We didn’t cause the Great Recession, we were just babies back then. Still in college, or high school, like myself. We believed the world was our oyster. We knew that hard work and dedication paid off because our parents and grand parents taught us these invaluable lessons. They showed us that by working hard, prosperity would ensue.
We believed that going to college would secure us a job. One that paid enough for us to afford a house and support a family. We believed the game wasn’t rigged, and that hard work would pay off.
But then came the Great Recession. And we millennials were screwed.
Pew research did a study in 2012 and found that a record number of young adults are living with their parents well into adulthood. Over 20 million of us, in fact. That makes up over 35% of young adults, ages 18-31. Some research has indicated that number to be significantly higher. The Washington Post points to research where 50 percent of young men, and 44 percent of young women — ages 19 to 24 are living at home.
Either way, I am one of those people who lives at home with my mom.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’ve lived by myself. I’ve had roommates. I’ve lived in dorm rooms. I’ve lived in apartments, duplexes, and even houses, with friends, strangers, and lovers. I’ve moved across country and stayed with friends. I’ve moved down the street and lived by myself. But for over a year now, I have been living with my mom, because it’s the cost effective thing to do.
Some researchers are saying that because of us millennials “refusing” to buy houses, the economy is suffering. I refuse to take the blame for this.
For the first time in American history, young people cannot afford to do much of anything. Armed with degrees, and a huge amount of student debt, we paid more our college degree than any generation before us. As the Bloomberg View points out, over 60% of adults my age took out student loans, and over 13% of those people are not employed.
While the Star Tribune believes that my generation is the generation that could truly jump start the economy, I think they’re failing to understand that massive debt that students loans are.
Presently, my student loans take up about a fourth of my monthly income. I owe more in student loans than I will make this year. More than what I made last year. Combine the two, and I still owe more in student loans. Having this sort of debt hanging over my head, does not make me want to buy a house, it makes me want to drink. (Which millennials are also doing more of, by the way).
My mom is moving this month, as she buys a condo. Understanding that I cannot afford to live on my own, not with my massive student debt (not to mention massive medical debt), my mom specifically is buying a place where I will have my own space. She’s doing this because like her, I don’t see a day where I can afford to live without my mom’s support.
Sure, there are moments when I am embarrassed that I’m living with mom, but it makes the most sense for me, and apparently millions of other people my age. We didn’t cause the Great Recession. We didn’t cause a college degree to balloon the way it did. We didn’t cause the economy to tank, and our job prospects to dwindle. But we’re stuck living at home with our parents because of it, with no end in sight.