October 1, 2018 | View PDF
Hello. I am a millennial. I am 27 years old. I have $130,000 in student loan debt. That's a lot, I know. I work hard, make sacrifices, and have the good fortune to be employed in a profession where I have a reasonable opportunity to pay that money back in the next decade (I am an attorney). Still, I have the pleasure of being routinely lectured by my "elders" for being a lazy millennial.
By the way-and this is a point that I and countless others of my peers cannot reinforce strongly enough-KIDS IN HIGH SCHOOL (AND COLLEGE FRESHMAN) ARE NOT MILLENNIALS. They were born in 2000 or later. They are not part of our generation. Do not call them millennials.
Back to my original point: I am drowning in debt. Fun! I am a member of the most educated generation in American history, was raised in an education system that stressed, above all else, that college is the only way to advance economically and socially, took on a hundred thousand dollars in debt to make sure that I did, was released into adulthood amid the worst financial crisis in 80 years of American history, and am now forced to read fun editorials about how my generation is the laziest and most entitled group of humans to ever roam these American lands.
Incidentally, I and my millennial-brethren also happened to be born into a world in which there are legitimate economic rivals to the American super-economy (the first Americans to experience this since WWI which, checking my calendar here, appears to have ended in 1918). Moreover, the average starter home in 2010 was approximately 2.6 times the buyers' income, while that figure in the 1970s stood at only 1.7, despite the fact that wages have essentially been stagnant for 40 years. Millennials on average use about 15% less vacation time each year than workers did in the 1970. Incredibly long, Game of Thrones manuscript-length story short: it takes longer to save, longer to invest, and longer to build any meaningful safety net. Still, millennials work longer hours and are about 75% more productive than workers 40 years ago.
I point these things out not because I want to poor-mouth or to gain sympathy. Rather, I'd prefer a little empathy. Next time you scoff at the prevalence of avocado toast or participation trophies,or feel the urge to complain about my generation's entitlement, I would encourage you to remember that, statistically speaking, the economic ball has moved WAY down the field compared to where it stood for our forebears. If we feel like we're entitled to a little free time, or, God forbid, health insurance (*gasps*), just remember whose tax dollars are funding your single-payer, government administered healthcare Medicare.