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The New 30-Something
The New York Times Company · Hannah Seligson · 3/2/19
The New York Times Company
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4 comments
11 min read

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  • erica - 2 weeks ago
    I had a very different reaction to this article. A lot of it struck me as true.

    My parents have given me SO MUCH throughout my life. I tick all the boxes: graduated debt free (from college AND grad school), receive financial advice, come from a two-income household. I consider myself financially independent now since my parents don't give me an allowance or pay for my groceries/gas/rent/health insurance, but that's only because I don't have to pay off loans.

    It's certainly not the case that all millennials receive help from their families. I have several friends from college who graduated and immediately began sending money home to their parents. The article acknowledges this and shines a light on folks like Roger Quesada and Jessicah Pierre.

    It's so true that no one wants to admit they haven't cut the financial cord with their family. I really like the end of the article: “I think millennials need to get past this narrative they’ve made it on their own and ‘I pulled myself up by my boot straps,’” Mr. Isaacs said. “It hides all the kinds of ways they have been privileged by their race or parental help.”
    • bill - 1 week ago
      Oh I definitely think it’s all totally true. (I observe it in myself and almost everyone around me within 5 to 10 years above and below me.)

      Also I’m loling because there’s another poop one in the Times today, titled “In the Digital World, Midlife Crisis Can Hit at 30.” It’s official, the abomination that is the “Sunday Business” section must go away lol. It’s probably tighter with Goop than Fox and the White House.
  • bill - 2 weeks ago
    Hahaha. NO! No no no! Is this a prank? Get this article away from me!! :P
    • bill - 2 weeks ago
      [Note: This crazy-long comment intentionally ignores all issues related to race and gender. I acknowledge that that’s a problem in and of itself, one that I recognized about halfway through drafting this. However, I think that the article in question makes the even bigger mistake of mucking it all together so that you can’t make any sense of anything. **The advantages I experience as a white male are constant and impossible to deny.**]
      ________________

      
The editors at the New York Times must have had quite the chuckle when they decided to publish this, knowing that they were igniting a stick of digital dynamite. The cover image (the feeding birds) is a bonafide meme. I saw it in print over the weekend and skipped it because, whatever, stuff like this is posted every day all over the web. The only thing more Millennial than being entitled and lazy is hating Millennials for being entitled and lazy.

      There are some very bizarre case studies here masquerading as "normal" experiences: Parents in NYC who send their kids to a private school at the tune of thirty thousand dollars (!) per year. That's not normal; it's extreme wealth. Same with the woman who gets an allowance of 10k/year on top of 200k in assets and payments to a condo. C'mon now! And since when is it some kind of sacrosanct right to live in one of the most expensive housing markets in the world? NYC, SF, LA, DC are not newly expensive. It's always been that way. Wealthy, urbanite parents have been bankrolling their children throughout history.

      Pretty much every day for the last week I have read and reread this quote from Rebecca Solnit's "The Loneliness of Donald Trump” (which isn’t actually about Trump):

      >> “We gain awareness of ourselves and others from setbacks and difficulties; we get used to a world that is not always about us; and those who do not have to cope with that are brittle, weak, unable to endure contradiction, convinced of the necessity of always having one’s own way. The rich kids I met in college were flailing as though they wanted to find walls around them, leapt as though they wanted there to be gravity and to hit ground, even bottom, but parents and privilege kept throwing out safety nets and buffers, kept padding the walls and picking up the pieces, so that all their acts were meaningless, literally inconsequential. They floated like astronauts in outer space.”

      I spent my 20s caring a lot - too much, I think - about establishing (and broadcasting) my independence from my parents. I made a big hoopla about paying back a few thousand bucks that I borrowed during and immediately after college. (More significantly, I borrowed 20k from a family friend and that felt like a real monster to pay off.) Frankly, what I should really do is start picking up dinner bills and focus my efforts on being a more graceful, grateful and *enjoyable* son. At the very least, I should call more and remember leave the family car with gas in the tank.

      I fall into a weird, easy-to-bullshit zone where I can describe my financial situation pretty much any way I want. Growing up, I felt rich, but not spoiled. (Is that true for everyone?) My parents got me a $600 car when I got my license. At Stanford, I felt VERY far from rich. Immediately after college, I lived paycheck to paycheck. I still have no savings. It's almost like I make a game about getting close to zero, but I've never been in debt and I enjoy my semi-alternative lifestyle. I used to get a kick out of taking screenshots of my bank account with, like, 14 dollars, 37 dollars. I voluntarily put myself in those positions. "Saving is for suckers," I'd say. YOLO! "You can't take it with you." I've experienced many extravagances that I'm sometimes embarrassed to admit, especially in front of people with way less. I’ve never had more than I need, because what’s the point?

      Ghandi grew up on a three-story compound, replete with housekeepers and shit. Of course it doesn't matter. What matters is what we *do* with our lives, not what we're born with.

      On the other hand, I think there's something unsavory about hiding your privilege. That's why I never shy away from clarifying: the safety nets below me are woven so super-mother-fucking-tight I can barely see through them. But sometimes life does throw a curveballs. I remember the wake-up call when Hurricane Sandy whomped the Jersey Shore and obliterated my family’s primary small business. It was around that time that I decided to move onto a sailboat, drop my monthly living expenses down to a few hundred bucks a month.

      I know that I’m probably not going to have as much money as my parents, and I’m okay with that. (I’m a tech entrepreneur, but I HATE the labels associated with that. Most entrepreneurs leverage VC money to live like they’ve made it when they absolutely haven’t, the epitome of “fake news.” They’re just rich kids. And they’re not kids. They’re 20, 30, 40 years old.) Anyway, whether or not I’m able to notch a win (oh, wait, another aside: you won’t believe me when I tell you this -- and you probably shouldn’t -- but I swear I care way more about making a big positive impact than I do about getting rich) I’m looking forward to going back to blue-collar job when this is all said and done - win, lose or draw. It’s all gravy!

      I’m not frustrated with this article because I think it's a stupid topic. I actually think it's a fascinating and extremely important topic. I'm frustrated because it lacks nuance.

      I really want to love the New York Times. I defend it constantly. But this just... stinks.