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.
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.