What if you released a bird from its cage to be free to fly? The bird then flies so high and far only for it to realize that it was just in a bigger cage.
Like most millennials I’m sure we have felt like this before; As a bird believing that sky's the limit. We believe and set goals to soar high. However real life sets in and there goes that bigger cage stopping us. We all have pictured our life going a certain way starting from our career,our relationships, and ending at our financial stability. In our minds, we had everything figured out and everything was attainable and achievable by belief. Why wouldn’t it be? We have been told all of our lives that we are outstanding, special, and that we can do whatever we put our minds to. However, When fantasy meets reality we realize our assumptions lead us to a way of living we never expected. I then wonder are millennials really prepared for real life?
“Millennials are probably the most educated generation. Because nineteen percent of millennials have a college degree compared to 35 percent of Generation X. Millennials were told they can, and so they did.”(Lauren Yingling) After all the late night studying, the hustle and bustle to keep up with time management, and the un-surmount of standardized testings and assignments, millennials are then able to hold their heads up high on graduation day. Yay! We are ready to tackle the world and take it by surprise. We are then ready to showcase our knowledge and diligence in our field of study. This is the tune we are singing until reality hits. All that optimism was only for us to be put in business professional clothes and pushed into a cubicle to work.
We as millennials then begin to feel undervalued or overlooked. Millennials want to be included at an influential level. We want to feel needed and that we are impacting change. Millennials want more than learning how to change the coffee machine. Hence, we are less likely than previous generations to put up with an unpleasant work environment. WE WANT MORE!
After college graduation, we may have assumed that a degree has put us in the position for a better paying job more than your starting high school job. As children all we have done is cry and press on the idea of finally being an adult. This is now our time to show our parents we can be responsible without their help. This is what most people would call “adulting.” What they don’t tell you is that by now you are in your mid twenties and you now need your own insurance, as well as the responsibility of rent, utilities, and maybe cable and internet. Furthermore, because we need a mode of transportation to get to this new career job we have to also account for our car payments, and car insurance along with gas and monthly maintenance.
If this has not yet alarmed you and you are simply living life afloat, you may want to also consider debt management and financial security. Not only do most millennials want to be purposeful at work and in branding themselves we also want stability. After leaving our great alma maters, most of us have accumulated debt. It is easier for us to press the defer button to never look at it again. After all,”we will pay it eventually.”
After all your bills are paid you then look at what is left from your paycheck, you wonder sometimes “should I save it?” or should you treat yourself to a meal out with friends that you believe you deserve from a long week of work. Saving now becomes impossible. We not only have to save but also have security for the future within certain retirement plans, (401k, Roth IRA etc.) along with managing our debt.
After getting slapped with trying to maintain savings, debt management, and understanding taxes, your bills becoming burdensome, with retirement looking grim, debt becoming impossible to pay off, and investments looking like a far dream you wondered if you were ever really prepared for all this? It almost seems easier for us young, dream-oriented, millennials to go into the world clueless of what it takes to live in it then deal with reality. Oh wait we do….
Credit card companies salivate at the mouth ready to pounce on the new college student or graduates in need of “building their credit.” Although you build your credit, you may also be building your debt. We are then scuffling around trying to make ends meet and living from paycheck to paycheck realizing our parents lied to us about doing great things. What I have realized is that there is a deficit of millennials that are well equipped to handle the burdens of being a prepared citizen in life. It's time for us to read up and give ourselves the necessary education that this world isn’t trying to give. Take financial literacy classes, Learn to budget, create goals for yourself, ask others who have been successful financially, how they did it. As much as we want to just start our own businesses, work at home, live adventurously and never have to be someone’s subordinate, we need to evaluate ourselves, educate ourselves, so we can then elevate ourselves.