Millennials

A couple of days ago, I came across a TIME piece titled, Millennials are Paying off Debt but That’s Not Necessarily Good News. Within the context of this piece “millennials” were broadly described as people who are younger than 35 years old. Not surprisingly, millennials have less debt than people from older generations; however, from 2007 to 2010 we also cut the debt we do have more than people from older generations; e.g. “people” like our parents and grandparents. Nevertheless, the reason for many of these cuts is because, well, we don’t own anything except credit cards. We don’t own homes and some of us don’t even own cars (or driver’s licenses). An excerpt from the piece:

It’s difficult to distinguish the causes and effects of these changes, but they do seem to be tied to a gradual delay of adulthood: more than any previous generation, millennials go to school longer, get a job later in life and delay “adult” milestones like marriage, starting a family and buying a home.

Articles like this interest me for a few reasons: 1) I’m under 35; 2) The issues are always our fault; and 3) They’re usually grounded in negative results. Additionally, even if people under 35 are nothing more than highly-educated, net-addicted, narcissistic, hardly working, barely functioning adults, then whose fault is that? Guess who raised us? I’ll answer that for you: A generation of insufficiently saving for retirement, highly indebted, narcissistic, over-working, so-called perfect adults. People under 35 didn’t land in this environment, this environment landed on us!

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If we’re a problem, you created it/us. We’re just trying to adapt, which brings us full circle. First, we need to decide if “adulthood” is still defined by people younger than 35 by milestones like “marriage, starting a family, and buying a home” as the TIME article assumes. If true, then why is our generation refusing to grow up? If untrue, then what markers of adulthood are we using to define ourselves that have taken priority over marriage, family and home ownership? For that answer, I turn it over to you, SBM family.

What traits do you use to distinguish between a boy and a man or a girl and a woman? In other words, what is the difference between someone who is grown up versus someone who is still growing up? What milestones will you use to know you’ve finally made it into “adulthood”? If those milestone include marriage, starting a family, and buying a home, then why are you and other people your age delaying these achievements?