Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Millennial Generation

“Conformity is the last refuge of the unimaginative.”
―Oscar Wilde
Welcome to The Golden Sense! There is a special moment that occurs in nature that we all know about. We learned the details at some point yet we have forgotten them as well. I am talking about the amazing process of chrysalis. This unique metamorphosis occurs when caterpillar reaches maturity. As soon as a caterpillar has rested after coming out of the chrysalis, it will have transformed into a butterfly. The butterfly will pump blood into the wings in order to get them working and flapping. At this point the butterfly will take off and fly. For all to see, this is an amazing event.

Humans go through their own transformations in life as well. One of the most scrutinized changes is the shift from student to the professional workforce. Today, the millennial generation has been put under much criticism for this transformation. Commentators use the millennial classification for people born in the 1980’s through the 1990’s, also known as generation Y.
The criticism often claims millennials don't understand the work ethic it took in the "good 'ol days" or they are simply lazy and have "get rich quick" attitudes. Study after study shows that younger American adults ages 18 to 33 are less likely to own a home, have a full-time job, own a car, or even use a credit card than older American generations when they were that age. Are these indicators a reflection of the generation’s aptitude or a consequence of economic environment?
The criticism is well founded in regard to many selfie-taking, Snapchatting millennials who do need to get their act together. However, there is much more to this demographic than meets the eye.
The economic climate has changed rapidly over the past 10 years. The housing bubble, the financial crisis, and sky rocketing education costs have changed the landscape of what was once America. The evolution of technology, the large scale exchange of information, and the ease of travel have also made a substantial imprint on this generation.
As with all major evolutions or changes many people will struggle, others will embrace a new life, and some will profit handsomely.
The struggle has gripped a large portion of millennials. These millennials are stuck with massive student loans and earning low or even no wages. Their sluggish motivation may be as bad as the tattoos on their arm. This is troubling but it isn’t a far cry from the long haired gnomes that inhabited the communes of the 1960’s. It’s just a different style, that’s all. Let these people be.
Many in this generation don’t own homes or carry credit cards. This is a simple reflection of the economic environment in which taking on long-term debt is equivalent to strapping a huge ball and chain around your leg. This generation is trying to find a way to free itself and reducing monthly payments is one of the first things that will lead to a more mobile and productive lifestyle.
Many have embraced the new economic landscape and have accepted its reality. "Lazy" is hardly a fair characteristic to pigeonhole everyone with. I've personally witnessed many 18-22 year-olds (those in college or other types of school) spend countless sleepless nights working their millennial behinds off just to make the most out of their $150,000 education. These people have used their education and understanding of technology to propel them into key roles of many successful businesses throughout the country. Many of these individuals make decent salaries in a very competitive globalized labor market. Others have embraced technology and travel and have traversed the globe making connections everywhere from as far as China to Paris. The world is a big place and the millennial generation is one of the first generations not to be tied to a particular country but to embrace the world for everything it has to offer.
A report from The Shullman Research Center, titled "Millionaires Have Their Own Generation Gap," found that 23 percent of today's millionaires are millennials. There are now about 5 million millennial millionaires. That's half as many as the boomers. But it's more than the older and more established Gen-Xers, who count only 4 million millionaires among their ranks. The millennial generation has produced entrepreneurial geniuses like Mark Zuckerberg and many others who lead the technology industry. 
The world is dynamic and it doesn't make sense for all people to tie themselves down, take on debt, or purchase over valued assets. This is going to be tough on particular industries, but "times are a changing".

All ages and all generations will have to keep up with this fast paced environment or they will struggle and get left behind. It is not only a subset of tattoo ridden hipster millennials that need to up their game, but many aging baby boomers and debt sloshed Gen-Xers need to make serious adaptations as well. In a competitive and expansive global market it is up to each individual to make the most of it. There is a fine line between getting sucked into poverty and becoming successful. It is a choice. Each person will have to choose which path they want to take.

Signing Off
T. Norman