Of all the generations that went through the 2008-2009 economic downturn, the Millennials, ages 18-33, have suffered the most. That’s according to a recent survey by Money magazine, which notes these young people are not only saddled with college debt, but are facing a weak employment market. To save money, many of them have returned home to live with their parents and express little hope that their generation will do better than the last — a first in our country’s history. (“What’s Your Money State Of Mind?” by Cybele Weisser Money, April 2014, pg. 75, 76.)
Despite their dim prospects, a majority of Millennials are optimistic. Perhaps having been zealously nurtured by their Boomer parents, they continue to have faith in themselves and their abilities. What’s more their values have changed to accommodate a new future. What the economic downturn has taught them is that homeownership is no longer a given nor is it a reliable nest egg. Keeping up with the Jones’s has lost its importance whereas spending time with the family has grown in value. (Ibid pg. 76)
Millennials appear to be a kinder, gentler generation than those that have preceded it. They are tolerant of others, rich in cultural and racial diversity and their optimism lies not in the values of previous cohorts but in a future they believe they are capable of crafting for themselves. (Ibid pg. 76).
I confess, these young people make me want to stand up and cheer. If they continue to honor the strength in their diversity, refuse to enslave themselves to the pursuit of material goals and continue to cling to their sense of community, then I am certain this new generation will be far, far richer than any that has gone before.
(Courtesy of photobucket.com — picture of Fred Phelps, 84 year-old pastor of hate who has died)