The Millennial Struggle: House and Home

The Millennial Struggle: House and Home

If you participate in social media, you’ve likely seen the memes that put millennials under the microscope. Statements like they’re uncommitted or they spend too much time indoors have a way of downplaying the types of jobs and job market they’re being presented with. Then again, social media has a way of taking everything to one extreme or another.

In actuality, millennials do change jobs a lot. But it isn’t because they’re perpetual job hoppers without the ability to see anything through. Instead, they’re career-minded individuals with an eye for the future. When they’re moving jobs, they’re doing it for about 25% more money—every time. And what to do with this extra money? Well, Jason Hartman recommends investing in real estate.

By moving from job to job, millennials are developing a diverse skill set that will serve them well in the future. The reality of the job market has been that it is difficult to immediately get a high paying job out of college—so millennials are taking lower paying jobs for shorter periods of time. An education simply isn’t enough. Employers are seeking employees with demonstrated on the job skills, even if that job doesn’t require a college degree.

Wages have stagnated across the board, increasing only in health care. There are pay cuts everywhere and annual pay is about $10,000 less than what we saw ten years ago. It’s causing mimllennials to stick with jobs (when they’re able) and to switch when they’ve developed the skills (and when an opportunity opens up). Because of this, growth requires them to switch jobs if they hope to advance.

Baby boomers had pensions that encouraged them to stay with one particular company for a long (or even life) time. Now, we aren’t seeing that and millennials risk becoming more financially at risk than their parents were years ago. And there are ways to combat that (becoming financially literate, exploring investment opportunities, saving), but the risk is real.

Overall, millennials are more educated than generations before them but they’re more likely to live in poverty and be unemployed. Some attribute this to their need to find a job that corresponds with what they are passionate about—but it has more to do with the massive student loan debt they’ve been saddled with. So, we’re seeing millennials who, despite popular opinion, are focusing less on passions and more on the money they’re struggling to make.

As the job market begins to turn around and hiring is on the rise, millennials are also increasing a drop in unemployment numbers. There are, and not just among millennials, more people changing jobs, which is a positive sign for the job market. For millennials who wish to develop their skillset by moving jobs, there are a few things to keep in mind.

First, changing companies too frequently can inhibit growth because it doesn’t allow employees to develop connections and meaningful relationships with colleagues. If you leave before you have time to complete a large project, you may not have as good of a reference, making it more difficult for you to move up in your career. As a sort of compromise, you can always ask to push back your start date a month or so—it give you time to wrap up any projects you might be working on while allowing you to develop a new set of skills.

Before you assume that millennials are only moving from different jobs because they’re restless or in search of the perfect passion project, remember that many desire permanency—after all, they’ve got some massive debt to deal with.

The millennial struggle to find house and home

Or, more accurately, a place to live and a place to work. It’s hard to choose a city anyway, and it is even more difficult when you’re on the lookout for a job. The problem is that the best cities for jobs seem to be the most expensive to live in. Sure, there are a few that rate highly for both housing affordability and upward mobility in unemployment, but not everyone wants to live in Salt Lake City, Utah.

In Dayton, Ohio, you’ll be able to find a nice place to life. In San Francisco, you’ll be lucky to find any place to live. Guess which is easier to find employment in. Cities like San Jose offer a lot of opportunities for millennials and in a shorter amount of time—there’s a much better chance you’ll advance your career more quickly in these types of cities.

Ultimately, it is the great struggle of achieving the American Dream. Young people go to college, get jobs, get married, buy houses, raise children. But that’s difficult in areas where the job market remains relatively stagnant and wages do not increase. The American Dream is getting harder to come by because millennials are being asked to choose.

Studies have shown that the American Dream is alive in some cities but completely obsolete (or at least dying) in others. We’re choosing cities based on short-term reasons related to our suffering finances. Jason Hartman doesn’t particularly like California (having lived there himself) and that’s in part because of the real estate market there—it just isn’t affordable.

It’s easier to make more money in the west and in the northeast, but housing prices in those large cities reflect this ease. Sure, there are outliers—but it’s a growing conundrum for the millennial generation. The three cities in the US with at least half of available houses being affordable to middle class millennials and a high score for employment mobility are Pittsburgh, Minneapolic, and Salt Lake City.

What do you think? Would you be willing to live in any of those cities? It is certainly hard to say, but it is worth thinking about. Before blaming millennials (who tend to be extremely motivated, tech-savvy, and educated) for moving jobs or making less money, it is important to acknowledge the specific hand they’ve been dealt. Instead of fighting on social media about the value of each generation, let’s embrace the particular quirks of each and figure out how we develop a stable, growing economy with enough jobs for everyone.

photo credit: Alex E. Proimos via photopin cc

Read more from Young Wealth:

The Big Money of Big Sports

Unemployment, Wage Growth, and Making Ends Meet

The Young Wealth Team