• December 11, 2019

MILLER: An orphan of the American Dream - Odessa American: Nathaniel Miller

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MILLER: An orphan of the American Dream

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Posted: Sunday, October 13, 2019 3:00 am

The other day, a colleague of mine said Millennials were the most entitled group of people she has ever met.

She claimed the group of people born between the early 1980s and mid-1990s were a bunch of whiny, spoiled brats who wanted everything handed to them on a silver platter. She talked about how things were different in “her day,” and how people could pull themselves up by their bootstraps.

Once she finished her sermon, I asked her what generation she associated with. She proudly told me she was a Baby Boomer.

“Well, if you think Millennials are entitled, have you ever told a Baby Boomer their coupon was expired?” I asked. She huffed, turned around, and went right back to work.

I was (slightly) kidding, but at the same time, I was agitated about how – as The Who once sang – people talk about my generation.

The most common stereotype about Millennials is how lazy and uninspired we are, when that is the farthest from the truth. In fact, studies show Millennials are not only working more than previous generations, but are earning 20 percent less in average salaries.

According to numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary of a Millennial is about $35,592. Consider the fact the cost of living has gone up—and monthly rents now cost more than some mortgages – and making ends meet with a stagnant income is almost impossible.

I personally am working a full-time job and a side hustle just to be able to put food in my family’s mouth.

Whatever money that is considered extra seems to be going more towards a savings account instead of towards big-ticket purchases. According to data from the St. Louis Federal Reserve, the personal saving rate as of August was 8.1 percent, as opposed to 5.7 percent in 1996.

Simply, Millennials are saving more than they are spending. This has some people freaking out because they say it is causing the economy to slow down.

This leads people to say Millennials are killing every industry you can think of; diamonds, automobiles, golf and vacations.

And let me tell you, if me and my diamonds could take our beat-up vehicle and go play golf in Hawaii, you bet I wouldn’t be typing these words.

So my question is this: why would a generation who isn’t getting paid spend money they don’t even have? And it’s not everyone wants to avoid spending money, it’s the fact the economy is not in our favor.

As a military brat, we moved around all over the country. We never stayed in one area for very long, and it was hard to make life-long friends, or consider anyplace home. All I have ever wanted in life was to be able to place roots so my children don’t have to endure what I did.

However, the National Association of Realtors states the biggest obstacle in homeownership is the down payment. Finding that money, alongside lower wages, larger debts, and a possible recession, it’s hard not to feel orphaned from the American Dream.

Then there are days I should pay closer attention to what the great George Carlin once said: It’s called the American dream because you have to be asleep to believe it.

Odessa, TX

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