Generation Y (those born between 1977-94) is the group that follows Generation X (those born between 1966-1976) and Baby Boomers (those born between 1946-1964). Depending on the age of the Baby Boomer, Generation Y could be your kids or grandkids. Another name for Generation Y is the Millennials or Echo Boomers. They are called Echo Boomers because there are 71 million of them, the oldest age cohort since the Baby Boomers (78 million born between 1946-1964). Generation Y kids are known as incredibly sophisticated, technology wise, and immune to many of the traditional marketing and sales pitches. They are less brand loyalty and trust their peer group for advice on purchasing more than traditional mass media of TV, radio, or newspapers. A large number own a cell phone and computer and are active with instant messaging and social media.
In the US the economic difficulties of the Great Recession have led to dramatic increases in youth poverty, unemployment, and the numbers of young people living with their parents. According to a May, 1, 2012 New York Times article by Lily Altavena, one in 2 new college graduates in the US were still either unemployed or underemployed. For younger Gen Y, it's extremely difficult. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 48.8 percent of 16-24-year olds were employed between April and July, (the peak time for youth employment) in 2011. The amount of student loans taken out in 2010 exceeded $ 100 billion for the first time. According to the reports by the US Department of Education, Americans now owe more on student loans (about $ 1 trillion) than on credit cards.
According to the latest Census Bureau data, in Sacramento, CA, 36.4 percent of adults ages 18 to 31 were living with their parents in 2011. “The previous record was set at the dawn of the Great Depression, when 35.5 percent of Sacramento adults in that age group lived with mom and dad “. Source: “Boom in boomerang kids: Percentage of young adults living at home in Sacramento at a record high”, by Ellen Le, August 10, 2013, Sacramento Bee.
Millennials are also referred to as Peter Pan Generation because many are delaying the traditional rites of passage into adulthood much longer than previous generations. They are delaying moving out to their own place, getting married, buying a house, and having their own kids. Many Baby Boomers are concerned that Generation Y has unrealistic expectations about life. Whether Gen Y is your kids or grandkids, they see Baby Boomers live large, spending most of their income, buying large homes, fancy cars, big-screen TV's, and eating out regularly. These are consumption habits that the parents of Baby Boomers (The Greatest Generation or the Silent Generation) totally avoided.
If you have Gen Y kids still living at home, here are some suggestions. First, have them pay for their own food and an additional amount for rent, even if it only totals $ 500-800 per month. Second, they should pay for their own car expense. It's crucial that they understand how much it costs to live. Third, they need to pay for at least the interest on their student loans. Fourth, they must work, even if the job is “beneath them” and has nothing to do with their college degree. Once they realize how hard it is to earn a living today, they will become much more realistic about what future training or education is needed.
They may discover that spending 3 years at a community college to complete the training to become a Registered Nurse is a great cost-benefit ratio because they will have a skill that is always in demand. If you do not practice “tough love”, you will only perpetuate unrealistic expectations about life.