Twenty-Something: Why Do Young Adults Seem So Stuck by Robin Henig and Samantha Henig came out in 2013. Many Millennials are living in their parent’s basement, eating ramen noodles and sometimes even on food stamps. Why is this? Are they lazy or are there other things working against them-like a bad economy and recession?
First, lets establish the generations. The “Baby Boomers” were born from 1946 to 1954. Sometimes they also consider those born 1955-1964 the younger “Boomers.” Generation X came along from 1965 to 1976 for the most part, but some people lump in those born up to 1982 as part of Gen X. Generation Y or the Millennials came along 1980 to 1990.
The Twenty-Somethings want to keep their options open, so they often don’t wish to narrow down their focus and choose a major. They suffer from choice overload. The deadline for growing up has changed. Now those people in their twenties are considered being in Emerging Adulthood or Extended Adolescents. And these twenty-somethings know that the internet has changed everything in their world.
In 1968 going to a 4yr University was affordable. A person making minimum wage working only 6.2 hours a week could cover their tuition and fees. Today’s student needs a full time job to foot the bill for their education. Student debt has increased dramatically over the past twenty or thirty years. Not only that, but the Master’s degree is the new Bachelor’s degree. In many areas a Master’s degree just isn’t enough any longer, which means more debt in trying to obtain a PhD. Even still, people with an MA will earn 25% more than those with just a BA.
Interestingly, your cognitive function drops in your early 30s. You are at the peak of your abilities academically between ages 25 and 34. However, the more education that you have the more likely you are to retain your intelligence and abilities as you age.
You don’t have to spend a fortune on your education though. You can do things alternative to college that will keep you sharp and make you smart. Subscribe to the Economist, Memorize the name of every country in the world, Buy a round the world ticket and be sure to stop in Asia and Africa, Read the basic texts of all the major world religions, Read 30 nonfiction books and 20 Classics, Do an Online or CD Language Course and Learn 3 new skills.
Some people do okay to skip college and enter right into the work force. They are able to have a trade or a skill that is marketable and able to get right to work. These people do not delay adulthood. They get married and have kids at an earlier age than their college counterparts though.
What does this mean for a lifetime of earning? Well, only 53% of those age 25-34 earned more in 2011 than they did four years earlier. Rent for these 25-34 year olds was higher than their parent’s rent in 1980 though. Some 54% of those surveyed were not working in their field. 33% of those who graduated from a 4yr college weren’t working in their field and 29% of those who obtained a graduate degree were weren’t working in their field either. Those who fought in Iraq were doing even worse than the rest of those students who did not.
Baby Boomers have an average of 11 jobs before age 44. Most of the changes in jobs occur before the age of 27.
How does this new generation do as far marriage is concerned? Well in 1960 the median age for women to marry was 20.3 and for men was 22.8. In 2010 that went up to 26.5 for women and 28.7 for men. One woman talked about her 2-2-2 formula. Date the man for two years, get engaged and be engaged for two years and then get married and be married two years before having children. Sadly, many people these days get married to the person they are living with because it is easier than moving out.
Women are putting off having children longer than ever. Some of them don’t realize that you have only a 20% of having a baby at age 30. By age 40 that drops to only a 5% chance. However, for those women who did wait until they were 34 years old, they were earning 72% than the women who had had babies at age 26.
Sadly, a nanny can cost $25,000 a year or more. Most women aren’t making enough at their jobs to justify the nanny expense or general childcare expenses. Raising a kid costs roughly $226,920 from birth to 18 yrs. That isn’t even counting college! Housing takes up a huge chunk of one’s income these days, but if you have more than 2 children in day care your day care expenses can be more than your housing costs!
Many Millennials are having a Quaterlife Crisis. Like a midlife crisis, it is a time when they reflect on their long term choice and come to regret some of them. It is true that a 16 year old brain is not the same as a 25 year old’s brain. So people are still growing and learning and maturing from age 16-25. That is nearly ten years longer than scientists once expected.
Millennials are addicted to facebook. There is no doubt about that. Some of them suffer from FOMO or Fear of Missing Out. Their friends are their new family and they want to keep in touch with them. Kids also want to stay in touch with their actual family—particularly their parents—these days.
What is an adult? It is hard to say. But many people say if you are eating alone and you are using a plate and aren’t standing up you are probably an adult. If you are accountable to yourself and even keep things at your house for when your friends visit, then you are probably an adult. If you put your socks in their draw and don’t push them under the bed, you are probably and adult.
Some things are the same for Boomers as for Millennials and other things differed. What is NEW? Decision making, Schooling and Babies are all areas that have seen major changes between the generations. However, there are things that are the SAME as ever. What is the SAME? Careers, Marriage, Friends, Family and Health Concerns mostly.
Overall, an informative and thought-provoking book. Definitely check it out.