It could be argued that all young generations are susceptible to criticism from their elders, but Millennials attract a special kind of controversy. Millennials were emotionally cradled and taught that they were special little snowflakes who were meant to pursue their dreams. Then they were thrown into a fiery hellstorm of a life when they graduated from college.
Being sold the lie that higher education could elevate potential career earnings and satisfaction, Millennials shelled out the big bucks as college tuition – and books, and student housing prices – were stealthily skyrocketing. The fat old loan companies saw that mommy and daddy were helping with tuition, and couldn’t help themselves. Only they overshot the pricing. It’s hard to imagine that someone could work a part time job and put themselves through college while paying rent. Millennials have emerged from college into a terrible economy, saddled with debt, with housing and healthcare prices just astronomical for the average person. How is one supposed to get out of debt when we’re completing a miracle just paying our insanely high rent?
Some people have bewilderingly naive theories, saying that Millennials are just lazy, or that they buy too much avocado toast. The math just doesn’t add up. Sure, there were the days that skimping on “luxuries” (like avocado toast?) could add up to a home. But those days are long gone – there is no amount of Starbucks or pedicures that could add up to being able to afford a mortgage and healthcare. There is literally nothing we can do to get out of our situation, short of winning the lottery. (To those with bewildering theories, this series of Tweets will either change your mind, or at least make you laugh.)
But a lot of baby boomers, like my dear parents, feel bad for our generation. I’m not saying they feel personally responsible. But they are decent human beings. They feel compelled to help in the way that a parent feels when something awful has gone down on their watch. My parents, by the way, saved up my whole life so they could pay for my college. My husband and I, with our parents, have started meager college funds for our kids, even though we are still slogging through paying off debt from my husband’s finance degree (sweet irony). My husband didn’t even want to go to college, but I convinced him to do it, and sometimes, despite his great job, he gets a little resentful towards me because of our debt!
This college thing is confusing.
So if you’re one of the people who feels bad for our generation, and you’re not some millionaire saying we should eat less avocado toast, then here’s how you can help: buy a young person’s student debt. You can be a total lifesaver and just forgive the debt; but not all of us can do that. A more practical plan is to could draw up a repayment plan, and even charge a little interest – just less than they would be paying to their student loan company. Then it’s a win-win situation: they’ll pay it off sooner, and you’re even making a little bit of an investment.
You might say, why should I buy someone’s debt? No one did something so large-scale generous for me. I worked my butt off!
Might I remind you that you grew up in a world where hard work paid off. We live in a world where we are all working our butts off, just like you, and still we will never know what it’s like to just live above water. To someone like me, it feels like a bunch of greedy jerks worked very hard to stockpile all the money, mess up our housing market and steal our healthcare. And then when we try to get it back, they complain that they are not a charity.
This is how you can leave your legacy and make a positive impact on the future.
You could even contribute to an organization like Rolling Jubilee, which buys debt anonymously and randomly and abolishes it. It’s a bailout for the people by the people.
Still not ready to part with your money? Wait until you’re dead! You can put it in your will to donate it to Rolling Jubilee. So what are you waiting for? If you need a place to start, I have plenty of student debt to pay off!