Is it fair to say that baby boomers and Gen X have it easier than millennials? People across generations took to the internet to share their (sometimes heated) perspectives.
Sick of Debt
A millennial who started an online discussion about wishing they were born in a different generation says they’re “sick of paying off student debt because ‘going to college in order to get a job’ was shoved down our throats since we were kids.” As for having kids with their partner? “Out of the question,” they say. “And not just financially. Who would bring kids into this world, with the lack of natural resources?”
A millennial describes their generation’s situation as “devastating and unfair.” They explain, “Everyone in the family acts like I’m a big shot for going to college and getting a job with the county health department.” But they’re barely getting by on their $15 per hour salary, and they have no idea what they’re going to do once they have to add paying off their student loans into the mix.
“Something has really gotta give for the sake of our generation cause our quality of life isn’t going to be the same as past generations with the way things are right now.”
Baby Boomer Support
A millennial muses, “Funnily enough, my parents are older (they were 47 and 49 when they had me) and I think the contrast of our lives has made them very aware” of how bad things are for their generation. They’re thankful for that.
Other commenters mentioned how lucky they are when their baby boomer parents understand how difficult things are for them; some parents just don’t see it, they say.
A commenter in their 60s says, “You are absolutely right” to the original poster of the forum. “With no help from family, I worked as a cashier at Walgreens, had my own apartment, car payment and attended college with [no] school loans. You could absolutely NOT do that today!”
The outlook appears bleak to the former Walgreens employee. “I’m not sure what can be done now. Let me say, as a Boomer, I apologize.”
Forever Pet Parents
A frustrated millennial says they have an older coworker who says, “‘You should have children. I think everyone should have children. I think it’s so wrong when people don’t want children.'” One problem among many regarding the coworker’s remarks? “MOST OF US NOWADAYS CAN’T AFFORD CHILDREN,” the millennial says. “I can barely afford my cats and I live with a roommate.”
It’s About Perspective
While a millennial says that the discussion brings up good points, they say, “I would argue lots of Boomers are Vietnam vets, so they didn’t necessarily have it easier. At least we didn’t ever have a draft we had to deal with.”
An exasperated millennial says baby boomers “filled our heads with ‘go to college to land a good job’, ‘study what you like’, ‘get a loan and everything will be awesome!!'” They’re here to report that it’s most definitely not awesome. They explain they have a master’s degree and are making next to no money, and probably won’t ever be able to afford a house.
Nowhere to Turn
“As a millennial I feel so lost,” says one commenter. “It seems no matter what I study, or where I go, or what I do, I will never make a half-decent living.”
Universities Are at Fault
A millennial implies more people need to place the blame on colleges. They say, “Schools will explicitly lie, leave things out, or just make absurd rules to suck more money from you.” Making meal plans mandatory if you live on campus is one example they give. “These universities behave more like companies rather than educational institutions.”
From a Veteran
A retired boomer veteran says they understand millennials’ frustrations. “Years ago you could get a good paying wage through skilled labor [and] retire with insurance and a good pension after 20 years. Without a college degree.”
Stop Pointing the Finger
While a commenter says they understand why millennials are frustrated, they implore everyone to stop pitting one generation against the other. “Pure corporate greed is what created the issues for each generation, not how one generation cheats the next.”
Gen X’s Take
Gen X isn’t any better off than millennials, according to many commenters. One says, ” I was $70k in student debt on the day I graduated (in 1990 dollars) from my master’s program. I still owe a not small chunk of that debt, and many of my friends from the middle/lower-middle socioeconomic status also still owe on their student loans.”
The millennial explains he drives a 20-year-old car and “will never be able to afford kids even if a woman wanted to bear my children this very minute.”
Boomers Are to Blame
Another Gen X chimes in, claiming that Boomers messed up “ALL the generations that followed them.” They say they have “$350,000 in student loans for a Ph.D. that is worthless in today’s job market” on top of losing everything (including their home and retirement accounts) in the recession. To make it worse? They’ve had to declare bankruptcy twice because of medical bills.
Gen X and Houseless
Another Gen X cautions Millennials, “Just because I am in a different age group doesn’t mean I have it any easier.” They explain, “I finished paying off my student loans last year and [sic] the ripe old age of 41. I still can’t buy a house.”
A commenter cautions millennials not to give Gen X too much heat. “I remember back home during the Great Recession, the woods along certain highways were lined with tents filled with people in their 30s.”
Writing is a more challenging career to break into than ever these days. A Gen Xer acknowledges they might not have their current dream ghostwriting job had they been born later; with the combination of working summer jobs and supportive parents, they paid their way through college and landed jobs in the communications field to get them where they are today.
Hey, Howard Hughes
“I honestly believe that these problems wouldn’t exist if a certain small percentage of our population didn’t acquire and hoard wealth like Howard Hughes hoarded fingernail clippings and newspapers.” What more can one say?
Count Your Luck
While a millennial admits they sometimes catch themselves thinking how baby boomers messed things up for their generation, they’re thankful to have been born when they were. “I think [about] how lucky I am to be raised in a generation that grew up with the internet still figuring itself out…the excitement of experiencing films without social media to ruin it, wearing outfits I thought were cool without being broadcasted over my parents’ social media for people to judge and for the vast majority little to no cyberbullying.”
A Gen Xer says their life hasn’t been as easy as millennials may assume. However, they say when they look at younger generations, they “feel nothing but sadness. Every single young person I know is depressed and anxious, understandably so.”
A sympathetic Ear
A commenter born at the end of the boomer era says they “sympathize entirely.” They’re “horrified what our young people have to go through,” explaining, “I got through college, all the way through Ph.D. with no debt.”
They say, “Now I look at my children and grandchildren and know they cannot follow the same path. Education costs, and there is no guarantee of a paying job at the end of it. Real estate prices are ridiculous. We are lucky enough to let a rotation of children and grandchildren live with us to save them money, but it’s no fun for them.”
Insult to Injury
The same sympathetic baby boomer says, “As if to add insult [to] injury, my generation calls the younger generation lazy and self-indulgent.” They couldn’t disagree more. “My children are more mature than I was at their age – they have to be.”
A Damaged Earth
“Every generation idealizes the past,” says one commenter. “We all assume things were easier then but those decades had their own problems.” That said, they agree “Millennials are inheriting a very damaged earth that boomers and gen-xers helped to create. I predict zillennials will probably hate millennials someday too.”
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