Big Kid Jobs and The Future of Working America

Young People Build a House

You know what my parents did at age 26? Bought a new car, built a new house and had me, a 4 year old.

The kind of power America is built on is the power of making people think they’re happy…ish and able to get what they want, even if all of those things are only luxuries that do not match a lifestyle their income or the income of their country says they should actually be living. This is a happy place we can no longer afford to stay, both metaphorically and…i guess literally…within that metaphor…

Youth Unemployment Chart

How are we supposed to save if we can't even work...?

I do understand and support the basic tenants of movements like Occupy Wall Street and the outcry against inheriting a severely depressed career field (check out this report: it’s sobering); there are definitely quite a few things that went wrong on the corporate and governmental sides of our country and it totally sucks to be us right now because of it.

But to some of the kids who got a $100,000+ Ivy-League degree in Experimental Astrological Conversationing with Nomadic Pygmy Ninjas that was ALL. FINANCED. how did we EVER, at ANY point get to where we as free-thinking individuals thought that would be a solid idea?? The same is true of the housing market, both innocents and gamblers were seriously affected, there.

And it doesn’t even end there. Being saddled with our own 5 and 6-digit student loans for degrees that don’t matter upon arriving to a recessed workforce that we are often underqualified for is just where we START.

We are also completely responsible now for taking care of where we STOP.

(And in between we also may encounter this pervasive attitude of our generation being entitled and unqualified to even work.)

To all of you twenty somethings–and not saying this as someone who’s on track but starting to really get freaked out–after all this, you will never be able to retire on anything but the money you set aside for yourself. Unfortunately we are also still paying for social security but we will never see that money for ourselves, again. This is going to support our already heavy-laden retired workforce in the US and especially disturbing is the growth projected by this article on CBS News called 6 Scary Facts about the US Budget Deficit. The number of folks receiving social security benefits rose 88% from 1993 to 2010 (rather than stay relatively the same because of a proportionate amount of folks retiring as are also passing from old age.) It’s only going to speed up now, and fast because so many people are living longer and the largest generation ever in America is also at retirement’s door.

young pros are out to sea

Got my degree...and out to sea.

Distracted with things like credit cards, convenience foods, reality TV, ALL THE THINGS on the interwebz, neverending education, unrealistic home loans, government programs, and all SORTS of other stuff depending on what tax bracket you are in it’s so so easy for Americans to benignly ignore what is coming.

Make sure you don’t get trapped there. Check out resources like generationopportunity.org and ourtime.org and see this entry I wrote for youngfreestlouis.com about things we should be focusing on right NOW to make sure we don’t go under, THEN.

As much as I talk big though, it’s still way easier said than done. I draw a very small paycheck, my husband is on unemployment and we have never had even a simple emergency savings fund worth speaking of. This also doesn’t bode well in the face of these things we are up against–we need to be saving more money than any generation ever yet are making significantly less all across the board.

The first step is to just be aware, then start to learn. And keep learning and fighting for ways to protect your own future.

What’s your long-term strategy? Is it pretty much still “scrape through the short-term” like mine is?

xo
jenn

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