For the youth of the X generation – born between 1962 and 1982 – there was an unwritten rule which stated “if I’m not married when I’m thirty, I’m leaving home”. The thirties seemed to be the maximum period of social tolerance, and, by then, one used to have fulfilled three requirements: education, work and family. For their successors, the millennials – born between 1983 and 1999 -, the thirties are also a period to leave home, but the minimum. There is no maximum. The number of over 30 years of age living with their parents is steadily increasing, being this trend explained by answering if the millennial world is economically feasible or not.
Education: Youth from the X generation got their guarantee of stability and independence, and their university degree, at their twenties. Nowadays, the hectic world forces one to think about the postgraduate, masters and doctorate education before having even finished school. An entirely futuristic projection that means the complex election of the most liked or useful professional specialization, and provided that one gets accepted into one of the endless number of colleges to which you have applied to.
Economically, the cost of education doubles o triples, as does the time it takes. Hence, the risk of being unable to get an education or doing it by means of loans arises; being the latter a constant shadow in the economic independence of the millennials.
Work: The X generation, after graduating got a job in which one could plan to develop professionally. One could think, given the educational investment abovementioned, the millennials would have a secure job, but it is not so. Getting a job is an obstacle course racing, with one of them being specially challenging: technology.
Consequently, on the one hand, jobs that require highly educated people and pay accordingly are scarce. On the other hand, technology takes over thousands of jobs daily and has created a working culture from home, or freelance. As good as they may seem risks come attached, such as lack of stability and a disregard for future savings. Moreover the youth unemployment levels currently double (case of Spain, USA) or triple (Sweden, Luxembourg) the national rates.
Family and independence: The X generation left their homes to start a family, which was possible, in most cases, due to a support from a working stability and savings. This was followed by a trend of independence but without starting a family. Today, fleeing the nest seems a bad idea, if not a nightmare.
The millennial culture is hedonistic and selfish, partially due to the hypnosis of targeted internet advertising, offering users everything that may attract him and the chaining to social networks, which push us to be alert of others’ lives and share ones’ own. This had led to a frantic increase in consumption that on top of decreasing savings, in some cases leads to indebtedness. Getting housing means expenses, taxes and mortgages, which grow by the day. Adding family and kids to this equation makes it absolutely inviable.
This trend is only going up, and the worrying aspect it that it is not happening in weak economies, but in the richest countries in the world. Henceforth, even if the system is not the only guilty party, countries must adapt it to the new social circumstances. They must rethink how this instant society, that has carpe diem tattooed in their forehead, can plan for the future. How to make endless education profitable and make space for saving, thus allowing millennials to become independent, establish a home and fully develop.
They must be helped to wager for the future, showing them it is not just a utopia. Do not forget this generation takes more risks than their predecessors. The key is for them to so do away from mum and dad’s home. Until then, millions will be like wise owls on their nests, with their wings tied, waiting for the answer to: How do we become independent if being a millennial is economically unfeasible?