Living off Some Pocket Change

Millennials are facing more financial struggles than previous generations

Millennials have consistently been bashed and mocked for not being able to have their own home or be financially stable to even afford one.

Aside from constantly being compared to Generation X, which in many cases happen to be their own parents, millennials are faced with the constant pressure of having everything done by a certain age.

What everyone fails to realize is that, as cliché as it sounds, times were much more different back when Generation X was coming up than they are now with millennials. For instance, things were much more affordable and minimum wage at the time was enough to cover most living expenses.

Teenagers were able to move out of their parent’s house by the age of 18, but today, it is nearly impossible for a college student to even think of moving out on their own, let alone buy their own car. It’s come to the point where you either choose between having your own means of transportation or having your own place; either way, you’re struggling.

Minimum wage has everyone living paycheck to paycheck. Oxfam America conducted a survey and concluded that 41.7 million workers earn $12 or less and 58.3 million American workers make just under $15 an hour. Now, to many, having a minimum wage of $15 doesn’t sound as bad, but looking at the bigger picture, these are still very low wages to live off from, yet alone raise a family.

If we take a trip down history, between 1965-1980 Generation X had earned an average income of $43,000 a year and in some cases even more. They earned more than their parents ever did, which allowed them to become financially independent at a very young age. You compare that to the millennial era whose average income came in at $18,000 and you wonder why many are still living at their parent’s house or struggling to get by.

Then, there’s also this constant debate of raising the minimum wage to a much more reasonable pay. What some fail to realize is that even though the minimum wage increases, prices of goods and services continue to increase, as well. It’s “purchasing power” that matters.

Millennials are faced with so many more hardships in this era then Generation X ever did in their time. Times have really made it hard for this generation to venture out on their own. Expecting to live a “decent” life with these wages is impossible. It’s almost as if millennials are playing a choosing game; choosing between what they really need or settling for something that will do just as good and can meet their budget.

Not to mention that millennials are also struggling with furthering their education because even tuition fees have increased significantly over the years, leaving students no choice but to end up with student loans. Everything comes at a price.

So before bashing the millennial era on their choices or questioning why they’re still living at home, let’s question the unfortunate circumstances they have to deal with on a daily basis. These are individuals who are living their lives paycheck-to-paycheck but are making their best to make ends meet. As Bernie Sanders once said, “… if somebody is going to work, that person has to receive at least a wage that they can can go out and live with dignity on. That’s an extremely important point.”

Catalina Juarez can be reached at [email protected]