It can really be hard being a Millennial (born 1982 – 2004). For the most part, their parents are Baby Boomers who have worked hard to make sure their children have everything they need (and then some) — often without having to work for it.
For those of us of an older age, we remember having to save our allowance for months so that we could purchase a coveted toy – not so for the Millennial. Some have suggested that the parents of Baby Boomers were familiar with the Great Depression, World War II or even the Korean War. They wanted to protect their own children from the effects of those experiences and, in the process, over-compensated.
Fast forward to adulthood for the Millenials…
In many cases, Millennials don’t have a history of having to sacrifice and save to have what they want; it was just handed to them. Beautiful home, clean clothes, latest technology, and satisfying food were in an abundance before they left home.
Once on their own, the only way to continue to live a life they’ve grown used to is the heavy use of credit cards. Oh, the seduction of “have it now – pay for it later.” The only exposure Baby Boomers had of that lifestyle was Wimpy in the Popeye cartoon who was famous for saying “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.”
It is this reckless and perhaps even irresponsible credit card use by Millennials that cause financial trouble early in their adult life. Add student debt into the mix and the prospect of ever buying their own home seems impossible.
What is this generation to do?
First – stop spending.
It is a hard message to hear, but when you work in the world of bankruptcy and see the situations we have seen – it is the most important first step to financial recovery. You have to stop and evaluate your purchases and ask this question:
“Is this purchase a need or a want?”
Needs are categorized as shelter, food, healthcare and wants are really everything else. In the article “Why Millennials are Facing the Scariest Financial Future of any Generation Since the Great Depression” by Michael Hobbes, he says this:
· 1 in 5 live in poverty
· They have 300% more student debt than their parents
· They are only ½ as likely to be able to buy a home as a young adult as compared to 1975
· Most won’t be able to retire until they are 75
· Most still live with their parents
Is Filing Bankruptcy the Answer?
The clients we see vary in age and across generations; however, we do see a significant number of young adults asking if filing for bankruptcy is the answer for their financial situation. Understand first that student debt is not erased when you file, but there are options if you find yourself buried under a burden of insurmountable debt.
When we meet with our clients we examine their current work opportunities and for those that are not employed, there are some options available that can help postpone debt payments.
If you are currently in a situation where the debt is more than you can manage, if you are dodging creditors, struggling to make ends meet, and losing sleep over your ability to financially survive – give us a call.
Not only do we assess your current situation and provide the options available to you, we also work with our clients to help them create and follow a financial plan to help them in the future.
Give us a call. The first consultation is free. We are here to help. We have been giving legal advice to the southern Illinois community for over 35 years.