It seems that for whatever reason people want to say that these times are worse than any other. People say we are heading for a recession and that we should all be scared of what is going to happen. When I ask salespeople what is going on out there they tell me that their customers are afraid to make a move because the economy in this country is so bad.
Frankly I don’t believe it. I think that people like to say things like this because for some reason or another it makes them feel better. It justifies their lack of success. Or it proves that the wrong political party is in power with bad policies.
Like everything else we like our self-serving theories rather than the facts. Oh, those elusive facts! They seem to be harder to come by than ever, don’t they?
I love the late Danial Moynihan’s quote that people are entitled to their opinions not their facts.
The soft/bad economy stories aren’t new. We have been hearing for three or four years now that our own American economy is in shambles and we are on the verge of a major recession.
And on top of that we are hearing that the Millennials are in trouble and they are lagging far behind previous generations.
Okay, I am sure you have heard these things as well.
Well I got tired of hearing them because to me there was something about these two schools of thought that just did not ring true to me. They just didn’t sound very…well sound. So I decided to see for myself. I did some research on both of these subjects and this is what I came up with.
First from an article from The Atlantic’s Jean M. Twenge about the Millennials:
“Contrary to popular belief, Millennials as a group are doing quite well as they hit their prime earning years. Born between 1981 and 1996, Millennials are best known for “how broke they are ” and it’s true they got off to a rough start. The Great Recessions struck just as they entered the job market. But they have managed to make a breathtaking comeback. By 2019 households headed by Millennials were making considerably more money than those headed by the Silent Generation, Baby Boomers, and Generation X at the same age. Headlines have also written off Millennials as “a lost generation” when it comes to early career earnings. But the wealth gap needs context, because more of them went to college and graduate school, Millennials started their careers later on average then Boomers and Gen Xers did. Now Millennials are just entering their peak earning years and have more earning power than the generations before them. And yes a lot of them have scrapped together enough loose change to buy a house. A lot of them in fact. In 2020 40 percent of Millennials owned their own homes which is roughly in line with older generations. The kids are alright.“
So can that myth.
And now on the economy:
From The Economist (not exactly Rolling Stone)
“You’ll be surprised to hear this but the American economy is leaving the rest of the world even further in the dust. Ask Americans what they think of the economy though and the answer will be most assuredly pessimistic. Nearly four-fifths told pollsters recently that their children will be worse off than they are. The most since the survey began in 1990. The remarkable reality is that America remains the world’s richest, most productive and most innovative big economy. The U.S. today accounts for 58 percent of the output of the G-7 group of leading nations compared with 40 percent in 1990. Adjusted for purchasing power the average income in Mississippi, America’s poorest state is higher than that of France. Investors who put $100 in the S&P 500 in 1990 would have more that $2000 today, four times more than if they had invested elsewhere in the rich world. America’s rise in prosperity has been broad as well as steep. Incomes for the country’s poorest fifth have risen in real terms by 74 percent since 1990, much more than Britain. America has done very well in the past three decades. And it will keep doing so if Americans can avoid narratives of negativity that invite politicians to mess up the next 30 years.’
And there you have it. I would urge all of you to cut these paragraphs out and keep them in your wallets and purses every time someone starts ranting about “lazy loser Millennials”. Or says that this is not the “world’s richest, most productive and most innovative big economy” in the world.
We need to stop looking for ready-made reasons for our personal inadequacies whatever they are and instead ride the waves of opportunity that comes with being a part of the richest and most innovative country in the world. It’s only common sense.