Thursday, December 20, 2012

Generation Y Not: Day 3

Continued from December 14 and 17 post on why Generation Y isn't as bad as society claims.

We spent our lives being told we can do anything, so why not let us prove it?
I grew up in an era in which all people, no matter what their abilities may be, were celebrated. “Everyone is a winner” is what I hear most people refer to it as, usually while scoffing. The reality is that people don’t like their feelings hurt; people want and value constructive criticism. We want to get better at how we live and work, which is why we need the feedback that so many employers roll their eyes at. We want to live out our dreams but we often need guidance in how to get there. We aren’t asking for a pat on the back for going to the bathroom or for getting to work on time. We are asking for a chance to shine, and when we do, to notice it. Generation Y has a reputation for needing approval, and I can’t understand how that is a bad thing. When we get approval, we know we have done something right, and don’t you as employers want us to do what is right? If we fail, so what? We learned something. Life is about lessons. Just let us do our thing, and if we can’t do it, replace us with someone who can.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Generation Y Not: Day 2

Continued from December 14 post on why Generation Y isn't as bad as society claims.

We embrace change.
I’ve heard and read complaints about millennials who thrive on an ever-changing atmosphere complete with multiple job changes, spouse changes, changes in tradition, culture, and communication. We graduate college and we want to revolutionize, which often ends up changing the structure that an organization has worked hard to create. We change jobs to gain experience and eventually move up while Generation X retires from the same job after thirty years. We get married and we get divorced because we are more unsure and afraid than ever before. We are going to take longer to get where Generation X was at our age because we are different. We have more choices. We have a different life. Opportunity has conditioned us to see the ability to change and make a difference and to be challenged in to being better people. We are more willing to take chances because we are more willing to learn from our mistakes. Generation X wants things done the same way every time, because that is the “right” way; Generation Y shows the world that tasks can be done faster and that everyone brings a unique perspective. In an effort to not get too political, I will highlight some of the issues that have been brought to the surface since, lets say, 2000, and have opened millennial advocate’s eyes for change: marriage equality, healthcare, abortion rights, and clean energy. That is not to say that all millennials support these issues, but millennials are more likely than older generations to support them because we embrace change. The world is different than it was a year ago, a decade ago, a century ago, and it will continue to change as we move right along with it.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Generation Y Not: Different, Not Wrong

As a member of Generation Y, or the generation commonly referred to as “millennials,” I am fascinated by the facts, statistics, and general descriptions that surface about our “type.” Known for being the “Entitled Generation,” individuals born after 1980 and currently entering the workforce have developed a reputation for overspending, irresponsibility, and lack of work ethic. Just type “millennials” into Google and you’ll find links like “tips for managing millennials,” “millennial generation could kill the NFL” and articles by people like me who seek to defend Generation Y’s intentions and stand up to the stereotypes. The truth is that we are just trying to make it in this world and just because we work differently doesn’t mean any other generation does it better. Here is one of five analyses that prove it:

We live at home.
I am a recent college graduate with thousands of dollars in student loans and I live at home with my parents. I know I am not the only one my age that lives off of a small income and I make my monthly loan payment work. I live off of a tight budget that still allows me to save each month for a house because I don’t want to ever rent. I am able to do this because of my parents who are so willing to do whatever they can to help me, which I understand isn’t the case for everyone. I don’t want to live above my means and I won’t. Do I want to own a house like the generations before me did at my age? Of course. But I won’t have my house foreclose on to fit in with their expectations, nor will I put a big job with lots of money before experience at this point in my life.

Stay tuned for reason #2 why millennials really aren't so bad.

Money Saving Tips for People With a Low Income

If you are like me, it can be difficult to manage a budget when you have student loans and other financial obligations to worry about. A part of my experience as a Volunteer In Service to America is  to live in poverty, according to the region I am serving, for a year. Our goal as asset builders is to fight poverty by helping people become financially literate and save money to create a better life for themselves and their families, such as the current and future homeowners of the New Century IDA program. I am fortunate enough to live at home with my parents so I don’t have to worry about rent for now, but many VISTAs choose to relocate, meaning they have to learn to live on a very tight budget while simultaneously paying rent and any other monthly bills. For many of us, this is a small price to pay for the opportunity to serve our country and to fight poverty. We become advocates for budgeting and saving, and in turn, we become financially literate ourselves (or, that is the hope).

For those of you who live on a low income (considered to be below $20,000 a year for a family of four), check out these suggestions I came across (and many I have incorporated into my life) on how to live on a small budget:

  • Have an emergency fund and three months worth of income in a savings account just in case.
  • Avoid scams that rip off the poor: used car leasing, rent-to-own, banks, payday lenders, and buy here, pay here car lots.
  • Save save save! Save as much as you can, whenever you can. Shop on clearance, don’t impulse buy, and create a budget. Shop at the Goodwill or the thrift store instead of paying full price for clothing. Use coupons and if you go out to eat, choose the special instead of ordering off the menu. Know what your money is going to each month!
  • If you don’t need it, don’t buy it.
  • When you start to think that this person or that person has it all when they are young, stop and ask yourself: Would I be willing to live like no one else now so I can live like no one else later? The money you are saving will help you live a better life in the long run.
  • One of the biggest things you can do is to automatically deposit money into your savings every time you get paid. If you aren’t able to set that up through your bank, check out your accounts online and move money over to your savings on the day you know you are getting paid.
  • Try not to eat out. Although shopping at the grocery store seems like it costs more initially, it is much cheaper than eating out. You are paying about $3.00 or less per meal eating at home compared to $5-10 eating out.
  • Don’t live above your means. This is really easy to do in today’s world. While friends are buying new cars, eating out for every meal, and spending lots of money on rent and clothes, it can be hard not to fall into the same trap. Everyone has a different budget and just because someone else buys it, doesn’t mean you should.

There are tons of other budgeting and saving tips out there, but these suggestions should give you an idea of some of the ways you can be financially literate on a tight budget. Feel free to comment with any other money saving tips that have worked for you!