In Defense of Millennials

The past few years it has become quite popular to bash millennials.

We’re losers who need to get our shit together. We’re selfish. We’re lazy. We have large amounts of student loan debt. A third of us are still living with our parents. We aren’t getting married. We aren’t even having sex.

But I’m here to defend my millennial brethren! I’m an older millennial. I was born in 1986 and graduated college at 22. This was in 2008, you know, was right before the financial crisis. I graduated into a shit economy. Wages have stagnated and boomers are refusing to retire to pave the way for millennials.

I was one of the few smart enough to go to community college before transferring to an in-state university. This allowed me to graduate with only $14,000 in student loan debt that I was able to pay off quickly. The average student loan debt is up to $38,000. Boomers were able to pay their college tuition by working during the summer.

Tuition at UCLA, my alma mater and most applied to school in the world, has doubled their tuition over the past decade alone. From $6,504 when I transferred in 2006 to over $13,254 for 2017-18. Of course rent has increased as well – it was never cheap to live in Los Angeles but it’s even more expensive now.

But you could always go across town to USC which crossed $50,000 for the first time, up from $34,000 a decade ago. That’s just for tuition by the way, doesn’t include housing, books, food, etc.

So who is deciding on these fee increases? Boomers. But millennials are lazy and spend their financial aid on spring break. *Eye roll*

You can call these millennials stupid for following their college dreams. But no other generation had to worry about college costs like we have. Boomer parents were our cheerleaders, telling us everyone should go to college. A bachelor’s degree is the new participation trophy. So if everyone has a BA then nobody has a BA.

“It was always expensive. We had to work hard to buy a house.”

I hear this often when boomers refer to housing. Boomers, I’m sure you worked “very hard” to buy your house. But let’s be truthful, it wasn’t always expensive. You used to be able to buy a house with a single income and almost any full-time job. Homes, especially in the Bay Area are getting more expensive as boomers refuse to allow more building, which increases the value of their homes. The average home in San Jose crossed the one million dollar mark, while homes in Palo Alto now cost $2.5 million. “We got ours, you should have bought in 1978 lazy millennials.”

It seems that millennials are blamed for everything that goes wrong. We aren’t buying diamonds because we are broke and know they are a scam. We’re cutting cable because of cost and contracts. We aren’t buying boomer products like fabric softener because who really uses fabric softener?

With crippling debt and ridiculous housing costs, millennials had to adapt. Many don’t have large disposable incomes to spend on frivolous products. And while we are quite different than previous generations, at the end of the day we all just want to be happy. So either cut us some slack or help make college affordable, housing affordable and give us some job security.

This article has 8 comments

  1. Get Rich Quick'ish

    Is this a defense of Millennials post, or a bashing of Boomers one? 😁

    I’ve never understood the whole ‘trash the younger generation’ thing. Before you Millennials came along, us GenX’ers were the picked on group. But our cohort is relatively small, and the Boomer dislike for you is so strong that they’ve left us alone – so I guess we should be thanking you for taking the full force of their wrath 🤣

  2. Steveark

    My three millennial kids went to state school on academic scholarships so it was basically free for them. I am a boomer and my school cost more than theirs cost them! I know that isn’t universal but many less prestigious states than California (like Arkansas) will give kids with decent but not outstanding ACT’s of 29-30 free rides to keep them in state. In fact in my home town one local company in Arkansas pays free tuition and fees to every single graduate of our high school for five years of college anywhere with no strings attached. That didn’t cover all my kids but it is in effect now. I also did my part as a boomer to retire at 60 and let a 40 year old assume my senior corporate executive job. So yeah, on average things are tougher but there are plenty of exceptions.

  3. millennialmoneyclub

    Good to see another Bruin Millennial finance blogger. Class of 2009 checking in! 🐻

    And I agree that the Millennial bashing is getting old. Truth be told, there are both responsible and irresponsible people in every generation and in every age group.

    In my opinion, one of the most financially disastrous life events is divorce. And look how many Boomers have gotten divorced! And then they go and wonder why Millennials are taking a more cautious approach to marriage. Go figure.

  4. Meow

    I graduated art school in 2009 with a degree in ceramics. Yeah, literally a degree in pottery. After going back to school for accounting, and getting some economics perspective, it always shocks me how people say millennials are killing the old school businesses. If a lion refuses to hunt the new generation of antelope, the antelope is not killing the lion. The lion is letting itself die.

  5. Lily @ The Frugal Gene

    Millennials are more socially aware and conscious than the boomers thanks to the internet. My husband and I decided no ring when we got married (no diamond, no rub, not even onion rings) and my father in law was unhappy with me for being “untraditional.” 😒 Id like to pay my mortgage thanks.

    • Steve

      You have a mortgage?! I thought all millennials rented haha! We did the city hall wedding with platinum bands, no engagement ring. Congrats on all your success!