Are Millenial and Zoomers economic pessimism justified?
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  Are Millenial and Zoomers economic pessimism justified?
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ProgressiveModerate
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« on: June 08, 2023, 11:01:15 PM »
« edited: June 08, 2023, 11:10:02 PM by ProgressiveModerate »

I'm someone who will be going to college next year and this is something I've thought about a lot as I think about the future; I notice there's generally a very pessimistic view of our generation's economic prospects for the future; that we're destined to be trapped in cycles of student loan debt while working excessive hours at boring office jobs only to never be able to hit benchmarks like buying a home and retiring. I usually don't post here and don't know a ton about economics but I'd appreciate some insight.

I see cases can be made both ways.

On the one hand, costs of things such as college, housing, and healthcare have ballooned way faster than wages. There's also been growing wealth inequality generally. Jobs themselves tend to be more transient and fluid. There's more monopolies and looming debt. College has become more and more of a requirement for many jobs (though we may be starting to see movement in the opposite direction). There's also generally more political/cultural polarization. (Some of these are generalizations so there could be nuances I'm not considering, feel free to point them out)

On the flip side, there have been medical and technological advances that have made certain aspects of life easier and better (though you could def argue certain technologies may negatively affect certain aspects of life). You also have generally more social inclusivity.

I also tend to think many have a "glorified" view of what the life of the average boomer was actually like; yes many boomers did have something akin to a suburban nuclear family by their 30s, but there are many who had both partners working, or who lived in impoverished cities and rural communities that never had that and we don't talk about those. It's also important to remember a lot of the manual labour jobs that have since been automated are pretty intense.

I think it's also important to remember that of course by nature of being older, older generations will have accumulated more wealth than young. In theory, that wealth will eventually be passed down to us.

Finally, some of these views could be shaped by cultural factors within our generations. Millennials being less likely to get married or even be in long term relationships by choice means they are less likely to have the stability of 2 income streams. There's also studies that have found things such as Millenials have shorter attention spans which really affects them at work. And ofc, you have helicopter parenting which arguably shielded younger generations from the real world for too long. I also wonder if pessimism can be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

On net, are millenials and zoomers actually worse off long term in the sense the work they put into earning money will lead to a worse quality of life than our parents on average? Is this sense of pessimism justified? If not, where does this sense of pessimism come from?
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Ragnaroni
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« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2023, 03:48:50 AM »

Honestly to an extent : yes. I've had the same thoughts as you do. I am lucky because I don't have any student debt but the other points still hurt. Housing (like owning a house not renting) especially. I've been told many times "yeah you probably will never own your own house". The internet creates a "negativity echo chamber" in my opinion.

Glorified view of boomer life is very true. A lot of the hate towards boomers strikes to me as simple jealousy. They had it better. I'd say the glorification is more so on the right than the left (nuclear family yada yada etc).

LMAO no, that wealth is gonna go to healthcare when they inevitably get cancer or need constant care and are milked for every nickel and dime they got. Not gonna address marriage or dating. I am fortunate to have my dad who's tried really hard to make my mother tone down the helicopter parent stuff but it can be stifling.

QoL has actually gone down in recent years. A bunch of it is, the rest is just pity porn and self loathing.
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ProgressiveModerate
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« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2023, 08:04:38 AM »

Honestly to an extent : yes. I've had the same thoughts as you do. I am lucky because I don't have any student debt but the other points still hurt. Housing (like owning a house not renting) especially. I've been told many times "yeah you probably will never own your own house". The internet creates a "negativity echo chamber" in my opinion.

Glorified view of boomer life is very true. A lot of the hate towards boomers strikes to me as simple jealousy. They had it better. I'd say the glorification is more so on the right than the left (nuclear family yada yada etc).

LMAO no, that wealth is gonna go to healthcare when they inevitably get cancer or need constant care and are milked for every nickel and dime they got. Not gonna address marriage or dating. I am fortunate to have my dad who's tried really hard to make my mother tone down the helicopter parent stuff but it can be stifling.

QoL has actually gone down in recent years. A bunch of it is, the rest is just pity porn and self loathing.

I also blame the media to some extent for fueling the economic doomerism narrative of millenials (and now zoomers). There was a recent thread here about how Millenials aren't actually that behind Boomers in terms of home ownership these days, and the student loan debt crisis isn't actually as bad as many would make you think. I feel like adding in some optimism would be good because this sort of pessimism can genuinely have an impact on people's mental health and make them feel like they're screwed even if they're not, so it creates hopelessness which may lead to thigns like less risk taking.

Parenting and how we raise children is something that will need greater cultural change. This is anecdotal but from my experience you have this imbalance where young people have disproportionate political and social awareness from a young age compared to past generations, but I think less real world experiences (i.e. first jobs, romantic relationships, general social skills, ect), and are also less aware of themselves. This is hard to measure though because I wasn't alive when boomers were at this age, but looking at data and ancedotes, this is the sense I get. At my high school, the average person probably has the educational smarts well above the average boomer when they were our age, but might only be comparable to a 14 or 15 years old Boomer in real world experiences that develop independence and character. I think this contributes to the rising levels of mental health issues and the general sense of unpreparedness we have about the larger world
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« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2023, 09:49:33 AM »

Honestly to an extent : yes. I've had the same thoughts as you do. I am lucky because I don't have any student debt but the other points still hurt. Housing (like owning a house not renting) especially. I've been told many times "yeah you probably will never own your own house". The internet creates a "negativity echo chamber" in my opinion.

Glorified view of boomer life is very true. A lot of the hate towards boomers strikes to me as simple jealousy. They had it better. I'd say the glorification is more so on the right than the left (nuclear family yada yada etc).

LMAO no, that wealth is gonna go to healthcare when they inevitably get cancer or need constant care and are milked for every nickel and dime they got. Not gonna address marriage or dating. I am fortunate to have my dad who's tried really hard to make my mother tone down the helicopter parent stuff but it can be stifling.

QoL has actually gone down in recent years. A bunch of it is, the rest is just pity porn and self loathing.

I also blame the media to some extent for fueling the economic doomerism narrative of millenials (and now zoomers). There was a recent thread here about how Millenials aren't actually that behind Boomers in terms of home ownership these days, and the student loan debt crisis isn't actually as bad as many would make you think. I feel like adding in some optimism would be good because this sort of pessimism can genuinely have an impact on people's mental health and make them feel like they're screwed even if they're not, so it creates hopelessness which may lead to thigns like less risk taking.

Parenting and how we raise children is something that will need greater cultural change. This is anecdotal but from my experience you have this imbalance where young people have disproportionate political and social awareness from a young age compared to past generations, but I think less real world experiences (i.e. first jobs, romantic relationships, general social skills, ect), and are also less aware of themselves. This is hard to measure though because I wasn't alive when boomers were at this age, but looking at data and ancedotes, this is the sense I get. At my high school, the average person probably has the educational smarts well above the average boomer when they were our age, but might only be comparable to a 14 or 15 years old Boomer in real world experiences that develop independence and character. I think this contributes to the rising levels of mental health issues and the general sense of unpreparedness we have about the larger world
THIS! EXACTLY THIS! I am more "book smart" but I'm like a 15 year old boomer... Its weird.
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ProgressiveModerate
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« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2023, 07:17:27 PM »

Honestly to an extent : yes. I've had the same thoughts as you do. I am lucky because I don't have any student debt but the other points still hurt. Housing (like owning a house not renting) especially. I've been told many times "yeah you probably will never own your own house". The internet creates a "negativity echo chamber" in my opinion.

Glorified view of boomer life is very true. A lot of the hate towards boomers strikes to me as simple jealousy. They had it better. I'd say the glorification is more so on the right than the left (nuclear family yada yada etc).

LMAO no, that wealth is gonna go to healthcare when they inevitably get cancer or need constant care and are milked for every nickel and dime they got. Not gonna address marriage or dating. I am fortunate to have my dad who's tried really hard to make my mother tone down the helicopter parent stuff but it can be stifling.

QoL has actually gone down in recent years. A bunch of it is, the rest is just pity porn and self loathing.

I also blame the media to some extent for fueling the economic doomerism narrative of millenials (and now zoomers). There was a recent thread here about how Millenials aren't actually that behind Boomers in terms of home ownership these days, and the student loan debt crisis isn't actually as bad as many would make you think. I feel like adding in some optimism would be good because this sort of pessimism can genuinely have an impact on people's mental health and make them feel like they're screwed even if they're not, so it creates hopelessness which may lead to thigns like less risk taking.

Parenting and how we raise children is something that will need greater cultural change. This is anecdotal but from my experience you have this imbalance where young people have disproportionate political and social awareness from a young age compared to past generations, but I think less real world experiences (i.e. first jobs, romantic relationships, general social skills, ect), and are also less aware of themselves. This is hard to measure though because I wasn't alive when boomers were at this age, but looking at data and ancedotes, this is the sense I get. At my high school, the average person probably has the educational smarts well above the average boomer when they were our age, but might only be comparable to a 14 or 15 years old Boomer in real world experiences that develop independence and character. I think this contributes to the rising levels of mental health issues and the general sense of unpreparedness we have about the larger world
THIS! EXACTLY THIS! I am more "book smart" but I'm like a 15 year old boomer... Its weird.

To some extent, could this be a sign society is moving in a positive direction? It used to be that really young kids would have to do physical labour on a farm or in factories to contribute to the family, but ig like the ability to be a child for longer shows we've become more efficient to the point where less workforce is needed to maintain society and we can generally live more carefree

I think what some are worried about long term is that long term there will be way more people and jobs as more and more things become automated and also possibly replaced by AI. At that point, well either have a very 2-tier economy between the workers and non-workers or will need some sort of UBI system or alternative sort of jobs (maybe people would get paid for stuff that today would be considered volunteer work?)
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« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2023, 09:40:53 PM »
« Edited: June 09, 2023, 09:48:45 PM by Cheesus Crust »

The only reason I have any amount of hope is that the Democratic party is still functional. Because of where I started I had to accept in childhood that there was a very good chance I was going to die without ever making it into the middle class. What I did not expect is that I wouldn't even be able to make it into the working class. I am not optimistic regarding this and the only thing that will change my mind is finally being offered a full-time non-temporary job. At 26 I have applied to around 9,000 positions, including internships and temporary work, and have been hired for about four of them, all unpaid or temporary. I've already accomplished far more than either of my parents did, and what I have to show for it is temporary-yet-repeated bouts with homelessness.

I am, however, optimistic regarding the student loan issue in particular, though this could be because I have little debt from college myself.
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ProgressiveModerate
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« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2023, 09:48:38 PM »

The only reason I have any amount of hope is that the Democratic party is still functional. Because of where I started I had to accept in childhood that there was a very good chance I was going to die without ever making it into the middle class. What I did not expect is that I wouldn't even be able to make it into the working class. I am not optimistic regarding this and the only thing that will change my mind is finally being offered a full-time non-temporary job. I have applied to around 9,000 positions, including internships and temporary work, and have been hired for about four of them, all unpaid or temporary.

I am, however, optimistic regarding the student loan issue in particular, though this could be because I have little debt from college myself.

9000!?!? Sheesh.

I remember I was trying to apply to a summer internship thing at the math musuem here in NYC. However, I soon realized all it was was basically making high schoolers perform "normal" jobs to maintain the museum for free with minimal stuff in exchange. They basically high schoolers to work 6 days a week 9-5 unpaid which really seems messed up.

Unless your a student trying to build your resume/gain experience, is there any reason to apply for unpaid positions? That seems really messed up.

I think one downside to our generations is that applications to jobs are increasingly becoming more competative and demanding more prior work experience and stuff on employees part. It used to be college guarenteed you a good position, but now it's often just a baseline.

However, once you get going it seems you can make decent or even good money depending upon your degree.
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PeteHam
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« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2023, 09:52:49 PM »
« Edited: June 09, 2023, 09:56:27 PM by Cheesus Crust »

The only reason I have any amount of hope is that the Democratic party is still functional. Because of where I started I had to accept in childhood that there was a very good chance I was going to die without ever making it into the middle class. What I did not expect is that I wouldn't even be able to make it into the working class. I am not optimistic regarding this and the only thing that will change my mind is finally being offered a full-time non-temporary job. I have applied to around 9,000 positions, including internships and temporary work, and have been hired for about four of them, all unpaid or temporary.

I am, however, optimistic regarding the student loan issue in particular, though this could be because I have little debt from college myself.

9000!?!? Sheesh.

I remember I was trying to apply to a summer internship thing at the math musuem here in NYC. However, I soon realized all it was was basically making high schoolers perform "normal" jobs to maintain the museum for free with minimal stuff in exchange. They basically high schoolers to work 6 days a week 9-5 unpaid which really seems messed up.

Unless your a student trying to build your resume/gain experience, is there any reason to apply for unpaid positions? That seems really messed up.

I think one downside to our generations is that applications to jobs are increasingly becoming more competative and demanding more prior work experience and stuff on employees part. It used to be college guarenteed you a good position, but now it's often just a baseline.

However, once you get going it seems you can make decent or even good money depending upon your degree.

The temporary jobs I have had have paid very well and have had strong benefits. Some have even offered housing. They are simply temporary.

I continue to apply for unpaid positions because I continue to be rejected from paid positions. Unpaid positions, also, but slightly less often. I applied to several hundred internships in college and was interviewed by exactly one. They offered me the position over the phone at the conclusion of the interview. It was actually quite prestigious. I've only had scant few interviews since then, in 2018.

My count of 9,000 begins about 10 years ago, when I was in high school. In Maryland you are not allowed to work, under the age of 18, unless you have a special permit from the state. In order to apply for this permit, you have to have a job offer. I lived in a semi-rural area where the only jobs that high schoolers could reasonably be hired for all went to people whose parents were working professionals and knew local business-owners. My father delivered pizza for a living. I did not have reliable transportation until halfway through college, either, which did not help. I never had a chance to get that initial customer service experience and now can not get hired for it anyway because this is seen as a red flag.
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ProgressiveModerate
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« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2023, 10:09:07 PM »

The only reason I have any amount of hope is that the Democratic party is still functional. Because of where I started I had to accept in childhood that there was a very good chance I was going to die without ever making it into the middle class. What I did not expect is that I wouldn't even be able to make it into the working class. I am not optimistic regarding this and the only thing that will change my mind is finally being offered a full-time non-temporary job. I have applied to around 9,000 positions, including internships and temporary work, and have been hired for about four of them, all unpaid or temporary.

I am, however, optimistic regarding the student loan issue in particular, though this could be because I have little debt from college myself.

9000!?!? Sheesh.

I remember I was trying to apply to a summer internship thing at the math musuem here in NYC. However, I soon realized all it was was basically making high schoolers perform "normal" jobs to maintain the museum for free with minimal stuff in exchange. They basically high schoolers to work 6 days a week 9-5 unpaid which really seems messed up.

Unless your a student trying to build your resume/gain experience, is there any reason to apply for unpaid positions? That seems really messed up.

I think one downside to our generations is that applications to jobs are increasingly becoming more competative and demanding more prior work experience and stuff on employees part. It used to be college guarenteed you a good position, but now it's often just a baseline.

However, once you get going it seems you can make decent or even good money depending upon your degree.

The temporary jobs I have had have paid very well and have had strong benefits. Some have even offered housing. They are simply temporary.

I continue to apply for unpaid positions because I continue to be rejected from paid positions. Unpaid positions, also, but slightly less often. I applied to several hundred internships in college and was interviewed by exactly one. They offered me the position over the phone at the conclusion of the interview. It was actually quite prestigious. I've only had scant few interviews since then, in 2018.

My count of 9,000 begins about 10 years ago, when I was in high school. In Maryland you are not allowed to work, under the age of 18, unless you have a special permit from the state. In order to apply for this permit, you have to have a job offer. I lived in a semi-rural area where the only jobs that high schoolers could reasonably be hired for all went to people whose parents were working professionals and knew local business-owners. My father delivered pizza for a living. I did not have reliable transportation until halfway through college, either, which did not help. I never had a chance to get that initial customer service experience and now can not get hired for it anyway because this is seen as a red flag.

One thing I really want when i grow up is a relatively stable job; it doesn't have to pay AMAZING, but I want consistency. This day, there seems to be a lot more freelancing, which can force people to do things like move for work which costs extra money and generally just makes things less consistent. I do worry though since this seems to becoming less.

One potential reason for this is because as these companies become bigger and bigger, individual people matter less and everyone becomes a cog in the machine; there's also a loss of true company culture and what not that cares for it's employees on a personal level. Furthermore, internet means it's easy for people to apply to a bunch of jobs and for those companies to sort through all those applicants. And now with remote work, in many cases, you're literally competing against the world for a position.

Especially since I'm on the spectrum, dealing with dramatic changes to my job every few weeks or months would be really hard to handle. This will be something I consider when I choose what degree to persue in college.

I do wonder though in your case nearly 10000 seems quite high even by todays standards. Are you in a field that is particuarly unique or are you applying to jobs that are reaches for you?
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PeteHam
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« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2023, 10:38:57 PM »
« Edited: June 09, 2023, 10:43:13 PM by Cheesus Crust »

The only reason I have any amount of hope is that the Democratic party is still functional. Because of where I started I had to accept in childhood that there was a very good chance I was going to die without ever making it into the middle class. What I did not expect is that I wouldn't even be able to make it into the working class. I am not optimistic regarding this and the only thing that will change my mind is finally being offered a full-time non-temporary job. I have applied to around 9,000 positions, including internships and temporary work, and have been hired for about four of them, all unpaid or temporary.

I am, however, optimistic regarding the student loan issue in particular, though this could be because I have little debt from college myself.

9000!?!? Sheesh.

I remember I was trying to apply to a summer internship thing at the math musuem here in NYC. However, I soon realized all it was was basically making high schoolers perform "normal" jobs to maintain the museum for free with minimal stuff in exchange. They basically high schoolers to work 6 days a week 9-5 unpaid which really seems messed up.

Unless your a student trying to build your resume/gain experience, is there any reason to apply for unpaid positions? That seems really messed up.

I think one downside to our generations is that applications to jobs are increasingly becoming more competative and demanding more prior work experience and stuff on employees part. It used to be college guarenteed you a good position, but now it's often just a baseline.

However, once you get going it seems you can make decent or even good money depending upon your degree.

The temporary jobs I have had have paid very well and have had strong benefits. Some have even offered housing. They are simply temporary.

I continue to apply for unpaid positions because I continue to be rejected from paid positions. Unpaid positions, also, but slightly less often. I applied to several hundred internships in college and was interviewed by exactly one. They offered me the position over the phone at the conclusion of the interview. It was actually quite prestigious. I've only had scant few interviews since then, in 2018.

My count of 9,000 begins about 10 years ago, when I was in high school. In Maryland you are not allowed to work, under the age of 18, unless you have a special permit from the state. In order to apply for this permit, you have to have a job offer. I lived in a semi-rural area where the only jobs that high schoolers could reasonably be hired for all went to people whose parents were working professionals and knew local business-owners. My father delivered pizza for a living. I did not have reliable transportation until halfway through college, either, which did not help. I never had a chance to get that initial customer service experience and now can not get hired for it anyway because this is seen as a red flag.

One thing I really want when i grow up is a relatively stable job; it doesn't have to pay AMAZING, but I want consistency. This day, there seems to be a lot more freelancing, which can force people to do things like move for work which costs extra money and generally just makes things less consistent. I do worry though since this seems to becoming less.

One potential reason for this is because as these companies become bigger and bigger, individual people matter less and everyone becomes a cog in the machine; there's also a loss of true company culture and what not that cares for it's employees on a personal level. Furthermore, internet means it's easy for people to apply to a bunch of jobs and for those companies to sort through all those applicants. And now with remote work, in many cases, you're literally competing against the world for a position.

Especially since I'm on the spectrum, dealing with dramatic changes to my job every few weeks or months would be really hard to handle. This will be something I consider when I choose what degree to persue in college.

I do wonder though in your case nearly 10000 seems quite high even by todays standards. Are you in a field that is particuarly unique or are you applying to jobs that are reaches for you?

Most of those applications have been for food service, entry-level office administration, retail, data entry, call center, and hospitality/housekeeping positions. In college, I was rejected -- more accurately, ghosted -- multiple times for positions on campus which advertised themselves as "hiring anyone."

Virtually everything for which I have actually been hired, paid or unpaid, has been in either office administration (once), government relations (once), arts management (ongoing projects that coexist with the self-employment I've managed to scrape together), or political campaigns (multiple times). I have been on a waitlist to deliver for DoorDash in my home area for over a year and a half.

Every time I leave the area, I immediately do better. I have actually been interviewed for and offered more jobs while homeless than I have while housed because of this. I've just never been able to parlay that into anything stable, and it is only possible for me to do this when the weather doesn't make it dangerous.

There is very little gainful employment in the Baltimore area beyond healthcare, and most of those jobs are hideously underpaid for the workload and levels of qualification frequently required. There is also the military, but after testing in the highest tier on the ASVAB and speaking to some recruiters, I found I would not be eligible to join because of my severe back problems. Never had healthcare access to treat it in any way. This is also why I can not work in warehousing, landscaping, or construction -- I have tried and have injured myself quite badly in the process. I relocated over 2,000 miles for a landscaping job because it was the first I had been offered in three years. I was nearly hospitalized, all said and done, which would have totally destroyed my life as I have been uninsured since the age of about 15 and underinsured my entire life.
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« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2023, 11:20:19 PM »

This has turned into just me talking about my life, but in general I think this should be a signal that there is not really one gen-z/millennial cohort. The majority of people in that age bracket will probably not make as much as their parents did, but most of their parents made decent money and for those people the cut in quality of life will not be drastic. Those whose parents did not make a middle class salary will have to be willing to take extreme risks to make it past early adulthood, because so many forms of public assistance have been abolished or are deeply underfunded.

With regard to choosing a college major, all I can say is that the idea that "STEM means good jobs" is very much a myth at the Bachelor's degree level. There are particular fields within STEM where that can be true, depending on one's aptitude for networking, skillset, and alumni pool. But too many people major in something like chemistry, having heard that studying science means a good job, and then find their options are essentially limited to $15/hr lab tech positions and retail. The same can be said for biology and certain other areas, such as, in some markets, pure math. Certain fields of engineering are also extremely competitive at the Bachelor's level.

Many of the smartest people I know majored in STEM and nearly every one of them has had to go to graduate school in order to make more than mid-$20s/hr. One even found no options other than factory labor with a strong academic record and a STEM B.S., before going to get an unrelated Master's.

So, I'm not upset with my decision to major in a humanities field, but that is because I received scholarships and low-income grants to make it affordable. The fact that I haven't been able to get hired at Burger King is certainly not a consequence of the fact that I have a history B.A., because if it were, I would've been hired when I tried leaving it off my resumť.
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« Reply #11 on: June 09, 2023, 11:20:34 PM »

The only reason I have any amount of hope is that the Democratic party is still functional. Because of where I started I had to accept in childhood that there was a very good chance I was going to die without ever making it into the middle class. What I did not expect is that I wouldn't even be able to make it into the working class. I am not optimistic regarding this and the only thing that will change my mind is finally being offered a full-time non-temporary job. I have applied to around 9,000 positions, including internships and temporary work, and have been hired for about four of them, all unpaid or temporary.

I am, however, optimistic regarding the student loan issue in particular, though this could be because I have little debt from college myself.

9000!?!? Sheesh.

I remember I was trying to apply to a summer internship thing at the math musuem here in NYC. However, I soon realized all it was was basically making high schoolers perform "normal" jobs to maintain the museum for free with minimal stuff in exchange. They basically high schoolers to work 6 days a week 9-5 unpaid which really seems messed up.

Unless your a student trying to build your resume/gain experience, is there any reason to apply for unpaid positions? That seems really messed up.

I think one downside to our generations is that applications to jobs are increasingly becoming more competative and demanding more prior work experience and stuff on employees part. It used to be college guarenteed you a good position, but now it's often just a baseline.

However, once you get going it seems you can make decent or even good money depending upon your degree.

The temporary jobs I have had have paid very well and have had strong benefits. Some have even offered housing. They are simply temporary.

I continue to apply for unpaid positions because I continue to be rejected from paid positions. Unpaid positions, also, but slightly less often. I applied to several hundred internships in college and was interviewed by exactly one. They offered me the position over the phone at the conclusion of the interview. It was actually quite prestigious. I've only had scant few interviews since then, in 2018.

My count of 9,000 begins about 10 years ago, when I was in high school. In Maryland you are not allowed to work, under the age of 18, unless you have a special permit from the state. In order to apply for this permit, you have to have a job offer. I lived in a semi-rural area where the only jobs that high schoolers could reasonably be hired for all went to people whose parents were working professionals and knew local business-owners. My father delivered pizza for a living. I did not have reliable transportation until halfway through college, either, which did not help. I never had a chance to get that initial customer service experience and now can not get hired for it anyway because this is seen as a red flag.

One thing I really want when i grow up is a relatively stable job; it doesn't have to pay AMAZING, but I want consistency. This day, there seems to be a lot more freelancing, which can force people to do things like move for work which costs extra money and generally just makes things less consistent. I do worry though since this seems to becoming less.

One potential reason for this is because as these companies become bigger and bigger, individual people matter less and everyone becomes a cog in the machine; there's also a loss of true company culture and what not that cares for it's employees on a personal level. Furthermore, internet means it's easy for people to apply to a bunch of jobs and for those companies to sort through all those applicants. And now with remote work, in many cases, you're literally competing against the world for a position.

Especially since I'm on the spectrum, dealing with dramatic changes to my job every few weeks or months would be really hard to handle. This will be something I consider when I choose what degree to persue in college.

I do wonder though in your case nearly 10000 seems quite high even by todays standards. Are you in a field that is particuarly unique or are you applying to jobs that are reaches for you?

Most of those applications have been for food service, entry-level office administration, retail, data entry, call center, and hospitality/housekeeping positions. In college, I was rejected -- more accurately, ghosted -- multiple times for positions on campus which advertised themselves as "hiring anyone."

Virtually everything for which I have actually been hired, paid or unpaid, has been in either office administration (once), government relations (once), arts management (ongoing projects that coexist with the self-employment I've managed to scrape together), or political campaigns (multiple times). I have been on a waitlist to deliver for DoorDash in my home area for over a year and a half.

Every time I leave the area, I immediately do better. I have actually been interviewed for and offered more jobs while homeless than I have while housed because of this. I've just never been able to parlay that into anything stable, and it is only possible for me to do this when the weather doesn't make it dangerous.

There is very little gainful employment in the Baltimore area beyond healthcare, and most of those jobs are hideously underpaid for the workload and levels of qualification frequently required. There is also the military, but after testing in the highest tier on the ASVAB and speaking to some recruiters, I found I would not be eligible to join because of my severe back problems. Never had healthcare access to treat it in any way. This is also why I can not work in warehousing, landscaping, or construction -- I have tried and have injured myself quite badly in the process. I relocated over 2,000 miles for a landscaping job because it was the first I had been offered in three years. I was nearly hospitalized, all said and done, which would have totally destroyed my life as I have been uninsured since the age of about 15 and underinsured my entire life.

If this is true, I feel really sorry for you. However, I feel like there's at least something being inflated or missing from your story here because this does not sound like a normal occurrence, even in a place like Baltimore with from a brief search doesn't have that bad of an unemployment rate considering. At the *very* least you would be able to land something at a McDonalds which while less than ideal, is still a job. This isn't to necessarily invalidate your economic struggles, but I have a hard time believing you applied to over 9000 jobs (including some jobs you seem overqualified for or that tend to be shoe-ins assuming you're a normal person) in a bunch of very different fields with a college degree and basically landed nothing. Maybe other adult posters on here can give some insight.

If you are spreading a false or inflated sense of doomerism though, that's kinda messed up, especially since I'm a younger person asking a genuine question.

I however am not denying you are a real person and your life experience and feelings towards the economy are real, I'm just saying to me something seems off here with the information you have shared with me.

I do wonder if this possibly shows something else though - a lot of doomerism amongst younger folks about economic prospects could be from real feelings, but in the process exaggerate the scope.
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« Reply #12 on: June 09, 2023, 11:26:34 PM »

Well, anyone who thinks I am exaggerating my situation is perfectly free to ignore me and to believe whatever they want. This is a thread about economic prospects and attitudes, and I have already here discussed mine, so there is not much reason for me to expand further.
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« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2023, 12:21:43 AM »

Well, anyone who thinks I am exaggerating my situation is perfectly free to ignore me and to believe whatever they want. This is a thread about economic prospects and attitudes, and I have already here discussed mine, so there is not much reason for me to expand further.

I feel bad because thereís a chance youíre being entirely genuine. Thatís what sucks about being behind the screen. This feels like SchrŲdingerís cat.

However if youíve truly applied to 9000 jobs with minimal success, perhaps the issue is youíre doing quantity over quality. If youíre spamming applications left and right with the same general personal statements and what not, and not taylor to the employer, they may automatically reject you even if youíre qualified. Furthermore, things like referrals can be a huge help, especially for jobs that receive tons of applications. There are service jobs like working the Counter or being a waiter that usually arenít very competitive, and also City-Government jobs tend to be less-competitive (generally from what Iíve heard). I believe in your ability to get a basic level job, even if itís not as high paying as youíd like. Generally, it seems like once you get any sort of experience under your belt the amount of jobs you have to apply to next time becomes exponentially smaller.
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Skill and Chance
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« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2023, 11:10:38 AM »

Zoomers absolutely not, Millennials somewhat yes, largely because it took ~10 years for the labor market to fully recover from the 2008 crash and they weren't old enough to own a meaningful amount of stock to participate in the much faster recovery of the stock market.  Even highly educated people had to get in line to compete for whatever the employer was willing to offer.

However, in the past 5 years, we seem to have transitioned to structurally low unemployment that in many sectors shows no sign of abating for as long as the Boomer retirees are still with us.  Working conditions have dramatically improved for many employees (WFH, flexible scheduling, etc.).  Government and many private institutions also went out of their way to help people who fell on hard times during COVID to an extent we just didn't see in prior economic crises.  The reason I said only somewhat yes, is that people in the 30's and 40's can still make the most of the current situation and potentially make up for a lot of lost time.
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« Reply #15 on: June 12, 2023, 01:10:38 PM »

Honestly to an extent : yes. I've had the same thoughts as you do. I am lucky because I don't have any student debt but the other points still hurt. Housing (like owning a house not renting) especially. I've been told many times "yeah you probably will never own your own house". The internet creates a "negativity echo chamber" in my opinion.

Glorified view of boomer life is very true. A lot of the hate towards boomers strikes to me as simple jealousy. They had it better. I'd say the glorification is more so on the right than the left (nuclear family yada yada etc).

LMAO no, that wealth is gonna go to healthcare when they inevitably get cancer or need constant care and are milked for every nickel and dime they got. Not gonna address marriage or dating. I am fortunate to have my dad who's tried really hard to make my mother tone down the helicopter parent stuff but it can be stifling.

QoL has actually gone down in recent years. A bunch of it is, the rest is just pity porn and self loathing.

I also blame the media to some extent for fueling the economic doomerism narrative of millenials (and now zoomers). There was a recent thread here about how Millenials aren't actually that behind Boomers in terms of home ownership these days, and the student loan debt crisis isn't actually as bad as many would make you think. I feel like adding in some optimism would be good because this sort of pessimism can genuinely have an impact on people's mental health and make them feel like they're screwed even if they're not, so it creates hopelessness which may lead to thigns like less risk taking.

Parenting and how we raise children is something that will need greater cultural change. This is anecdotal but from my experience you have this imbalance where young people have disproportionate political and social awareness from a young age compared to past generations, but I think less real world experiences (i.e. first jobs, romantic relationships, general social skills, ect), and are also less aware of themselves. This is hard to measure though because I wasn't alive when boomers were at this age, but looking at data and ancedotes, this is the sense I get. At my high school, the average person probably has the educational smarts well above the average boomer when they were our age, but might only be comparable to a 14 or 15 years old Boomer in real world experiences that develop independence and character. I think this contributes to the rising levels of mental health issues and the general sense of unpreparedness we have about the larger world

As a Millennial that is old enough to have a kid in this age group. That's exactly my opinion of them even compared to my generation. The funny this is my kid thought she was autistic, she even went to the guidance counselor herself, but ended up being diagnosed with ADHD-I after a battery of tests and she fits this stereotype very well. At either rate, its the sign of the times.  
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ProgressiveModerate
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« Reply #16 on: June 12, 2023, 08:36:26 PM »

Honestly to an extent : yes. I've had the same thoughts as you do. I am lucky because I don't have any student debt but the other points still hurt. Housing (like owning a house not renting) especially. I've been told many times "yeah you probably will never own your own house". The internet creates a "negativity echo chamber" in my opinion.

Glorified view of boomer life is very true. A lot of the hate towards boomers strikes to me as simple jealousy. They had it better. I'd say the glorification is more so on the right than the left (nuclear family yada yada etc).

LMAO no, that wealth is gonna go to healthcare when they inevitably get cancer or need constant care and are milked for every nickel and dime they got. Not gonna address marriage or dating. I am fortunate to have my dad who's tried really hard to make my mother tone down the helicopter parent stuff but it can be stifling.

QoL has actually gone down in recent years. A bunch of it is, the rest is just pity porn and self loathing.

I also blame the media to some extent for fueling the economic doomerism narrative of millenials (and now zoomers). There was a recent thread here about how Millenials aren't actually that behind Boomers in terms of home ownership these days, and the student loan debt crisis isn't actually as bad as many would make you think. I feel like adding in some optimism would be good because this sort of pessimism can genuinely have an impact on people's mental health and make them feel like they're screwed even if they're not, so it creates hopelessness which may lead to thigns like less risk taking.

Parenting and how we raise children is something that will need greater cultural change. This is anecdotal but from my experience you have this imbalance where young people have disproportionate political and social awareness from a young age compared to past generations, but I think less real world experiences (i.e. first jobs, romantic relationships, general social skills, ect), and are also less aware of themselves. This is hard to measure though because I wasn't alive when boomers were at this age, but looking at data and ancedotes, this is the sense I get. At my high school, the average person probably has the educational smarts well above the average boomer when they were our age, but might only be comparable to a 14 or 15 years old Boomer in real world experiences that develop independence and character. I think this contributes to the rising levels of mental health issues and the general sense of unpreparedness we have about the larger world

As a Millennial that is old enough to have a kid in this age group. That's exactly my opinion of them even compared to my generation. The funny this is my kid thought she was autistic, she even went to the guidance counselor herself, but ended up being diagnosed with ADHD-I after a battery of tests and she fits this stereotype very well. At either rate, its the sign of the times.  

Interesting, I'm also on the spectrum myself (and have ADHD as well as a co-morbidity). People with autism tend to hit social benchmarks later than their peers, even if they're equally or even superior in certain academic and emotional intelligences. This phenomenon is exasperated for folks like me in a way I don't think is great.

Oftentimes, I feel like the way I evaluate certain situations is more akin to that of adult, I take many college level courses at High School currently, and like to think I have a decent political awareness. Yet, I've never been on a sports team or on been on a date, and generally been slower to develop a sense of identity, and while I can still have those experiences when I get older, I'll never get to have them as a "naive child/teenager". Being able to experiment with those types of social situations in high school can be important imo so you can screw up and also have experience for later in life, and you have a better sense of who you are when you enter the larger world (be it right after HS or after college). I fear for myself lacking these experiences now will put me at somewhat of a permanent social disadvantage that will be hard to make up, and I'll have to learn these things when I'm an adult and there's much less margin for error.

So in many ways while I criticize this stereotype of kids growing up slower socially, I literally am the example myself lol.
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Climate change is a force for good
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« Reply #17 on: August 22, 2023, 02:00:45 PM »

The only reason I have any amount of hope is that the Democratic party is still functional. Because of where I started I had to accept in childhood that there was a very good chance I was going to die without ever making it into the middle class. What I did not expect is that I wouldn't even be able to make it into the working class. I am not optimistic regarding this and the only thing that will change my mind is finally being offered a full-time non-temporary job. I have applied to around 9,000 positions, including internships and temporary work, and have been hired for about four of them, all unpaid or temporary.

I am, however, optimistic regarding the student loan issue in particular, though this could be because I have little debt from college myself.

9000!?!? Sheesh.

I remember I was trying to apply to a summer internship thing at the math musuem here in NYC. However, I soon realized all it was was basically making high schoolers perform "normal" jobs to maintain the museum for free with minimal stuff in exchange. They basically high schoolers to work 6 days a week 9-5 unpaid which really seems messed up.

Unless your a student trying to build your resume/gain experience, is there any reason to apply for unpaid positions? That seems really messed up.

I think one downside to our generations is that applications to jobs are increasingly becoming more competative and demanding more prior work experience and stuff on employees part. It used to be college guarenteed you a good position, but now it's often just a baseline.

However, once you get going it seems you can make decent or even good money depending upon your degree.
Building connections.
Obviously itís better to be paid but even gaining connections in certain field is worth it if you are in a position that is a financially plausible path (Aka if your parents are rich)
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« Reply #18 on: November 18, 2023, 06:16:07 PM »

I was thinking about this a bit more and I think another huge reason why Millenials and Zoomers tend to be more economically pessimistic is because to them who becomes wealthy feels more arbitrary.

For Boomers, the wealthiest people they knew were likely mutual friends who they were friendly with and/or higher level folks in their industry they might have had respect for or aspired to be like. This likely gave them both a realistic picture of what it's actually like to be wealthy and a belief that it was attainment if they could get to those positions someday.

Today however, due to rise in remote work, companies becoming larger, and fundamental changes in how a lot of these things operate, Millenials and Zoomers may rarely meet people that far above them economically on the economic ladder.

Then on social media, almost all the wealthy people are a dumb Miami party bro who does Crypto and Drop-shipping. If you're someone who is working hard in a 9-5 or actively attending college, that could become demoralizing, especially because it feels like working hard doesn't mean anything.

The reality is most upper-middle-class/wealthy people (like top 10%) live relatively comfortable yet normal lives, even moreso than their Boomer parents. The vast majority went to college and worked jobs like Doctor, Lawyer, or Technology. They also don't feel the need to actively flex on social media. However in the minds of many younger folks, this image of comfort just doesn't exist and is instead drowned out by the extremes. If you presented this top 10% life style as a more realistic goal for younger people, particularly those pursuing college to strive for, I think it would help reduce the pessimism.

Ig another way to think about it is how almost any normal person in an impoverished country like Dominican Republican of the Congo would think any of us live like kings, and that's because their perception of reality is just so heavily skewed. Millenials and Zoomers just have a skewed sense of reality compared to Boomers, and believe they're living worse quality lives when in many cases they're not.
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Sprouts Farmers Market ✘
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« Reply #19 on: November 21, 2023, 12:09:08 PM »

I think there could be increased arbitrariness with unregulated markets and ease of accessing them, but it has always been present in some form. Black and grey market activities were always there for the taking if you were slick enough.

'Hard work' in the classroom is ultimately pretty meaningless. Yet I think people were led to believe if they put in the hard work there, they can coast through life on an 'easy' job; unfortunately, the jobs that result from that still require a lifetime of hard work: they just save you from back-breaking work. The reward for hard work is still harder work (but less difficult than it would be otherwise). And the reward for saving responsibly is maybe you can retire at 62 with a duplex 40 minutes from downtown.

Boomers invented partying in Miami. That's not a new thing. The new thing is that the doctors and lawyers are active participants.

Perception is skewed but by childhood expectations more than social media tbqh. But it is also reality as I repeatedly spew all over the forum.
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« Reply #20 on: November 21, 2023, 07:40:54 PM »

Huh, kind of on that topic:

New college graduates are overestimating their starting salaries by $30,000, report finds

I think I mis-estimated by 8k eight years back. But I'm not surprised it's gotten worse when costs are now much worse.
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« Reply #21 on: November 21, 2023, 09:15:43 PM »

I think there could be increased arbitrariness with unregulated markets and ease of accessing them, but it has always been present in some form. Black and grey market activities were always there for the taking if you were slick enough.

'Hard work' in the classroom is ultimately pretty meaningless. Yet I think people were led to believe if they put in the hard work there, they can coast through life on an 'easy' job; unfortunately, the jobs that result from that still require a lifetime of hard work: they just save you from back-breaking work. The reward for hard work is still harder work (but less difficult than it would be otherwise). And the reward for saving responsibly is maybe you can retire at 62 with a duplex 40 minutes from downtown.

Boomers invented partying in Miami. That's not a new thing. The new thing is that the doctors and lawyers are active participants.

Perception is skewed but by childhood expectations more than social media tbough. But it is also reality as I repeatedly spew all over the forum.

Agree and disagree.

I agree that these generations have been raised to believe working hard and persuing college in a ticket to the middle class or financial freedom when that's not always the case. With that being said, there still are certain degrees that can give you a really good shot at success if you work hard and are good at said degree (particularly in finance, technology, and things adjacent). The issue is that a ton if not most college degrees people persue don't lend themselves to very lucrative careers and that's something an 18-year-old may not be able to grasp upfront. Furthermore, most of the college degrees that tend to lend themselves to greater financial success are not in things people traditionally enjoy, but persue mostly for money. The biggest winners are probably people who genuinely enjoy things within STEM and/or Finance and are good at them because for most of these jobs if you genuinely enjoy them, they really aren't "hard work" in a relative sense.

The media narrative is often the 1% are doing better than ever at the expense of everyone else but in reality a lot of data seems to suggest it's the top 25%-15% doing better than ever at the expense of everyone else, and the top 25%-15% is far more realistically attainable for a pretty large subset of the population if they go down certain career paths.
 
Also as for wealth being arbitrary because of unregulated markets I think the amount of people becoming financially free because of some lucky investment in Crypto is still negligible. By far, the biggest arbitrary factor in wealth is just the circumstances your born into including your family's wealth, school you attend, your health, ect.
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« Reply #22 on: November 21, 2023, 09:20:12 PM »

Huh, kind of on that topic:

New college graduates are overestimating their starting salaries by $30,000, report finds

I think I mis-estimated by 8k eight years back. But I'm not surprised it's gotten worse when costs are now much worse.

Tbf though, those are just starting salaries. In general, I don't think many college age people have a good grasp of the extent to which one's salary rises with age/experience at least in many industries. Starting at a 40-50k/year salary in something STEM related may seem underwhelming, but it's very realistic one could have a 200k/year salary within 20 years.
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Sprouts Farmers Market ✘
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« Reply #23 on: November 21, 2023, 09:33:31 PM »

Huh, kind of on that topic:

New college graduates are overestimating their starting salaries by $30,000, report finds

I think I mis-estimated by 8k eight years back. But I'm not surprised it's gotten worse when costs are now much worse.

Tbf though, those are just starting salaries. In general, I don't think many college age people have a good grasp of the extent to which one's salary rises with age/experience at least in many industries. Starting at a 40-50k/year salary in something STEM related may seem underwhelming, but it's very realistic one could have a 200k/year salary within 20 years.

The article says that is expected within 10 years (which is feasible - degree dependent) but far from typical. Less than half is the norm.

I think there could be increased arbitrariness with unregulated markets and ease of accessing them, but it has always been present in some form. Black and grey market activities were always there for the taking if you were slick enough.

'Hard work' in the classroom is ultimately pretty meaningless. Yet I think people were led to believe if they put in the hard work there, they can coast through life on an 'easy' job; unfortunately, the jobs that result from that still require a lifetime of hard work: they just save you from back-breaking work. The reward for hard work is still harder work (but less difficult than it would be otherwise). And the reward for saving responsibly is maybe you can retire at 62 with a duplex 40 minutes from downtown.

Boomers invented partying in Miami. That's not a new thing. The new thing is that the doctors and lawyers are active participants.

Perception is skewed but by childhood expectations more than social media tbough. But it is also reality as I repeatedly spew all over the forum.

Agree and disagree.

I agree that these generations have been raised to believe working hard and persuing college in a ticket to the middle class or financial freedom when that's not always the case. With that being said, there still are certain degrees that can give you a really good shot at success if you work hard and are good at said degree (particularly in finance, technology, and things adjacent). The issue is that a ton if not most college degrees people persue don't lend themselves to very lucrative careers and that's something an 18-year-old may not be able to grasp upfront. Furthermore, most of the college degrees that tend to lend themselves to greater financial success are not in things people traditionally enjoy, but persue mostly for money. The biggest winners are probably people who genuinely enjoy things within STEM and/or Finance and are good at them because for most of these jobs if you genuinely enjoy them, they really aren't "hard work" in a relative sense.

The media narrative is often the 1% are doing better than ever at the expense of everyone else but in reality a lot of data seems to suggest it's the top 25%-15% doing better than ever at the expense of everyone else, and the top 25%-15% is far more realistically attainable for a pretty large subset of the population if they go down certain career paths.

Agree with the bolded with the caveat that we pursue them for money and then the money is still not enough to afford to live well and save prudently. So instead, we just spend it all on escapism since a happy day-to-day reality is not possible.

Also agree that it should be extended to the top 15-25 percent, except that you need to be using wealth as your metric rather than income. I just posted extensively in USGD about this and won't carry it over here. The majority of Under 35s with means acquired it through inheritance rather than hard work. Generational wealth is the only thing that matters. Surplus savings as a doctor, net of education expense, over a trade is pretty negligible if you didn't have wealth to back you or inherit land.
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ProgressiveModerate
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« Reply #24 on: November 21, 2023, 10:41:42 PM »


Agree with the bolded with the caveat that we pursue them for money and then the money is still not enough to afford to live well and save prudently. So instead, we just spend it all on escapism since a happy day-to-day reality is not possible.

Also agree that it should be extended to the top 15-25 percent, except that you need to be using wealth as your metric rather than income. I just posted extensively in USGD about this and won't carry it over here. The majority of Under 35s with means acquired it through inheritance rather than hard work. Generational wealth is the only thing that matters. Surplus savings as a doctor, net of education expense, over a trade is pretty negligible if you didn't have wealth to back you or inherit land.

That's a really interesting point about spending money on "escapism" and so not being able to save.

Anecdotally, I would say I'm one of the lucky ones who genuinely enjoys a lot of learning at college and compared to most of my peers spends very little on things like eating out, travel, clothes, ect. However, could one argue it's the reverse where these people are sort of normalizing a reward structure in their life that is just unsustainable and takes away focus from their schoolwork? I still enjoy things like going out to a party or a nice meal as much as the next person, but because it's not a normalized part of my routine I don't feel like I'm missing anything when I don't.

I feel like this is a really interesting question that's sort of impossible to answer; it's really hard to quantify how much someone enjoys their education/work? To what extent are things like enjoyment, work-ethic, and mindset biological factors that are just luck?

The generational wealth thing is def a huge determinant though and I think the reason it's not talked about more is because generational wealth/inheritance can only make you more well off, not less. The issue is when you have a higher share of people building large amounts of wealth purely from inheritance, it makes the ability of other folks to move up the economic ladder much harder. However, politically it would be very very hard to make any sorts of reforms like greater inheritance tax because of how many people would see it as an attack on their family/legacy, even if they're not particuarly wealthy.
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