "Go to college or you will be condemned to a life of indentured servitude. Actually that is the most likely scenario regardless, LOL. This doesn't apply if your parents can pay cash for college. Oh, did we say this was a country where you could work hard and get ahead? HAH! Sucker!"

 

This would all feel a lot better if they weren't lying to children about their futures on a daily basis, you know?

 

I think all your complaints are true, but I also think it is a much bigger problem than just Gen X people being screwed.  I wasn't actually thinking particularly of wealthy complainers, but in terms of what would be a long-term sustainable level of consumption - it is far far smaller than many people realize.  I think all of us have developed or been given a profoundly warped sense of what it means to be well off - even if we each have access to a personal vehicle, that is probably an unsustainable level of consumption,  Even living like I do in a 60 year old 1400 sq ft house that has never really been upgraded and needs new windows, and owning one old used car, is using more than my share if we were to divide out the resources of the Earth.  It's true that people need homes, they need cars, they need telephones, to get by and work, but if we are honest we need to realize that is a sick system.  The idea that wealth will increase in each generation is as crazy as an economic system that depends on infinite growth, and even maintaining a baseline is impossible if the baseline is set too high.

 

All of these things we are being sold are false goods - university to get a job is most of the time too, (and I am happy to say that here in Canada it seems to be much less of an aspirational thing than in the US as well as less competitive and weird.)  The whole university as a vocational program idea was pretty arbitrary in the first place and has been bad for universities as well.

 

The idea of workers who own nothing that will allow them to care for themselves, often not even skills, is pretty much the heart of capitalism.  I agree it is a problem, maybe the most important problem economically.  And its pretty closely tied to the problem of people being forces out of neighbourhoods and such too.

 

Being mad about being sold a false set of dreams is fine, though I think most of the people who said these things really thought they were true, and a lot of people still really think that.  I am sure all the parents on this forum who are spending so much effort getting their kids into university no matter what they plan to study are not thinking it is leading them down the yellow brick road.    Getting out there and fighting the system is important.  Trying to get back on that aspirational wagon is not the answer though, I think in the end we need to divorce ourselves from it and leave it behind, mentally if we can't always in actuality, and perhaps that means letting go of being angry - if I really believe the way I am living is actually in accord with reality, and the people who think we should have more are decieved, it is hard to be angry about not having so much.  It's harder with the security issues though. 

 

But in the end as long as people continue to drive the system it will probably chug on.    i'm not pushing university for my kids myself.  My hope is that we will retire and be able to purchase a good sized chunk of land, and if they keep it in the family they ca live there and at least farm it and feed themselves.  So I may lean to pushing trades and other practical skills (including possibly university professional programs like nursing) unless they are clearly cut out to be academics.  I think the best think is not just a realistic view of what they can expect in terms of wealth, but the ability to pretty much drop out of the system altogether.

 

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Actually I think most US Gen-Xrs either own or reasonably anticipate owning a home and car.  Do you have statistics showing otherwise?

 

For those who don't, it's not necessarily because they can't/couldn't, it might be because they have chosen to spend money on experiences over hard assets.

 

When I was a kid, my parents were homeowners.  But we almost never went to restaurants of any kind (including McDs).  I saw maybe 5 movies (in theatres) throughout my childhood.  If we spent the night away from home, it was in a canvas tent on a holiday weekend.  I was never on a commercial plane or train or saw live theatre until grad school.  There is a popular resort place 1 hour from my birthplace and my family never went there.  Nowadays most people don't deny themselves relatively modest, accessible experiences in order to save for something bigger.  It's considered a valid choice since many people move often.

 

I think perhaps what she meant by own a home was to actually own it, without a mortgage.  It is becoming less and less common for people to get them paid off as they tend to move, and upgrade with each purchase.  In places with tight housing owning at all is becoming less and less common as well.

 

There is a real sense that we are essentially paying expensive rents to bankers for most of the stuff we use - their are even quite a lot of places now with rent to own tvs and furniture.  If a person owns real capital, they can use it to make a living, or at least they can normally sell it.  If you have a mortgage and lose your job, your hose can actually be a liability to you, not something you can use to sustain you.  And because we mostly don't work from our homes because we work for other people, and often can't even if we wanted yo because of zoning, they are no help for a workplace either.

 

Many many people are in a position that while they have a lot of consumer goods, they actually have no real capital, no ability to use their land or house or possessions to sustain themselves.  As Chesterton said - the problem with capitalism is not too many capitalists, but too few. 

 

 

 

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I have a couple questions for those in this thread that have college degrees and a lot of debt that they think wasn't worth it.  What were your majors and which school(s) did you attend?

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I think getting an education is worth it even if you don't "use it."  Like travel and reading are worth it.  They don't make us financially richer but they make our lives richer IMO.

 

Going deep into debt for an education is another story.  (And yes, I did that.)

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Well, every generation has its trials, if one wants to focus on that.  But a lot of things are also easier now, if you want to focus on that.

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Actually I think most US Gen-Xrs either own or reasonably anticipate owning a home and car.  Do you have statistics showing otherwise?

 

For those who don't, it's not necessarily because they can't/couldn't, it might be because they have chosen to spend money on experiences over hard assets.

 

When I was a kid, my parents were homeowners.  But we almost never went to restaurants of any kind (including McDs).  I saw maybe 5 movies (in theatres) throughout my childhood.  If we spent the night away from home, it was in a canvas tent on a holiday weekend.  I was never on a commercial plane or train or saw live theatre until grad school.  There is a popular resort place 1 hour from my birthplace and my family never went there.  Nowadays most people don't deny themselves relatively modest, accessible experiences in order to save for something bigger.  It's considered a valid choice since many people move often.

 

Yes, there are endless statistics showing otherwise. You are 10 years older than me, I think, so on the cusp, but from 40 on down it's a bloodbath.

 

http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2014/04/30/homeownership-for-millennials-declines-to-historic-lows

 

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/10/homeownership-is-historically-weakdont-blame-millennials/382010/

 

Generation X here is labeled as the "cheapest" generation... funny how it works, one day we're gluttons, the next, cheap... if you read the article, you can see that generation X is basically not getting to the management positions because there are plenty of people in them already, which is great for them... not great for us.

 

 

 

I think getting an education is worth it even if you don't "use it." 

 

But you make money. You wouldn't feel the same if you were looking at the possibility of your kids not going to college themselves because of your stupid choices. It's not worth sacrificing your future or your children's future and that's what people are facing.

 

Dad:

 

I had an undergrad major that could have gone to law, medicine, anything. Philosophy. But I chose the non-profit world because, well, at that time, when I chose it, salaries were fairly low but not incredibly so. I knew teachers and social workers who had bought houses within a one-hour commute from their work. But after the recession, jobs have been slashed and salaries cut in half. So whereas it made sense at the time, now it makes no sense to be a teacher. I actually know three teachers who quit teaching in the last year. It really sucks.

 

So, here are the majors that I would suggest people not go into because I know people with these degrees who are getting re-trained right now, and if they are using their degree it is only peripherally:

 

Public Administration

Teaching

Social Science

Social service

Counseling

Anything related to anyone who doesn't have money, such as children, veterans, or the elderly poor

Environmental science unless it's mines and minerals (extraction), not preservation, not parks

Biology, life sciences, even biotech, UNLESS you know somebody who already has a home in San Francisco or Boston

Family medicine (I know two doctors who left because they could not pay off their loans in family medicine--doctors, can you imagine?!?) and went instead into specialty cosmetic medicine

Art (duh)

Music (duh)

Any form of research which is not directly tied to the sales department (like market research), even biotech and tech research, because that is owned by the company and once they get the patents they will close the plant

 

People I know who do not regret their degrees:

 

Lawyers

Specialty doctors (dermatologists, surgeons)

Nurses (not super high pay but no debt since it's an associate's degree)

Investment bankers (I know only two, though... both have homes and cars)

Computer scientists

Civil engineers

Real estate agents

Advertising

Dental hygienists, again because of the low cost and flexible hours and relatively high salary, but won't support a family

 

Build, buy, or sell: that makes money. You have power over your life.

 

Healing, teaching, and organizing are not legitimate career choices because the people who need those goods and services are not the ones who pay for them, so you are basically a professional beggar.

 

Previously they were jobs done by women for free. They were paid jobs for a short period of time and as a young person I did not see how ephemeral that was, so I do regret my choices and take responsibility for them, but I wouldn't expect an 18 year old now to understand the situation either. So that is why I keep repeating it and posting it.

 

So that is why I repeat, repeat, repeat: Nobody will pay you to increase the competition against their own kids, by helping other people. 

 

 

 

 I am sure all the parents on this forum who are spending so much effort getting their kids into university no matter what they plan to study are not thinking it is leading them down the yellow brick road.   

 

Yes, I realize that, which is why I am so vocal. They need to realize that they should not pay for that. I feel like, I suffered, others suffered, we need to stop paying into this system!

 

I realize this is kind of an argument against a civilized society, but what to do? If we aren't going to fund a civilized society, I'm not going to continue on a career path just because I wish we were funding it.

 

For the record I am setting myself up as well as I can. I am trying to earn more and I am hustling. I'm not asking for a fat paycheck without working at it. I'm ready to work.

 

But, I feel I was misled and I don't want my kids misled.

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This data makes perfect sense to me. The high earning families I know mostly started out with HUGE student debt, and most of us are just getting it paid off around age 45-55 (depending on the field of study). I know that our own personal "net wealth" curve was a very dramatic shift from far in the red, to close to zero, to tipping into the black, and then more recently, the accumulation of "wealth" finally really began. That said, that accumulation of wealth should often accelerate rapidly once student loans and/or other "investment debt" (business acquisition debt, etc.) is paid off and so then the high earning power can finally make a big difference in wealth once it is done paying off all that debt. At age 40, my dh joked, truthfully, that he had gone to school for 27 years (or something like that), was $1,000,000 in debt and lived in a trailer in WV. It was totally true. 10 years later, things have changed dramatically. ;)

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I wonder how much of the home ownership drop for young people is because young people are waiting longer to settle down in general.  To get married and have kids, to stop jumping around in their careers, and then to buy a massive hard asset they can't pack up and take with them.

 

Still, for young people who haven't been out of school very long, the % of home ownership is not surprisingly low IMO.  I'm actually surprised at how many are homeowners before age 25.

 

As for me being on the cusp age-wise, that's true, but I have 3 younger siblings (youngest just turned 36), and they all own homes and cars too.  At least around here, it's not a difficult matter to move from renting to owning, it's really just a choice to settle down in one place.  It's actually cheaper to be a homeowner in my neck of the woods, if you don't plan on moving again soon.

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This data makes perfect sense to me. The high earning families I know mostly started out with HUGE student debt, and most of us are just getting it paid off around age 45-55 (depending on the field of study). I know that our own personal "net wealth" curve was a very dramatic shift from far in the red, to close to zero, to tipping into the black, and then more recently, the accumulation of "wealth" finally really began. That said, that accumulation of wealth should often accelerate rapidly once student loans and/or other "investment debt" (business acquisition debt, etc.) is paid off and so then the high earning power can finally make a big difference in wealth once it is done paying off all that debt. At age 40, my dh joked, truthfully, that he had gone to school for 27 years (or something like that), was $1,000,000 in debt and lived in a trailer in WV. It was totally true. 10 years later, things have changed dramatically. ;)

 

Right.  My mantra was always "delayed gratification."  20 years ago I had $250,000 debt in my name [though I actually owed "only" $150,000 of it], and my assets were one-third of a house (mortgaged) and a Saturn SL1.  I used to joke that I wished someone would sue me for my entire net worth.  ;) 

 

I spent more on graduate school than I should have, but in the big picture that was not such a big deal.  In the long run I am better off than I would have been had I cut my education short.

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I think rising home prices are a regional thing. It really depends on where you live though and it greatly affects how you probably perceive you are doing. If you don't own a home already have you thought of moving to a place where you can afford a home with your career?

 

Teachers, nurses, carpenters, mechanics, and social workers can own homes in our area. Nurses are very much in high demand and make good money. There are different levels of nursing degrees, not all have only an Associates.

 

I think we have a housing issue in our area because we are becoming a city and the older generations are very anti-high density housing. If there is no land it's time to share. Regulations and complaints of home owners in the area sometimes shut down the building of condominiums. They don't understand that demand is outpacing supply and there is no land left. People need affordable options. So there are problems but I think your own circumstances may be clouding your view.

 

My dh and I can't figure out how everyone affords newer vehicles, motor homes, vacations, and an atv for all 6 members of their family (not that I really want these things, well unless my car is on the side of the road with smoke boiling out of the hood;) )but perhaps they just make more or maybe they aren't funding their retirement. These are people our age(in their thirties). Who knows but I know previous generations didn't usually buy motor homes in their thirties so they can't be that bad off.

 

There are people who are well off and people who struggle in every generation.

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And people are really just sharing stories of personal struggle, not looking at the larger statistics. The facts are that the average home is larger than it has ever been and people have more square footage per person than ever before in history. The poor in the past starved. Now they are overweight. People live longer than they ever have. Life expectancy for GenXers is higher than even for Boomers.

 

The fact is that by reasonable measures, people today are wealthier than people of previous generations. Do some people still struggle? Of course they do. But forget comparing yourselves to the Middle Ages. Your "struggles" today would be laughable to someone struggling a hundred years ago. When you struggled a hundred years ago your children literally died from malnutrition and a lack of medical care.

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I realize this is kind of an argument against a civilized society, but what to do? If we aren't going to fund a civilized society, I'm not going to continue on a career path just because I wish we were funding it.

 

 

I don't think its an argument against a civilized society - its an argument about the idiocy of making university degrees the method for a large catagory of vocational training.  It's totally unnecessary in most cases, and very inefficient and that is why it costs so much.

 

My aunt who retired a few years ago had a very successful career as an addictions counselor, and made a reasonable living at it.  She didn't have any debt either, because she didn't have a degree in social work or counseling or anything else.  She started in the field in a low level position and had talent and so was promoted and given training and she learned by reading as well in order to do better at her job.

 

Historically the university existed as a place mainly for really talented people to think and do research and that was felt to be an important human endevour, and it also happened to be good for the whole society.  Other people got vocational training other ways after they finished their basic public education, and if they were so inclined they might use some of the books written by academics or other resources of the university. 

 

That seems pretty civilized to me, maybe more so than a university that has largely become a vocational school and is compromised in its own basic purpose.  The vast majority of people who come out of university having perused vocational training in university aren't really educated in any larger sense - my grandparents, none of whom had degrees, were all far more educated than most graduates these days.

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I wonder how much of the home ownership drop for young people is because young people are waiting longer to settle down in general.  To get married and have kids, to stop jumping around in their careers

 

You've got the causality backwards. People are holding off on getting married & having kids BECAUSE stable jobs with career potential are so hard to find AND housing is so expensive. My BIL finally married his long-term girlfriend in January at age 29 when he was able to land a permanent position at the company where he'd been a contract worker. Whereas DH and I got married when he was 23 because he had a stable job (Army officer) that came with free housing.

 

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There are people who are well off and people who struggle in every generation.

 

Upper-middle class people who struggled financially in the past did so because they spent extravagantly on a lavish lifestyle. Today families struggle not because they've leased a Mercedes and jetted off to Club Med too often but because their rent on a modest place went up again or they got hit with a large medical expense & they haven't yet hit their deductible (which even as recently as '07 was typically <$500). BIG difference.

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Actually I think most US Gen-Xrs either own or reasonably anticipate owning a home and car.  Do you have statistics showing otherwise?

 

For those who don't, it's not necessarily because they can't/couldn't, it might be because they have chosen to spend money on experiences over hard assets.

 

When I was a kid, my parents were homeowners.  But we almost never went to restaurants of any kind (including McDs).  I saw maybe 5 movies (in theatres) throughout my childhood.  If we spent the night away from home, it was in a canvas tent on a holiday weekend.  I was never on a commercial plane or train or saw live theatre until grad school.  There is a popular resort place 1 hour from my birthplace and my family never went there.  Nowadays most people don't deny themselves relatively modest, accessible experiences in order to save for something bigger.  It's considered a valid choice since many people move often.

We had two vacations in the entirety of my childhood and both involved driving a couple states over to stay with and aunt and uncle for a few days.

 

I agree that people make different decisions today on the whole (exceptions exist). 

 

Every tenant I have had drives a nicer vehicle than I do, but mine is mine -I own it. 

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You've got the causality backwards. People are holding off on getting married & having kids BECAUSE stable jobs with career potential are so hard to find AND housing is so expensive. My BIL finally married his long-term girlfriend in January at age 29 when he was able to land a permanent position at the company where he'd been a contract worker. Whereas DH and I got married when he was 23 because he had a stable job (Army officer) that came with free housing.

 

I think it is working both ways. 

 

Jobs are nonexistent, if they don't involve asking if you want fries with that.

And many people are not forming lifelong attachments but are merely shacking up sequentially.

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I don't think its an argument against a civilized society - its an argument about the idiocy of making university degrees the method for a large catagory of vocational training.  It's totally unnecessary in most cases, and very inefficient and that is why it costs so much.

 

My aunt who retired a few years ago had a very successful career as an addictions counselor, and made a reasonable living at it.  She didn't have any debt either, because she didn't have a degree in social work or counseling or anything else.  She started in the field in a low level position and had talent and so was promoted and given training and she learned by reading as well in order to do better at her job.

 

Historically the university existed as a place mainly for really talented people to think and do research and that was felt to be an important human endevour, and it also happened to be good for the whole society.  Other people got vocational training other ways after they finished their basic public education, and if they were so inclined they might use some of the books written by academics or other resources of the university. 

 

That seems pretty civilized to me, maybe more so than a university that has largely become a vocational school and is compromised in its own basic purpose.  The vast majority of people who come out of university having perused vocational training in university aren't really educated in any larger sense - my grandparents, none of whom had degrees, were all far more educated than most graduates these days.

Right.  I totally agree with the bolded. BOY, do we need tradesmen in this generation.  They are all older and dying off.  Younger ones all think they need to go to college and rack up debt when they really aren't college material or even interested in academic pursuits.  They could clean up in the trades, where the average homeowner today struggles to identify a screwdriver. 

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Yes, there are endless statistics showing otherwise. You are 10 years older than me, I think, so on the cusp, but from 40 on down it's a bloodbath.

 

http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2014/04/30/homeownership-for-millennials-declines-to-historic-lows

 

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/10/homeownership-is-historically-weakdont-blame-millennials/382010/

 

Generation X here is labeled as the "cheapest" generation... funny how it works, one day we're gluttons, the next, cheap... if you read the article, you can see that generation X is basically not getting to the management positions because there are plenty of people in them already, which is great for them... not great for us.

 

 

But you make money. You wouldn't feel the same if you were looking at the possibility of your kids not going to college themselves because of your stupid choices. It's not worth sacrificing your future or your children's future and that's what people are facing.

 

Dad:

 

I had an undergrad major that could have gone to law, medicine, anything. Philosophy. But I chose the non-profit world because, well, at that time, when I chose it, salaries were fairly low but not incredibly so. I knew teachers and social workers who had bought houses within a one-hour commute from their work. But after the recession, jobs have been slashed and salaries cut in half. So whereas it made sense at the time, now it makes no sense to be a teacher. I actually know three teachers who quit teaching in the last year. It really sucks.

 

So, here are the majors that I would suggest people not go into because I know people with these degrees who are getting re-trained right now, and if they are using their degree it is only peripherally:

 

Public Administration

Teaching

Social Science

Social service

Counseling

Anything related to anyone who doesn't have money, such as children, veterans, or the elderly poor

Environmental science unless it's mines and minerals (extraction), not preservation, not parks

Biology, life sciences, even biotech, UNLESS you know somebody who already has a home in San Francisco or Boston

Family medicine (I know two doctors who left because they could not pay off their loans in family medicine--doctors, can you imagine?!?) and went instead into specialty cosmetic medicine

Art (duh)

Music (duh)

Any form of research which is not directly tied to the sales department (like market research), even biotech and tech research, because that is owned by the company and once they get the patents they will close the plant

 

People I know who do not regret their degrees:

 

Lawyers

Specialty doctors (dermatologists, surgeons)

Nurses (not super high pay but no debt since it's an associate's degree)

Investment bankers (I know only two, though... both have homes and cars)

Computer scientists

Civil engineers

Real estate agents

Advertising

Dental hygienists, again because of the low cost and flexible hours and relatively high salary, but won't support a family

 

Build, buy, or sell: that makes money. You have power over your life.

 

Healing, teaching, and organizing are not legitimate career choices because the people who need those goods and services are not the ones who pay for them, so you are basically a professional beggar.

 

Previously they were jobs done by women for free. They were paid jobs for a short period of time and as a young person I did not see how ephemeral that was, so I do regret my choices and take responsibility for them, but I wouldn't expect an 18 year old now to understand the situation either. So that is why I keep repeating it and posting it.

 

So that is why I repeat, repeat, repeat: Nobody will pay you to increase the competition against their own kids, by helping other people. 

 

 

Yes, I realize that, which is why I am so vocal. They need to realize that they should not pay for that. I feel like, I suffered, others suffered, we need to stop paying into this system!

 

I realize this is kind of an argument against a civilized society, but what to do? If we aren't going to fund a civilized society, I'm not going to continue on a career path just because I wish we were funding it.

 

For the record I am setting myself up as well as I can. I am trying to earn more and I am hustling. I'm not asking for a fat paycheck without working at it. I'm ready to work.

 

But, I feel I was misled and I don't want my kids misled.

 

 

 

[ Real estate agents don't get a degree to do real estate, though they may have a degree from some other field.  Just FYI.  It's a 6 week course and then a test to get a license.]

 

Agree with you that Build, Buy, or Sell is where it's at, and looking to transition into that in a more lucrative way here. 

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Upper-middle class people who struggled financially in the past did so because they spent extravagantly on a lavish lifestyle. Today families struggle not because they've leased a Mercedes and jetted off to Club Med too often but because their rent on a modest place went up again or they got hit with a large medical expense & they haven't yet hit their deductible (which even as recently as '07 was typically <$500). BIG difference.

Do you have proof that is true for all people? I'm sorry but in the past could mean a new invention tanked your business, a war broke out, you became sick, your house burned down, your husband died. We have more types of insurance and social safety nets than ever before.

 

Acvording to statistics people with lower incomes than my household income had bigger homes, smartphones, more cars, t.v.s, and appliances than I do.

 

I don't buy it.

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Do you have proof that is true for all people? I'm sorry but in the past could mean a new invention tanked your business, a war broke out, you became sick, your house burned down, your husband died. We have more types of insurance and social safety nets than ever before.

 

Acvording to statistics people with lower incomes than my household income had bigger homes, smartphones, more cars, t.v.s, and appliances than I do.

 

I don't buy it.

 

Without knowing your income I can't really comment on the bolded.  Smart phones and TVs are relatively inexpensive compared to previous generations (well, televisions anyway) and generally most families have one car per adult or less.  Considering most of those at lower income levels do not have SAHM moms, having two vehicles so everyone can get to work seems like a necessity in a country with limited public transportation.

 

To your first point, yes, there is some evidence that instability in the job market combined with more people seeking higher education is causing some to hold off marriage longer.  And our social safety nets really aren't that great and have massive gaps in them.

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Where are these ps teachers so poorly paid? Our district starts at 34,000 and goes to 72,000 (with admin making double that). That's considerably more than I'm living on. You can't really average those numbers as the average teacher has been there for so many years that they're are closer to the 72,000 figure. Doctorate adds in more. I keep hearing about poorly paid teachers--they aren't here. 

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ChocolateReign -She made a comment that people in the past got into bad situations because they lived lavish lifestyles.

I contend that there were people who got into trouble due to circumstances out of their control and people who spent too much.

I think the same is true today. Some people spend too much and some people have genuine bad luck or other problems. Nothing you said refutes that.

Yes, millennials have a hard time launching but the statistics don't tell us why. Never read more into statistics then they actually say. My younger sister in law doesn't have a home but that has nothing to do with her being a millennial but rather she has traveled the world extensively. If you look at her "wealth" and income you might throw a pity party for her but that is what she wants and she has no children.

 Three years ago I had no cell phone, 190 square feet per person house, and my food budget restricted beef to twice a week and a very rationed fruits and veggies. We live in Alaska where the cost of living is higher than many others especially fruits.  At the time I looked it up for (probably a thread like this) I was very very surprised that in many aspects I lived with less than those who were considered living in poverty and our household income was over $70,000 at the time.  At times I too have lived in poverty though that is no longer the case. It was practically impossible to save. At the time we continued to live off my husbands salary which was below the poverty line for our area and saved my money I made waiting tables at night so we wouldn't have to pay day care.

I remember talking to my husband and he reminded me that not everyone knows they can save money by cooking a pot of beans or hand washing and line drying cloth diapers. That is true.

I would have to re look up info since we moved to a larger home and eat more avocados and fresh fruit so we probably spend well above the poverty line which was where I was getting data before. Comparing living circumstances and grocery budgets with a study on poverty. I would need to find the same kind of study with the middle class, whatever that is.

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Do you have proof that is true for all people? I'm sorry but in the past could mean a new invention tanked your business, a war broke out, you became sick, your house burned down, your husband died. We have more types of insurance and social safety nets than ever before.

 

Acvording to statistics people with lower incomes than my household income had bigger homes, smartphones, more cars, t.v.s, and appliances than I do.

 

I don't buy it.

 

More than 25-30 years ago? I'm not buying that.

 

I know what life was like in the '80's and '90's because I lived through it. And I know what life is like in 2015 and it is WAAAAAAY changed for the worse in terms of COL.

 

Is the technology better today? Sure. But that doesn't make up for the price of basics (housing, healthcare, higher education, gasoline, etc.) shooting through the roof.

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Yes, I will agree that housing, healthcare, and education has dramatically increased in price due to government subsidizing the demand. Notice food, clothes, and communications are basics but not moving up in price. It is impossible to tease out every variable but it is most likely government subsidizing demand that is dramatically increasing costs although local regulation and zoning laws also keep down supply of housing.

 

But we are talking whole generations not just what you've seen in the last few decades. My mother was a boomer and had it really rough. Lots of people in the last three generations lost jobs dealt with crazy inflation and illness has always been a trial. Perhaps doctor bills weren't always as expensive but then again it's only in the last couple generations that doctors did all that much. Instead the person died and loss of income and other complications wrecked havoc on those who were left behind.

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You've got the causality backwards. People are holding off on getting married & having kids BECAUSE stable jobs with career potential are so hard to find AND housing is so expensive. My BIL finally married his long-term girlfriend in January at age 29 when he was able to land a permanent position at the company where he'd been a contract worker. Whereas DH and I got married when he was 23 because he had a stable job (Army officer) that came with free housing.

 

completely wrong.

 people in the past got married because that is what was done. People did not live with their girlfriend. you got married, and very very slowly built up your possessions and wealth. NOW people want to have gazillions of possessions and wealth then get married. AND  now they want their wedding to be a very big expensive affair- not what it was in the past

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You've got the causality backwards. People are holding off on getting married & having kids BECAUSE stable jobs with career potential are so hard to find AND housing is so expensive. My BIL finally married his long-term girlfriend in January at age 29 when he was able to land a permanent position at the company where he'd been a contract worker. Whereas DH and I got married when he was 23 because he had a stable job (Army officer) that came with free housing.

 

Exactly!

 

I know a lot of couples in this position. One couple waited so long for the job situation and other factors to work out, we made shirts encouraging him to ask her. This was not a couple of slackers either. She's a PhD in Math and he has a tech related MS degree. Now they have moved so she has a job and he's a SAHD.

 

I have another friend who would very much like to be married with kids right now. She met the right man some time ago and he feels the same. They both have degrees and both in fields you would think they would be able to find work in, especially since they don't have kids or strong family ties to the area and would be happy to move ANYWHERE. Well. They are both a little younger than me and graduated in a recession. They each took jobs to pay the bills (accounting clerk, retail). There are now jobs in those fields opening up but they are not going to the people who graduated in 2007-2010 and have been getting by on unrelated work. They are going to new graduates from 2014 and 2015. They can just afford to support themselves on their combined income and they live in a 1 bedroom apartment and mostly ride the bus (but they do own a luxury vehicle- a 20 year old Toyota Corolla for when they need to go someplace they can't go on the bus.) They have no debt besides school loans. What are they supposed to do? If they have kids now, some would say that is irresponsible. If they did, there's little hope of either paying for good childcare of making it work on one income. And that's if they rent and drive a 20 year old car forever. And if they wait, they don't know that it will get better and it's not like she's going to be 33 or fertile forever.

 

Never having kids you want is a high price to pay for school debt and misfortune of graduating in a recession. My friends are far from alone and I really wish people would stop telling them and people like them that their expectations are too high. They have no expectations but they would like a crack at a career that would support a family and hell, a 2 bedroom apartment. They decided to get engaged and will marry this year. They still don't know what they will do about kids.

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completely wrong.

people in the past got married because that is what was done. People did not live with their girlfriend. you got married, and very very slowly built up your possessions and wealth. NOW people want to have gazillions of possessions and wealth then get married. AND now they want their wedding to be a very big expensive affair- not what it was in the past

This is not what I see happening in my peer group or those a touch younger than me at all. Very few have had big expensive weddings. Very few want wealth before marriage. But they would like a reasonable shake at a decent job and decent housing.

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Yes, I will agree that housing, healthcare, and education has dramatically increased in price due to government subsidizing the demand. Notice food, clothes, and communications are basics but not moving up in price. It is impossible to tease out every variable but it is most likely government subsidizing demand that is dramatically increasing costs although local regulation and zoning laws also keep down supply of housing.

 

But we are talking whole generations not just what you've seen in the last few decades. My mother was a boomer and had it really rough. Lots of people in the last three generations lost jobs dealt with crazy inflation and illness has always been a trial. Perhaps doctor bills weren't always as expensive but then again it's only in the last couple generations that doctors did all that much. Instead the person died and loss of income and other complications wrecked havoc on those who were left behind.

The demand need for food is heavily boosted by government and charitable programs. Also, anyone grocery shopping would likely disagree that the prices have not been rising.

 

The price of clothes have fallen because the production costs of clothes are kept very low in the global economy.

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Yes, I never grocery shop for my family of six. The food just falls out of the sky. When the price of oil went down grocery prices dropped where I live because everything is shipped here. I'm so thankful for a global economy or my diet would be horrible.

 

The food that is most subsidized is grains and then we wonder why everyone is obese. I would like to say the sugar tariffs would help with the health issues but since people still want sweet stuff we just end up with subsidized corn syrup in everything.


For every anecdote you give me I can give you another. I am 36 but ok if you tell me that it sucks to live as part of my generation I guess that must be the case. Obviously my life and all my friends lives are miserable and we just didn't know it. I will let them know that next time we have a get together. I'm sure it will create a good laugh. My friends that are younger then me with the big fancy houses that I can't imagine ever being able to afford will probably scratch their head.

I will tell my younger sister-in-law  that she should not be traveling the world on her school teacher salary. That she is confused and that can't possibly be happening.

Then I will tell my parents and grandparents that they had it so much easier then my generation. I'm pretty sure they will be struck dumb so they probably won't argue much. I can't tell my grandfather cause he died quite young from black lung from coal mining and grandma who almost starved my uncle because she didn't have enough fat on her body to produce milk cause she worked so hard. But my other grandparents might like to know. I'll tell them our generation really got the short end of the stick.

I realize that some people are struggling now but it doesn't have to be one generation. Some older people are struggling and some younger and some of both groups are doing great. You won't convince me that one generation has the monopoly on hard luck.

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No one is arguing that one generation has a monopoly on hard luck. My grandfather nearly starved to death as an orphan during a supposed boom time before the Depression. There are people of all ages doing fabulously well now. I am doing ok and see that my friends a little younger than me are having a rough time compared to my family (I've never faced involuntary unemployment or underemployment, we were able to buy on the young side etc).

 

But the evidence tends to suggest that certain markers of economic attainment are falling off for people under a certain age.

 

Finally, frogger, if you want to argue that food prices are stable because the demand isn't subsidized in the US, consider the fact that more Americans than ever before are on food stamps. More than even since the deepest part of the "Great Recession". Maybe you aren't in the US but a great many governments are propping up food access in some way of the other. Perhaps in part because starving people start revolutions. Hopefully more because people shouldnt starve.

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Well, this thread is about Generation X having it harder than other generations and you were giving anecdotal evidence so I decided to join the crowd.

 

I am glad that there is food stamps and food pantries to help those who are in need. Those are safety nets that people of the past and people in some countries do not have although many countries will give out food that you would not expect because yes, hungry people revolt but I was specifically talking about the US and I live in the US. I think there are more social safety nets than when my mother lost her husband just 40 years ago so yes I believe overall people are doing better. It sucks to be the one down and out but you can't blame it on being a certain generation.

 

Yes, the boomer generation had specific markers that no one else attained partly because they were held up artificially and partly because demographics.

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Well, this thread is about Generation X having it harder than other generations and you were giving anecdotal evidence so I decided to join the crowd.

 

I am glad that there is food stamps and food pantries to help those who are in need. Those are safety nets that people of the past and people in some countries do not have although many countries will give out food that you would not expect because yes, hungry people revolt but I was specifically talking about the US and I live in the US. I think there are more social safety nets than when my mother lost her husband just 40 years ago so yes I believe overall people are doing better. It sucks to be the one down and out but you can't blame it on being a certain generation.

 

Yes, the boomer generation had specific markers that no one else attained partly because they were held up artificially and partly because demographics.

Did you know that government housing spending (HUD, among other things) as a percent of GDP has dropped considerably since the late 1970s? It is a large part of how we reinvented homelessness in this country after all but eliminating it in the 1940s.

 

Family homelessness and child poverty are markers which are far worse now than 40-50 years ago. we really can't make the case convincingly that people are better off in 2015 in the aggregate than they were in 1955. There are outliers in all generations, but with the rate of child and family poverty and food insecurity as high as it is, I am skeptical to claims that things are better now than they were. For some they are (if you look at my family tree, I am doing fantastic compared to my 1955 relatives, for sho). For others, they are not. What matters though is that the percentages paint a picture you can't get from anecdotes or considering it all a wash.

 

If you noticed, I was saying that it's people a little younger than me struggling the most. I am too young for X and too old for millennial. (I would say I am part of the Oregon Trail Gen. The PC game, not the pioneer trail, lol). I think that younger people are having a harder time launching and then people heap criticism and advice on them that doesn't match reality. The anecdotes I shared were more to illustrate the discussion and the cruelty of some of these assumptions and criticisms (wait to marry and you're greedy, get married early and you're reckless, you just want it all handed to you), than they were meant to prove/argue the point.

 

There are endless books and articles on poverty rates for people who are interested in learning more.

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Exactly!

 

I know a lot of couples in this position. One couple waited so long for the job situation and other factors to work out, we made shirts encouraging him to ask her. This was not a couple of slackers either. She's a PhD in Math and he has a tech related MS degree. Now they have moved so she has a job and he's a SAHD.

 

I have another friend who would very much like to be married with kids right now. She met the right man some time ago and he feels the same. They both have degrees and both in fields you would think they would be able to find work in, especially since they don't have kids or strong family ties to the area and would be happy to move ANYWHERE. Well. They are both a little younger than me and graduated in a recession. They each took jobs to pay the bills (accounting clerk, retail). There are now jobs in those fields opening up but they are not going to the people who graduated in 2007-2010 and have been getting by on unrelated work. They are going to new graduates from 2014 and 2015. They can just afford to support themselves on their combined income and they live in a 1 bedroom apartment and mostly ride the bus (but they do own a luxury vehicle- a 20 year old Toyota Corolla for when they need to go someplace they can't go on the bus.) They have no debt besides school loans. What are they supposed to do? If they have kids now, some would say that is irresponsible. If they did, there's little hope of either paying for good childcare of making it work on one income. And that's if they rent and drive a 20 year old car forever. And if they wait, they don't know that it will get better and it's not like she's going to be 33 or fertile forever.

 

Never having kids you want is a high price to pay for school debt and misfortune of graduating in a recession. My friends are far from alone and I really wish people would stop telling them and people like them that their expectations are too high. They have no expectations but they would like a crack at a career that would support a family and hell, a 2 bedroom apartment. They decided to get engaged and will marry this year. They still don't know what they will do about kids.

 

I don't understand why not get married if you believe you found the right person?  My parents got married at 17 and 19 when they were flat broke (and no, she was not pregnant).  Is the partner going to stop being "the right one" depending on how the job search goes or where they find an affordable home?  Does getting married inevitably lead to a houseful of starving kids?

 

You make it sound like nobody in that age group has a job or job prospects or any ability to feed a baby.  That sounds a bit overblown.  And it's not like most Gen-Xrs drive 20-year-old cars either.  Sure, there are some, and there always have been some people who struggle, and there always will be.  But the Gen-Xrs I know all have a job or job prospects, and most have kids if they want them.  And the kids all eat.

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What matters though is that the percentages paint a picture you can't get from anecdotes or considering it all a wash.

 

Well yeah, and people select which statistics they want to paint the picture with.  The bias behind the selection renders the "picture" just as meaningless as individual anecdotes.

 

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Well, look at the bright side - over the next 10 years or so, the boomers will be handing down an awful lot of job opportunities to GenX.

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I don't understand why not get married if you believe you found the right person? My parents got married at 17 and 19 when they were flat broke (and no, she was not pregnant). Is the partner going to stop being "the right one" depending on how the job search goes or where they find an affordable home? Does getting married inevitably lead to a houseful of starving kids?

 

You make it sound like nobody in that age group has a job or job prospects or any ability to feed a baby. That sounds a bit overblown. And it's not like most Gen-Xrs drive 20-year-old cars either. Sure, there are some, and there always have been some people who struggle, and there always will be. But the Gen-Xrs I know all have a job or job prospects, and most have kids if they want them. And the kids all eat.

An example is not saying no one does. Nor was my post directed at Gen X. I am 35 this month. I am not Gen X. My slightly younger friends are not Gen X.

 

Young people I know seem to wait because they don't want to have a family to care for and need help from their own parents or charity. They know how much childcare costs and they can't cover that, a mortgage and their student loans because they are underemployed. They want to have their ducks in a row. I live in a HCOL area so that skews what I see, I am sure.

 

I married young. We married young. We were 21 and 22. My husband and I are just a year apart in age. We certainly aren't opposed to early marriage. That said, within our class of college educated types, we were definitely outliers for our generation. A lot of older people, boomers and X gave us crap for it. The only ones who didn't were our grandparents age (silent and "greatest" generation). Why did they give us crap? For being too young. For not being able to afford a house before we had a baby. College educated people in my age group just weren't supposed to marry young. We've been married coming up on 14 years (and together for 16 years). It's safe to say disaster hasn't struck our marriage because we were all but kids when we married. Generally speaking the people we know who have waited have waited because there's a lot of social pressure to wait and a lot of economic barriers to being able to settle down.

 

As an older mom yourself I would think you would see why people would want to hold off until they can take care of themselves beyond the barest of minimums.

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Well, look at the bright side - over the next 10 years or so, the boomers will be handing down an awful lot of job opportunities to GenX.

Really? You think so? Or will X and Millennials largely get passed over for the cheaper recent 22 year old grads? If I were a betting woman, you can guess where I would put my money.

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Yes, I will agree that housing, healthcare, and education has dramatically increased in price due to government subsidizing the demand. Notice food, clothes, and communications are basics but not moving up in price. It is impossible to tease out every variable but it is most likely government subsidizing demand that is dramatically increasing costs although local regulation and zoning laws also keep down supply of housing.

 

But we are talking whole generations not just what you've seen in the last few decades. My mother was a boomer and had it really rough. Lots of people in the last three generations lost jobs dealt with crazy inflation and illness has always been a trial. Perhaps doctor bills weren't always as expensive but then again it's only in the last couple generations that doctors did all that much. Instead the person died and loss of income and other complications wrecked havoc on those who were left behind.

 

1.) Food is heavily subsidized in the United States.  Very heavily.

2.) Clothing and electronics have dropped in price due to companies moving production to countries with much lower wage rates. There has also been a significant drop in quality of materials in many cases.  Depending on how you define "communications", there has also been a degree of subsidization in those markets as well.

 

Regarding healthcare, without heavy investments into research and access to insurance (whether private or public), we likely would not have had the breakthroughs we have had in the past 60 years.  And for the record, nations which have much higher levels of government involvement in the healthcare system have had much lower increases in cost than the United States.

 

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1.) Food is heavily subsidized in the United States.  Very heavily.

2.) Clothing and electronics have dropped in price due to companies moving production to countries with much lower wage rates. There has also been a significant drop in quality of materials in many cases.  Depending on how you define "communications", there has also been a degree of subsidization in those markets as well.

 

Regarding healthcare, without heavy investments into research and access to insurance (whether private or public), we likely would not have had the breakthroughs we have had in the past 60 years.  And for the record, nations which have much higher levels of government involvement in the healthcare system have had much lower increases in cost than the United States.

 

 

Farmers are subsidized with the exception of food stamps and in some things tariffs are in place which raise the cost of certain commodities. They also pay farmers not to farm to raise prices. They also tend to subsidize the most unhealthy items because the farmers are being subsidized not the consumers. This could be a whole thread in itself.

 

It is certainly not the same thing as the Fed's increasing demand by handing out money and giving loans which increase only demand while not increasing supply and in some cases like housing local governments are actually restricting supply at the same time. Gee, I wonder why housing prices are through the roof.

 

You are correct that medical research needs investment and that is why our generation is so well off. In many previous generations the majority of income went to food, food, and more food. Paying for research wasn't something that was a major part of peoples regular expenditures. Now we pay large portions of our income to insurance and or medicine because we can.  We have access to so many new treatments that previous generations did not have.  We want amazing things and we don't want to pay for them. I understand completely why individuals want the stuff. Who wants to die or live in pain but really what some of this stuff is would just be downright miraculous for so many in other times and places.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Really? You think so? Or will X and Millennials largely get passed over for the cheaper recent 22 year old grads? If I were a betting woman, you can guess where I would put my money.

By some accounting's that cheaper recent 22 year old grad will still be a Millennial (2004 + 22 yrs = 2026).  Each generation encompasses a wide range of years after all.

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