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GenX'ers: We're pretty much screwed


Kinsa

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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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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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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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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.

Definitely, though I think being born at the turn of the millennium is a touch different than coming of age at the turn of the millennium. Obviously there's a lot of blending at either end of an identified cultural shift.

 

It's a bit soon to say where the end year will land but some peg it as early as 1997 births.

 

Either way, fresh college grads are often hired before those (in X and Y/Millennials or any generation) who have been underemployed. That's all I am saying.

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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.

 

I would have gotten married and had kids as young as possible if I had found "the right person."  From my mom's example I would have been confident of making it work.

 

 

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Its threads like this that make me wonder why the US cannot reconcile itself with the idea of free, universal healthcare and free tertiary education*, and why my country, Australia, is so bloody desperate to follow the US's lead and give these things up.

 

*please don't point out that these are not free, but funded by the tax payer. I know this. They are free at point of use and that's what makes the difference between poverty and opportunity.

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Its threads like this that make me wonder why the US cannot reconcile itself with the idea of free, universal healthcare and free tertiary education*, and why my country, Australia, is so bloody desperate to follow the US's lead and give these things up.

 

*please don't point out that these are not free, but funded by the tax payer. I know this. They are free at point of use and that's what makes the difference between poverty and opportunity.

 

The US doesn't make them free because certain influential individuals are raking in huge amounts of money. They then donate heavily to our politicians in roundabout ways to *persuade* them to pass legislation that favors what they want. Media outlets are also influenced by these individuals. It's a cynical view but it's largely true. (My husband works on legislation at times and he's seen how it works firsthand.)

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Definitely, though I think being born at the turn of the millennium is a touch different than coming of age at the turn of the millennium. Obviously there's a lot of blending at either end of an identified cultural shift.

 

It's a bit soon to say where the end year will land but some peg it as early as 1997 births.

 

Either way, fresh college grads are often hired before those (in X and Y/Millennials or any generation) who have been underemployed. That's all I am saying.

Of course it's true that middle millennials will have it different than edge millennials -- but that is the whole reason it doesn't work to say all whatever generation have it so much better or so much worse.   Because the end of boom boomers really did struggle trying to buy their first house at 16% interest regardless of how cheap those houses seem now (in general salaries were equally lower after all!).  Plus the whole culture changes as well -- I know my parents didn't buy their first house until they were well into their 30's -- not because house prices were so high but because you had to save up the 20% down payment before you bought.  No financing 100% of the house value.

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I just make the 1965 start date to claim to be a GenXer. Our experience is much as is described in the article except for the student loans. While making more than both our parents, we have less dosh in the bank. In our case, returns on investmensts no where near equal what my parents made. And, the housing bubble burst left us stuck with a home we can't sell without continuing to make payments on a home we no longer own.

 

What really is hurting us though is the societal shift in regards to childhood. When I was a kid, we went outside and played. My brother did well in baseball, but high level traveling teams were not the norm, were reserved for the VERY talented not just the good at the game, and low level teams didn't cost an arm and a leg.

 

Today that is all different. Organized activities rule the roost. Kids don't go out and play and if they do they've no one to play with because all the other kids are in organized activities. Nearly all teams, clubs, etc, are of that high level/high dollar variety. My son is a gymnast. We never thought that it would cost so darned much as he progressed!  My parents never a) paid that much for our activities, b) spent even 1/3 of the time we do shuttling our kids around (gas + milage + time = $$$), and c) certainly never traveled to 2 - 3 day events/competitons requiring hotel stays. From parents I've talked to, it isn't just gymnastics. Football, baseball, cheer, hockey, soccer, swimming, band, theater (my daughter), on and on, the story seems to be the same.  The price to participate has exploded! The alternative? Couch potatoes!

 

My dad, who did amazingly well financially and knew banking, stocks, markets, and investments inside and out once told me if he was just starting out as I was at the time there simply is no way he could ever be as successful. It is difficult to compare real purchasing power. True, the power of the dollar has dropped but we are also earning more dollars, so that's a bit of a wash. The real kicker is, as prices for some necessities fell, food and clothing for example, they increased for others, housing, transportation, kids (see rant above), and especially health care. The increases far out outstrip any potential gains from those reductions.

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Its threads like this that make me wonder why the US cannot reconcile itself with the idea of free, universal healthcare and free tertiary education*, and why my country, Australia, is so bloody desperate to follow the US's lead and give these things up.

 

*please don't point out that these are not free, but funded by the tax payer. I know this. They are free at point of use and that's what makes the difference between poverty and opportunity.

 

If the momentum in Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign is any indication, I would wager that disgruntled Gen Xers and Millennials are so fed up, that they are ready to do precisely that.

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Read the Two Income Trap. I truly thought as you did but realized my assumptions were pretty wrong. On average, people are spending less per car (adjusted for inflation) and tend to have one car per worker. People are replacing cars less often (due to budget constraints and increasing quality of cars available). The median house is 35 years old now compared to 23 year old in 1985. People are more likely now than then to live in older homes. Housing is a larger percentage of people's double income than it was their single income before. School district is the biggest impact on home prices and with people unable to afford private school, can we really fault people for trying to buy into a good school for their child?

 

ETA- only 16% of homes purchased are new construction and the age bracket most likely to buy new construction are 59-67. 87% of buyers under 33 are buying resales. So I wish people would stop saying young couples only by new, luxury homes and don't do starters. News flash- House Hunters and similar are not true to real life people! Here's the data source: http://www.realtor.org/sites/default/files/reports/2014/2014-home-buyer-and-seller-generational-trends-report-full.pdf

 

Exactly.  

Life expectancy in 1920 was about 54 years, largely because so many children died. Today it's around 80. The average family had an outhouse, no electricity, and spent an entire day every week doing the backbreaking work of washing all the clothes by hand.

 

Few people had cars, most jobs involved either farm or factory work, and child labor was common in mines and other industry. Health care had just barely passed the point where doctors and hospitals saved more lives than they killed. There was no TV or radio, and people had a lot less living space per capita than they do now. Being poor today is a struggle, but being poor 100 years ago often meant literally starving. What's more, the people of 1920 had the Great Depression and WWII to look forward to.

 

The average GenXer is only poor in comparison with the Baby Boomers. Other than that, the generation itself is doing fine. Literally, the second richest cohort of people in the history of the world.

So don't complain because someone somewhere has it worse?  So can we not feel happy because someone somewhere has it better?  Should I tell my kid with a profound autoimmune disorder to suck it up every time she's in pain or can't move because she would have died a hundred years ago?  Telling people to suck it up really doesn't help this conversation. Tell you what, if my comrades in poverty or near-poverty would like to discuss these things in a supportive and understanding environment, we can create a group to brainstorm and commiserate.  Complain to me, I'll be there for you.  I'm so so so sick of people harassing those who dare not be positive in every single thought or word they speak.  This is reality, folks, and it ain't pretty for a lot of us. 

 

 

 

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?

 

This.  I've driven 5,000 miles in 3 weeks with no air conditioning and highs in the 80s-100s.  It sucks BAD.  I have no central air at home and only a couple very poorly functioning window units that are louder than orcs in a frenzy.  I cried I was so happy a few weeks ago because I had fresh fruit for the first time in ages.  Sure, we have some stuff.  Mostly from when we could afford it.  The few things worth more than pennies that we have gotten since then are rare splurges and all of them combined a couple times over couldn't even fix my van's a/c compressor. Sure it's more than the rusted plow and one dress my great grandmother surely had way back in the days, but that doesn't mean it doesn't suck for those of us recession and post-recession trying to figure this all out. 

 

 

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?

School doesn't matter.  Dh has a MS in Chemistry.  I do not recommend that.  A BS if you want to be a lower level lab worker or get REALLY lucky and get the very rare government job or a PhD if you want to take the risk of finding a post-doc and college position.  Good luck.  You'll need it.  

 

I worked in healthcare.  The credentials and college do not matter as they expired-it was cheaper and better for me to stay home at the time and there aren't jobs in my field at any of the locations we've had to move for dh's job, anyway.

 

 

 

People I know who do not regret their degrees:

 

Lawyers

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

 

 

Well, I know several lawyers IRL and from my college and high school days who deeply regret their law degrees.  It seems the market is oversaturated. 

 

And nurses often require a BS or MS in today's market.  Sooooo many people went back for RN degrees during the recession because they felt it was a safe field that the market is oversaturated, burn out is high (especially for people who didn't think through the realities of what the job entails), and many hospitals are upping requirements.  It can be very competitive.  Great field, but just something to think about.

 

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. 

They used to be here.  Now they make quite a bit. *However* many states have required retirement contribution systems that don't give a lot of control over where and how much of your money goes. That's 8-10% gone off the top, like it or not, and hope your state doesn't screw up and your investment is there when you retire.  And many places do not allow moonlighting if you need to make more money, and so no overtime, either, unless you're really lucky and you're a sports coach.  But it's a darn hard job and I thank the people who do it well.  I will say that public school pays much better than tech and community college teaching in many areas, but requires less education.  That will vary geographically but sucks for some of us. ;)

 

ETA: Teacher layoffs are a reality in some areas, too, right now.  Dh's college had a 20% lay off and the public school system here-one of the few top ones in the state-had to cut even worse including much of the special education department.  Teaching is no longer what I consider a "safe" job against the economy and we have learned this the very hard way.

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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.

 

 

No need to wait 10 years.  What's happening right now is that Boomers are effectively being forced out of jobs because they're "too expensive" to keep.  They're being thrown over for 20-somethings who, desperate to pay sudden and huge student debt -- will work for 2/3rds or less of the former Boomers' salaries and no or few benefits. 

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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.

 

I just saw a stat on this a few days ago - not everyone has expensive weddings of course but the average price has gone way, way, way up, and the expectation for that kind of thing seems to be much different from, say, two generations ago.  It's something around $30,000 IIRC.  You can see it too in the price of wedding dresses - they continue to climb.

 

It's become a major consumer area of course, so there is a lot of pressure applied to create high expectations - wedding magazines are full of lists of the things you "need" to have for a wedding, just as basics.  It's almost hard to imagine that it used to be very common for people to marry without a wedding dress at all.

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Hmm now that I have thought about this some, I think some has to do with location and opportunities. Dh and I are doing better than my mom and are about on par with his parents (though this may change). My mom and one brother live on an island with very limited opportunities so of course we are doing better than them. His parents are doing ok though a streak of health problems with dfil has set them back a lot and it's looking like dfil will need to go on SSI for a few years before he can have regular SS.

We have taken a responsible route after our bankruptcy. We have 1 credit card that we try to keep to a minimum, we bought our house on land contract and will have that paid off in 5 years or less, my car in less than 6 years. Dh's truck is paid off and we certainly don't have the latest and greatest of technology (think old box style tvs that we refuse to replace because they still work). I think a lot of issues stem from people thinking they need the newest things out there even if what they have works just fine.

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