The NEW American Dream: Three Meals A Day, Cable, And Laundry Service…Mom’s Basement Isn’t So Bad after All!

Dante Vitoria's Dante's Inferno

By Dante Vitoria July 18, 2017

“Work hard, get a job, save money, get ahead, plan for your future…”
Yes, we ALL heard those and many more of those “tidbits” from our parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents…neighborhood “sages”. And WE (us over 35 years old) listened and more importantly, followed the advice we were given.

However, Millennials (The demographic following Generation X. Birth years starting in the 1980’s and ending in the early 2000’s. Children of “Baby Boomers”. Usually well versed in electronic communications, especially social media. Very Liberal in their thoughts and political views.) Get the idea I am NOT overly impressed with this description? Authors William Strauss and Neil Howe “coined” the phrase Millennial. One of their theories is as follows: The Great Recession has had a major impact on this generation because it has caused historically high levels of unemployment among young people, and has led to speculation about possible long-term economic and social damage to them.

Some interesting theories, but as you know I prefer that dirty little 4 letter word, beginning with “F”… FACT! Here some for you that may open an eye or two:
55% of Millennial’s are having kids PRIOR (if at all) to getting married. Ok, why is that a big deal? Well, I feel it is DESTROYING our social values and in my “not so humble” opinion, driving it down the road to “ruination”. Without a basic level of morals and morae, we have no society at all. Single parent homes for the most part create children who do not have proper parental supervision. This creates the need for MORE after school programs and more “public” assistance programs…and YES, more TAX DOLLARS for you and me!

86% of young people who married PRIOR to having children are in the middle or top third earners in the U.S. This, compared to just 53% who have had children PRIOR to marriage. That leaves 47% of millennials in the LOW INCOME percentile in the United States. And WHO needs Public Assistance? Those in the LOW INCOME percentile, no surprise there!

Ron Haskins and Isabel Sawhill of The Brookings Institute published “Success Sequence” in 2009. It stated: The path to economic success and away from poverty is to do things in order:
A-Obtain at least a High School diploma
B-Get a full-time job
D-Have children
Seems simple, but in today’s society, NOT the norm. The study went on to report:
Only 3% of Millennials who followed the above sequence are in poverty, as opposed to 53% who did not.

Another startling effect of Millennials and their POOR choices is the staggering negative impact on the U.S. Housing market. Simply stated, they can’t afford to purchase their own home. As older Americans retire, become “empty nesters” and look to sell their homes (which are now FULLY paid for) there are fewer and fewer “buyers”. The “retirees” are receiving less value and are now living on less income for their “Golden Years”. Seems fair to me…One more time the people who fought wars, and built our society are getting “SCREWED”!

Millennials are now creating a new “class” …the permanent renter OR even worse, they are moving back to the homes where they were raised, with their parents! Don’t believe that? Today, 45% of Americans in their 20’s live with their parents, up from 33% in 2007. That FACT is courtesy of the New York Branch of Federal Reserve.

And it is heading downhill. Students in the graduating class of 2016 now AVERAGE $37,000 in student loan debt. Their average starting salary is $52,500.00, PRE-TAX! Exactly, the numbers do not work!

Home ownership of Millennials has declined from 32% in 2007 to 21% in 2016. Yet another alarming and potentially devastating blow to our economy! No worries though, the 11% don’t have to waste time mowing their lawn, so there is more time to take a coffee run to Starbucks, and finish that game on Xbox just in time to “binge watch” Breaking Bad…KEWEL!

And there is one more “blow” that the U.S. must endure. Millennials don’t “Live to Ride”, like their fathers and grandfathers did! Alliance Bernstein has downgraded Harley Davidson (HOG) to “Market Performance” down from “Outperform”. Simply said: The increased conviction that motorcycle demand in the U.S. is in the throes of secular erosion, this combined with weakened conviction in the materialization of near term catalysts. OR, the Millennials may think Harley’s are cool, but they can’t afford to buy or even finance one!

To my “Millennial-Inferno Dwellers”. If you WANT to improve your chances of having financial and economic success; get your degree, land a job (or actually establish yourself in a career), find a spouse and THEN have a baby. You will be better off, and that is one of those dirty letter 4 letter words: FACT!

Dante Vitoria is the Founder and CEO of The Vitoria Group in New York City.

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