(Background image via uhhospitals.org)
What is "adulting"?
(Adulting definition via Urban Dictionary)
What is Adulting 101? (listen to the first episode below)
Adulting 101 is a program that endeavors to explore and demystify the obscure reality of being an “adult." We want to give young adults, a people in general, the tools necessary to achieve financial independence.
Older generations may be reading this and wonder – what is so obscure about being an adult? You establish yourself in a career, buy house, pay taxes, raise family, retire... what is so difficult about that? However, as many articles and research studies have shown, millennials seem to be steering away from all of these, previously universal, markers of success and maturity. Before we explore why this might be, let’s talk about the term “millennial”.
What is a millennial?
Generally speaking, you are a millennial if you were born between 1982 and 2004. While the exact years vary from article to article, I argue that the word “millennial” indicates a certain mindset. A way of viewing the world that is in response to the exponential rise in technology and sudden economic decline of 2008.
For many of the older generations, this term is synonymous with the entitled/useless/whiny/technology dependent youth. For those of us who fall within the scope of this infamous buzzword, being a millennial means we are amongst those who deem the old traditions irrelevant and inapplicable to our current reality.
Owning a house, aka going into hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, is mildly terrifying because we are already drowning in a dark sea of student loan debt. Locking in forever-career is laughable when we are struggling to get an entry level position even with a master’s degree under our belt. Saving for retirement is out of the question when we have four “side-hustles” that offer little to no benefits but, at least they pay our rent.
The Millenial Paradox
Let’s be clear – no, Gen X, I’m not whining or complaining. I am describing our current reality that is utterly distinct from what previous generations experienced. Although many things change from generation to generation, I argue that the millennial situation is unique from those that came before for two reasons: first, our generation is witnessing massive technological advancements that continuously redefine the reality we live in at an unprecedented rate and second, we came of age at a ripe time in American history – we were the only generation to be raised on the American dream but come of age in the midst of worst economic recession since the 1930s.
Within our lifetime, the architecture of our reality has been completely demolished and reconstructed into something new – a powerful, technologically driven beast that is entirely unprecedented. Our generation remembers our first household computer and the excitement of waiting 15 minutes for the computer to power up and the excitement of hearing the infamous tune of dial-up internet. Now, in 2016, we have infinitely more powerful computers in our pockets, on our wrists, in our eye-glasses?
With all of these technological advancements, the old methods for applying for a job, buying a home, saving money, etc. are no longer relevant because the game has been flipped on its head. We need new strategies to deal with the rapidly evolving scope of adulthood because quite simply, our parent’s methods won’t work.
Not only does our technological situation render our parent’s methods irrelevant but our economic situation is forcing us to pave a new road to adulthood that cannot possibly resemble our parent’s. Derek Thompson speaks to issue in his article for The Atlantic: “When adults wonder what’s the matter with the Millennial generation that has increasingly chose to live with their parents and put off marriage and homeownership, the first thing to say is that they’re using the word “chosen” wrong. Nobody chose this. The economy chose from them.”
We are the most educated generation but these days, a high level of education only guarantees a high level of debt. Thompson explains that "the new economic reality is changing the way we think about adulthood". For a more in depth exploration of how the recession has impacted adulthood, read his article here.
As we move forward, it is important to remember this distinction – adulthood in 2016 isn’t different because millennials are choosing to live it differently but rather, the reality of adulthood has been reshaped as a result of the recession and technological advancements and we are trying to learn how to respond to these changes.
Why Adulting 101?
A big part of why we aren’t doing the big, life-check point things is because we don’t even know where to start. Due to the dramatic transformation in the current reality, we’ve learned that adulting is essentially googling how to do things.
After scouring a myriad of blogs and discussion forums, we might find a modicum of helpful information which may or may not be true. Well this is where Adulting 101 comes in.
We want to eliminate these useless searches and put relatable experts in touch with young, twenty-somethings in need of their guidance. We want to give millennials the tools necessary to aid them on their journey towards financial independence without all the pomp and circumstance of actually going into a bank or talking to a financial advisor.
So much of the necessary information we need to succeed is shrouded in mystery. Adulting 101 promises to provide critical information untainted by ulterior motives to help you overcome your fear of Adulting.
Please email us if you would like to see any topics covered in the upcoming shows.
Episode I: Exploring the Millennial Situation
We brought on a panel of millennials – a single father, an entrepreneur, a graduate student and... plot twist! a home owner – to discuss the trials and tribulations of being an adult in 2016.
Author: Kayla Rodriguez