Millennials: The Generation Not To Mess With
by William Hirsh | published Nov. 13th, 2014
For some reason, Millennials are now the generational punching bag. According to preceding generations, we are doing worse than they did, and the idea that this is somehow our fault is erroneous and really insulting. Factors like the status of the economy and the job market are out of our control, and were decided by the actions of people before us. Let me break down a few observations I've heard from the previous generations.
We are not frugal by choice
Unfortunately, we as a generation aren't trying to be frugal because it's hip or popular. We are frugal because the costs of our education necessitate it. No one is nostalgic about people from the Great Depression and how great they were at skimping and saving; they were frugal because the economy demanded this approach. Several companies like Ford and Subaru have hired youth consultants to try and appeal to our "quirkiness" and frugal nature. Until the cost of college education goes down or car makers develop vehicles that are safe and affordable, we won't be as willing to lay down our money any time soon.
College cannot be paid for by part time jobs alone
I'm sorry parents, but with the rise in costs of education over the past several decades, it's absurd to bring up the fact that you were able to pay off your own education so quickly. According to the Digest of Education Statistics, in the year 1976-77, the average cost to go to a university—including tuition, room and board—was $2,275 per year for a four-year program. The costs for college have ballooned exponentially since the 70s. Today, the cost for someone to go to RIT as an on-campus student for a four-year program (not including any potential scholarships) is about $45,602 per year alone. Even with a Presidential Scholarship, you will still be paying around $30,000 a year.
Now, we would be able to pay for this—or at least better pay for this—if wages were scaled to meet this inflation. Only recently have some states decided to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour, and the ones that have are few and far between. New York State's minimum wage is currently $8, and will be raised to $8.75 by the end of this year. While this is still more than the national minimum, it is not enough to combat rising costs of education alone. As more jobs—small to large—now require the bare minimum of a college degree, the need to foot this bill is necessary. So please, don't bring up this fact again. The economics of your time were more favorable than now, and we as a society need to realize this.
We are not a "lazy" generation
Just because we are a struggling generation does not make us a "lazy" one. In fact, we are one of the most creative and tech-savvy generations yet. As the economy changes and jobs transition, we may find ourselves at the forefront of development, and maybe we will financially secure someday. Don't count us out yet, baby boomers.
The term "Millennial" carries a hugely negative connotation in today's society. Often regarded as lazy or downright unintelligent, the truth is far from what the preceding generations before us make it out to be. We can be rather resourceful, given the absurd circumstances we inherited.