Oh, millennials. I love you, for I am one of you. And yet… there are times I simply shake my head at who we are and what we’ve become. Like when reporters write about millennials
being most effective in the workplace when we’re given a nap time. And they’re serious.
Or, when HuffPo screams, “Single millennials make less than anyone else! Disenfranchisement! Spread some wealth to these poor kids!”
Yes, we have a new crisis facing this generation: single young people are bearing the brunt of Generation Y’s economic woes. (In case we just lost you, “Generation Y” and “Millennials” are the same. Kind of. But not.)
Single young people are getting poorer compared to the average population even those with dependent children, with stagnating disposable income and onerous living costs pressing down on prosperity.
New data accessed by the Guardian reveals that singletons aged 25 to 29 in eight rich countries – the US, UK, Australia, Canada, Spain, Italy, France and Germany – have become poorer over the last 20 years compared with the average population, and unattached young adults are finding it harder than ever to set up on their own.
The article goes on to quote Ashley Ball, 29, from Portland, Oregon:
“I loved living alone in my own apartment [in Phoenix, Arizona], but my wallet didn’t. I was 25 and very naively signed a year-long lease expecting to move in and be able to live the lifestyle I saw my parents living when I was growing up.”
It makes Ball laugh to think about the expectations she had of what she would be able to afford – furnishing her apartment and having money spare to eat out and go on trips with friends.
“I think I took all those movies to heart. You know the kind, the twenty-something living in a super hip apartment in a cool downtown area with plenty of money to go out all the time and order take-out.”
Alright. Time for a dose of cold, hard reality.
First off Ashley, the reason your parents were able to live the lifestyle you saw was because they did
make more money than you. Because they were married
. Two incomes are greater than one income. Complicated, I know. And guess what? Marriage may not be as hip as your boyfriends fringy mustache and lumberjack shirt, but it is
the single greatest indicator of economic stability
and wealth in the modern world. Fact.
So here’s a protip, millennials. If your main thing is being able to buy new furniture and eat out whenever you want, AKA, economic wealth and stability: find the perfect someone, and marry them. And if you stay married – your net worth will increase by 77%
! Also, tax breaks. You’re welcome. I know, I know. That comes with the unfortunate caveat that you have to get your act together.
And, Ashley, about those expectations? You’re right. Sitcoms and movies have created a make-believe world where young folks find more fulfillment in a career and sleeping around the Upper West Side than they would in having a stable relationship and a family. It’s not real life. TV and movies aren’t real life. I can’t believe we have to go over this. Oh, that’s right. You’re a Millennial.
Let me try to explain this in your language. Singleness for millennials has more in common with the welfare office than an episode of Friends. Though they got a few things right with the theme song.
So no one told you life was gonna be this way
Your job’s a joke, you’re broke, your love life’s D.O.A.
It’s like you’re always stuck in second gear
When it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month, or even your year…
Here’s the bottom line, my millennial friends. I’m not saying singleness is all bad. It’s not. In fact, if you’re single, enjoy the very real perks of your singleness! Enjoy sleeping in. Enjoy hiking alone. Enjoy staying out late with your friends. But don’t complain about how your married friends make more than you do or can do more fun stuff than you can do, or how your life isn’t like what TV said it would be.
Enjoy the path you’ve chosen, or choose a different path. Then, you’ll finally be an adult. In the interim, please stop asking that I pay for you.