Its impolite to talk about money. Likely due to the fact that it makes people with money uncomfortable (oh, the pearl clutching!), and people without money more stressed than they were 5 seconds prior. I promise I’ll try to keep from going on an anti-capitalist rant, but surely there has to be a better way then whatever the fuck is going on. Being that I can only speak as an expert on my own experience, please keep in mind I will only do such. I get that things are, in a general sense, pretty nice for me. THAT BEING SAID.
I’ve been shoehorned into the “millenial” demographic despite knowing how to use a rotary phone, and I’ve been a bit reluctant to admit it, almost like a bearded microbrewer scoffing at the term “hipster” on their vlog. I mean really, we’re all just consumers anyway, no point in taking offense to what kind of data you’ll be targeted to see. I almost envy the current doomed generation, y’all at least saw it coming.
I graduated from a private university in the spring of 2008. There I was, ready for the world! I had an undergrad! Next step, home ownership and vacations and all of the other wonderful things middle class people did once they had put in their time. Right? I snagged a pretty sweet entry level job coding at a web start up. Then right about the time my student loans matured, this happened:
And so here we are, my fucked brethren. Simultaneously being told to “Enjoy your 20s! ZOMG ITS THE BEST TIME OF YOUR LIFE! Travel the world!” and “You need to work hard! You’re lucky to even have a job!” While both sentiments have varying degrees of truth, the financial and biological reality of the situation is a wee bit more nuanced. In that no one has any idea what they fuck they’re talking about and the second someone tries to tell you how to live your life like they know anything about who you are what you do or where you come from you should RUN.
It is incredibly taxing to be given a financial education by a generation that was coasting on bad, short sighted economic policy. And thats if you were lucky enough to be raised by a college graduate with a mortgage. My dad told me that when he graduated from college, his parents offered to either pay off the entirety of his loans, or buy him a car. The year was 1973. They weren’t offering him a Lexus. Ask anyone now to make that decision after 4 years of a private university, their ass will happily take the bus.
I am fortunate to have a secure, salaried job with benefits. I’m not making it rain, but I’m making the rent on a small apartment by myself, driving a ‘new to me’ car, and finding the time to go to restaurants and shows when I am able. I am also doing what seems to be the generational tightrope walk of having LITERALLY NO SAVINGS. My paycheck comes, my paycheck goes. Sure theres an extra $50 or so after all of the necessities are paid for (food, gas, laundry, etc) but expenses pop up at every turn. Thankfully I think my broader circle of friends is done getting married and popping out babies. FOR NOW. I love y’all but those registries kill me.
I can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel. At the end of this year, my car will be paid off. In another two years, my student loans will finally be paid off. And then there I will be, with my average at best credit score and lack of land ownership, my dog long dead, my domestic partners long gone, staring 31 in the face. With no savings. But a lot of really great Instagram photos from my 20s because ZOMG, THIS WAS THE BEST TIME OF MY LIFE!
Do you hear that?
Do you hear that sound? That distant whisper?
“So when are you gonna settle down and have some kids?”