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What’s Holding Generation Y Back?

March 6, 2011

If you are a 20-something chances are you have heard your parents say on more than one occasion, “be an adult already!”. Well it may not be entirely their fault that it takes the Gen Yers longer to reach traditional adulthood. According to an article I read in US News, the slow path towards graduating college, settling into a career and getting married is actually a better bath. The argument is based on a new book called Not Quite Adults by Richard Settersten and Barbara Ray. In the book, the authors complied key components based off reasearch from the MacArthur Research Network on Transitions to Adulthood and Public Policy. Here’s some of their key findings:

  • Gen Yers have done battle with the economy. With an economy in crisis the job market hasn’t been the most welcoming place. Many young adults feel stuck, unable to transition from graduate to employee. Everything from gas prices to groceries seems to be pricier and with the increased cost of living, being independent isn’t always feasible.
  • Gen Yers are more afraid of debt. Many young people see price tags and instantly think, I can’t handle that. The courage for risk taking investments doesn’t seem to be there as much as it was for the Baby Boomers. Perhaps seeing the effects of the 2008 economic downfall has created a generation pulling tighter strings on their spending. When asked why those in their early twenties move back home after college, the number one answer is to save money.
  • Gen Yers are have stronger parental bonds. Parents have had a more involved role in their children’s life, making moving back home seem easier. That extra closeness makes it almost seem appealing. This is also known as the “helicopter parent” (you know the ones who hover over you like a helicopter).
  • Job hunting is being replaced with job hopping. It seems that with an unstable economy comes a great deal of uncertainty. Many Gen Yers are holding down a wide array of jobs in various fields not with the intention of building a career but with the intention of building a savings. Rather than focus on one goal, they are more prone to think of the instant gratifications of a paycheck.

So what can a parent do if they find their 20-something stuck in this same predicament? Treat your child like the adult you want them to be. It doesn’t matter if they are sleeping in their childhood bed, they can still help with household chores and in some cases, the bills. Give them responsiblity and guidance. Above all, remember that being that security net for a little while could be the extra help they need to land on their feet.

At GAI ( we would love to hear your thoughts. We can help by setting up spending plans and guaranteeing you will get the most out of your refund this tax season. So stop by our office, we are open Monday-Friday 8am-8pm and Saturdays 8am-5pm or give us a call at 212-979-6830.

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