Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Are We Too Rich? (Take 2)

     My second attempt at this topic. As you may have noticed, My train of thought got derailed in my first post and I never strung two coherent sentences together. First of all, I'm not some tree-hugging, commie-loving, America-hating hippie. (did I get all of your buzzwords right?) I don't believe having money is wrong and I don't believe I want to live on the street after redistributing my wealth. I do believe in social supports, but that's another topic.
     This topic is about the affects of too much money on us and especially on our kids. There's been a lot of talk about the new Time article on slackers titled, "Grow Up? Not So Fast", especially within the blogosphere. It seems large numbers of disaffected youth blogging say, "Hey, that's me!"
     Here's my take on the article in a nutshell. It basically highlights a group of twenty-something losers with no career, no house, no family of their own, and no goals. It then calls them "twixters" and goes on to say that perhaps this is a wonderful new stage in life for them to discover themselves between childhood and adulthood. The article says that this is not just a phase America is going through - this could be a permanent shift in American lifestyle for generations to come. Maybe permanently.
     I am absolutely disgusted with this idea. The article points out that this affliction impacts across all sociological lines, but really mostly the kids of affluent parents. Here's what this tells me: the parents are too rich. The parents have too much money for their own good and are probably not fit to be parents in the first place. In the old days, had they had old union jobs in the factory, their kids would be pushed out the door at 18 from necessity. Now that the parents have moolah to spare, they felt no need to teach them any useable life skills.
     Delightful, say the fraudulent psychologists who can't find honest work. This period in their lives will enable them to be better adults who have "found themselves". But for all the articles I've read on loser twenty-somethings, I have yet to hear one success story. I have yet to read one article on a 30-something or 40-something who overcame his or her inability to handle life and became a happy success. The only success stories out there are those of people whose parents are so wealthy and powerful they can support their kids to their grave. (E.g. Paris Hilton, Donald Trump, Dubya) (and by support, I mean wink-wink connections, deals, etc, like getting out of failed S&L's and baseball teams).
     I know my fair share of these losers. Some have jobs, but most live at least partially off their parents. There are common themes: No ability to budget; no desire to own a house; still rebelling years after they are "independent". How many people do you know who bought overpriced condos because they "didn't want the responsibilty of a lawn"? How many of those people now can't sell those condos and are paying out the nose for realtor and association fees? Maybe you know someone who says very proudly, "I don't use any credit cards anymore" and then reveals it's because when they have one they act like a 2-year old with no self control. Maybe you know the person going back to grad school full time at 29 years old because they don't like what they're currently doing?
     I got my MBA part-time from Georgia State. Now, admittedly, GSU is not a top tier school. But it's cheap and the hours are flexible enough that I can work full-time so I can get an MBA without losing my income stream. I can't tell you how mny people I met who quit jobs (or never had one) to do a GSU MBA full-time. Keep in mind that full-time means 3-4 classes a week. I took 2 part-time classes after work. These people have never learned how to be responsible for themselves and it's not likely they ever will. An article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution a few weeks back interviewed a UGA grad saying, "They never taught me how to do stuff like balance a checkbook or pay rent or anything" as if it's the college's fault.
     Parents: You are ruining your child for life because you felt you had too much money to deny them anything. In reality, you've denied them the ability to grow up. They are stuck at the me-me-me stage of 13-year old. Ours will be the lost generation, as we watch the next generation coming up now take our jobs, our political offices, and our futures. This has happened before - to the kids growing up in the boom times of the 1920's, to the kids growing up in the boom times of the 1840's. Remember what happened when the next generation took power? (Civil War, WW2) These middle- and high-schoolers you see today are probably the next century's "Greatest Generation", thrust into history because of whatever world cataclysm our rich parents neglected us into.

1 comment:

Ben said...

I'm looking forward to starting my MBA at Georgia State... part-time. It's the #7 part-time MBA program in the country. And I'm going to keep working.

My Dad taught me how to budget, to be good with money, not to run up debt, all that jazz. I just ignored him and did it anyway. At least I learn from my lessons.