Gen Y's Troubles: You'll Never Guess Who's Really to Blame

Generation Why botherGeneration Y is in a tricky spot:

  • One in four members of this generation -- loosely defined as those born between the mid-1970s to the late 1980s -- is living at home with Mom and Dad, according to the Pew Research Center. It's an extension of a trend: Even before the economy took a dive, the number of them returning to their parents' house doubled between 1980 and 2008.
  • As a group, many of them are postponing both marriage and having children (despite academic studies that equate a spouse and kids with higher wealth).
  • Unemployment sits at 8.3%, so even many college graduates can't land a job. But add to that the fact that, according to The New York Times, Gen Y'ers are not as likely to get driver's licenses as generations prior, so they're also less likely to relocate -- even for a high-paying job.

It's not hard to muster at least a little sympathy for Gen Y's situation... until you hear this alarming tidbit: The Times found that Generation Y believes that success comes through -- get this -- luck. Yes, luck, not hard work. It's an attitude that compelled that Times columnist to label them "Generation Why Bother."

Who's to Blame?

A recent Esquire feature places blame on the baby boomers.

After all, while the average net worth of those 65 or older rose 42% over the past 25 years, younger Americans have seen a 68% drop in their respective net worth. What else has grown during that time? The national debt -- a debt Generation Y will have to figure out how to pay back.

The author acknowledges that this may not have been an intentional play by the boomers to set up their kids for failure. They were merely just trying to do "what other generations before them would not -- sell their children's birthright for a mess of their own pottage."

However, as the article says, many believe this of Gen Y: "They're entitled ... They don't know what they want ... They don't know how good they have it."

But all this talk is useless and loses sight of the big picture. Sure, things may be tough. But Generation Y has it made. If they would only open their eyes to see the opportunities right in front of them.

The world is your oyster – pearl included!

Finger-pointing and complaining won't improve Generation Y's lot. What's sorely lacking is the work ethic that made America a successful, thriving nation at the center of the capitalist world.

Although it seems Generation Y has lost touch with the nation's history, this doesn't mean they can't change.

The reality is that it's easier than ever to save -- and make money -- thanks to the Internet:

  • You can quickly compare prices, and save money, getting the best deals on sites like Amazon.com.
  • You can easily locate old friends and colleagues to help you find a job through social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn.
  • You can easily open an online brokerage account and invest in publicly traded stocks with low commissions -- an option that used to be affordable only for the wealthy.
  • You can easily set up an online business selling virtually anything, investing in little more than a domain name and hosting provider.

You see, with a little hustle, Generation Y has a better shot than their parents, grandparents, or any ancestors ever had of making money, saving money, and investing their money. That's the secret to building wealth – not luck.

Stop Whining Already

Generation Y: It's time to stop feeling sorry for yourself. Financial security is within reach.



Get out there and hustle as a contractor or a freelancer. Start an online business. Start a small business in your hometown, working long hours if necessary. Grow and raise your own food. Pinch pennies and save wherever you can.

Most important, invest the money this hustle and frugality will bring you. Even factoring in the market's drops, investing in stocks is the single most effective way to grow your money over time.

If you stick to this simple advice, this will be a generation to go down in history. Who knows, Generation Y might even be a generation that won't need to rely on Social Security to survive in retirement, as so many baby boomers will have to do. Which is a much more frightening future than what awaits Generation Y.

This article was written by Motley Fool analyst Adam J. Wiederman. Click here to read Adam's free report on how to ensure a wealthy retirement -- including one loophole to use to boost your Social Security checks by as much as 76%. The Motley Fool owns shares of LinkedIn and Amazon.com. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Amazon.com and LinkedIn.

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Paul

Yes, it was our gen who supported the expesnive wars and ridiculous buisness policies that led to the recession and the lack of unemployment. I mean you can easily deduce this by the fact that people in power are from Gen Y as is Congress?


Whats that? Gen X/Boomers made those decisions? Their the ones who allow the bankers million dollar bonuses after they ruined the economy? Their the ones preaching work ethic but allowing all this stuff to happen? Wow fancy that.

The Right Wing's hyper capitalist Bullshit that created this mess is also far more a Gen X/Boomers thing than it is a Gen Y thing.

But Good job on the victims blaming.

If economists had applied this "work ethic" thing you preach about then perhaps we wouldn't be in this mess. Maybe Gen Y hasn't had the best example to learn from.

November 20 2012 at 12:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
khardmusic

Absolutely, W. Bush spoiled on our economic by too much spent on war even repay to Irag after bombed and WMD no found. His fault.........

September 14 2012 at 11:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dd

Oh boy, there is a lot to go over in this article.

"The Times found that Generation Y believes that success comes through -- get this -- luck. Yes, luck, not hard work."

The author is dealing in absolutes. More accurately, many Gen Y-ers believe is that luck is just as important as hard work if not more. It's important to work hard, but let's be honest, unless several things break your way, you won't get much of anywhere. While success is not all about luck, it can't only be reduced down to hard work either.

"Finger-pointing and complaining won't improve Generation Y's lot. What's sorely lacking is the work ethic that made America a successful, thriving nation at the center of the capitalist world."

What's "sorely lacking" is the U.S. position as a relatively unscathed superpower following the destruction of the rest of the world in WWII. In fact, US workers are more productive than ever, and yet, crippling recession.

"The reality is that it's easier than ever to save -- and make money -- thanks to the Internet:
You can quickly compare prices, and save money, getting the best deals on sites like Amazon.com."

Which is great, except for the fact that inflation is outpacing wages. So yeah, I can shop around for the cheapest prices, but what good does it do if I'm still paying and arm and a leg? Good example--gas prices. Better example--college tuition.

"You can easily locate old friends and colleagues to help you find a job through social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn."

Which would be great...if there were any jobs to be had in the first place.

"You can easily open an online brokerage account and invest in publicly traded stocks with low commissions -- an option that used to be affordable only for the wealthy.
You can easily set up an online business selling virtually anything, investing in little more than a domain name and hosting provider."

All of which assumes you have the time and money to gamble away on that kind of thing, which is not likely if you are, like many Gen Y-ers, an underemployed wage slave working extra shifts to cover your student loans and meager living expenses.

Listen, I appreciate the can-do attitude. But let's be honest, Generation Y is stuck in the crappiest situation in a couple of generations, and if it could be fixed with just a little elbow grease and gumption, it probably would have been already. Can't we just acknowledge that instead of constantly saying "I got mine, screw the rest of you"?

May 07 2012 at 12:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lbakerathens

It all comes down to one thing,,, hard work. I went from a poor farm in Texas with no running water and an outhouse for a bathroom and a round metal tub to bathe in. To, at 34, driving a 1956 Royce and 7 other classics. I only have a 2 year junior college degree, I knew what I wanted and went for it. As the ad says, "Go for the Gusto".

April 18 2012 at 4:47 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
davefromfwb1

If the banks don't lend money to self employed people, which I've been one for the past 9 years, how are we supposed to grow the business? I can't even get a lowe's credit card because I'm labeled as self employed. I can't buy a truck because I'm self employed. I go to my mom for small loans because thats the only way I can get funding. I make 50k gross and have had a house for the past 15 years with probably 50 k equity in it....I'm not going to borrow against my house to fund a business that'll probably not do so great until the next 20 years of bankruptcies and foreclosures are washed out of the system....I was born in 1970 and I work my ass off just to make what little bit of money I have only to pay high taxes and can't pay for employees because of workmans comp. Apparently the author of this story doesn't have a clue as to what their talking about.....oh he's a writer and probably collecting a paycheck writing stories. How about opening up a physical address business and have to pay triple the rent because the owner is upside down and trying to screw you out of money. I work from home to save money but it seems anywhere and everywhere I look people who were WAY more successful and in business 10 times longer is closing shop and "retiring". So it's up to people with no experience, no money, no contractor licenses, no tutors to train them how to open a doughnut shop to compete with Krispy Kreme or open a coffee shop to compete with Starbucks or open up a small grocery story to be put out of business by walmart...come on man live in the real world...the only way someones going to have a successful business is if they've worked for mom and dad and they inherit the business......OR they put a lawn mower in the back of their truck and cut grass and call it a business.

April 18 2012 at 4:45 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
crimeslawyer

Bush did it.

April 18 2012 at 4:20 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
bwerfel

Finally, for a writer for a FINANCIAL WEBSITE, the piece de resistance:

"After all, while the average net worth of those 65 or older rose 42% over the past 25 years, younger Americans have seen a 68% drop in their respective net worth. What else has grown during that time? The national debt -- a debt Generation Y will have to figure out how to pay back."

I won't bother with the old getting wealthier, since thats self explanatory. The richest segment of american society is and HAS ALWAYS been, the elderly. Why? Because they had teh longest period of time to accumulate wealth.

As for the youngest, its true that someone just graduating from college today is poorer than his father. But in 25 years, he will be his father's age, and his kid will be poorer than him. This isn't even comparing apples to oranges.....its comparing apples to an Apple Macbook, it completely misses the point.

April 18 2012 at 4:19 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
bwerfel

"Unemployment sits at 8.3%, so even many college graduates can't land a job. But add to that the fact that, according to The New York Times, Gen Y'ers are not as likely to get driver's licenses as generations prior, so they're also less likely to relocate -- even for a high-paying job"

First off, the unemployment rate for college graduates is around 4.5% according to the BLS, which is basically full employment. The 8.3% rate is the overall job market, which includes the better than 60% of americans that don't have college degrees, and who have a much higher rate of unemployment.

Second, it confuses the issue of relocating, as in I move from NYC to Los Angeles, with commuting, as in I drive to work. A driver's license matters for the latter, not the former.

April 18 2012 at 4:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bwerfel

"As a group, many of them are postponing both marriage and having children (despite academic studies that equate a spouse and kids with higher wealth). "

At the onset, we are confusing the notions of correlation with causation. Mature, stable people tend to get married and have kids, its the same trait that tends to make them more successful, and, more importantly, more attuned to the long-term thinking of wealth preservation, rather than short-term spending gratification.

Second, the economic studies show that DEFERRING HAVING KIDS is correlated with higher wealth. Again, not surprising, the longer you wait to have kids, the longer you have to establish yourself professionally.

So, the authors turn what is a positive trend (waiting until later in life to take on major responsibilities like marriage and child rearing) into a negative trend.

April 18 2012 at 4:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
freeetob

I am seeing a lot of finger pointing and denial here. This is not generaltional thing. NO ONE in this country wants to take responsibility or accept blame for anything anymore. Parents aren't responsible for their children. The children are entitled and not responsible for anything--never were and never will be. Both parents and groups have "victim" mentalities they dump on everyone else but most especially the government. What a pitiful sick, sad and sorry lot we have become.

April 18 2012 at 4:11 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply