I am part of a pretty financially confused generation.
Our parents were part of the “live outside of your means” group.
By this I mean barely qualifying for (and still partaking in) hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of credit limits, houses, cars, boats, vacations, etc.
We lived the good life. Especially, since as children, we had zero concept of fiscal responsibility we had even less clue than our parents that we really couldn’t afford this stuff.
Then the Great Recession struck.
Not only were we tossed out into the world in one of the hardest periods in American history to be tossed out into the world (I have friends with Bachelor’s degrees bagging groceries at Trader Joes), but the gap between where we WERE and where we ARE is, I believe, larger than many other generations due to the previously over inflated perception of wealth.
We not only needed to compensate for the gap created naturally by leaving the roost, but also we need to close the gap created by our parents based upon imaginary standards.
But we’re working smarter; not harder! Well, okay we’re working both smarter AND harder!
My generation is the generation sneaking in flasks of generic Save Mart brand gin to the clubs to mix with soda because it’s way cheaper.
My generation is the generation that has never bought lunch every day while at work (extra bonus points if you work somewhere you get a discount or a FREE meal).
My generation is the generation that habitually says “No” to Angel Cards (27.99% interest are you freaking KIDDING me?!) and leasing vehicles and new vehicles altogether.
My generation is renting homes instead of buying homes, because who knows where we’ll be in 2, 5, 10 years. We’re where the job is.
I truly believe that we will be a stronger generation for it.
We not only are working our butts off, but we have never known a time where we COULD live above our means.
We’ve tried. We got denied for that loan. Even with our 700 credit rating.
Yesterday while mall-walking with my son I noticed a fashion hat in hot pink camo that read, “Addicted to a Lifestyle I Can’t Afford” in script on the back.
My guess is that hat will be there for a while. I just don’t think it applies to the demographic.
Unless, of course, one of those I-am-Fifty-but-think-I-am-Twenty mammas get a hold of it.
Stay strong my generation of working super hard for little to no pay, no benefits, no trips to the Cape, or Christmas bonus (if a holiday party at all).
Stay strong my generation of eating in, and carpooling, and night shifts, and community clinics, and making way less than we’re worth.
Our time will come. And we will be so much more prepared for it when it does.