Ask Stacy: Millennials Are Ruining This Country … Aren’t They?

College Students
Photo by Nejron Photo / Shutterstock.com

We’ve got a lot to worry about. Terrorism. A historic, hysterical, presidential election. Global warming. An anemic economy. Gridlocked government.

Oh, and then there’s young people.

Here’s a question I got a couple of years back, but since I’m still hearing similar sentiments, I thought I’d publish it again.

I think someone needs to explore the subject of the workforce crisis posed by the millennial generation. These kids are so unmotivated, undisciplined, illiterate and distracted, it poses a danger to the financial security of this country and workforce security as more of these kids move into adult jobs. Some parents have trained these kids to mistreat their elders and bad-mouth their co-workers/customers. It is almost like working with an alcoholic, they are so distracted from their work due to their problems. These kids, even nearing their 30s, are still supported by parents and absolutely act like they have nothing to lose as their parents are enablers, supporting their every firing, unplanned pregnancy, overspending emergency and drunken driving arrest without question. — C

Here’s my opinion about the millennial “crisis”:

Who are the millennials, and why are they so bad?

First, let’s define who we’re talking about. The media made up all these generational divides, so there’s no precise definition. But millennials are widely considered to be those now ranging in age from 19 to 35.

C begins his comment by saying, “I think someone needs to explore the subject of the workforce crisis posed by the millennial generation.” Well, C, here’s some good news. It’s been done. A lot. As one example, here’s a snippet from a 2007 article from CBS News.

They were raised by doting parents who told them they are special, played in little leagues with no winners or losers, or all winners. They are laden with trophies just for participating and they think your business-as-usual ethic is for the birds.

Here’s another, from a 2012 article in The Washington Post:

These are the kids, after all, who text their dads from meetings. They think “business casual” includes skinny jeans. And they expect the company president to listen to their “brilliant idea.” When will they adapt?

And here’s one from just a few weeks ago from the Burlington (Vermont) Free Press:

Arriving late, on their phones all day, taking off for weeks to hike, bike and explore, not paying attention, lack of respect, non-communicative, a sense of entitlement, unwillingness to go beyond the given task, wanting it all.

While comments like these make great fodder for cocktail conversation, and in some cases may have some element of truth, let’s start by considering the source: older people.

I suspect those doing much of the complaining are from my generation, the baby boomers. If so, it’s particularly amusing, considering that when we were young, many of us were growing our hair, smoking dope, starting communes, rioting, streaking, engaging in sport sex and marching on Washington for so many causes it’s hard to count them all.

My parent’s, members of the Greatest Generation, didn’t think any of this was a great idea. They were as convinced as C seems now that, as a group, we would amount to nothing, other than a drain on society.

And this is the way I suspect it’s always been. My parent’s parents probably thought Benny Goodman was shocking, women belonged in the kitchen and the repeal of Prohibition was going to ruin our nation. I’m sure Cleopatra’s parents thought dating Romans like Mark Antony was a bad idea. (Admittedly, that didn’t end well.)

The point is, before we start complaining, let’s remember older generations disapproving of younger ones is the rule, not the exception. And yet, despite the dire warnings, here we are, with computers in our pockets and driverless cars practically in our driveways. There must be at least some motivated, disciplined, literate and focused young people out there.

They are different, but maybe it’s not all bad

Older people and younger people have differences. Differences often translate into mistrust, which too often morphs into disapproval. This is human nature and has always been true, whether it’s women vs. men, black vs. white, Muslim vs. Christian or boomer vs. millennial.

Sure, millennials are different. A couple of years ago, Pew Research published an article comparing today’s young adults with boomers. Some interesting findings:

  • A third of millennials between the ages 26 to 33 have at least a four-year degree. That’s the most educated this age group has been in the history of the United States.
  • Only 26 percent of millennials are married. At the same age, nearly half the boomers were.
  • 55 percent have posted a “selfie” on a social media site. That’s about the same percentage of seniors who know what the term means.
  • Just 19 percent of millennials agree with the statement, “Most people can be trusted.” Forty percent of boomers do.

In conclusion, C, I feel your pain. I work and socialize with Millennials, some of whom do seem self-obsessed and maddeningly disrespectful of their elders. My Gen-X (or Y; I’m not entirely sure) wife sometimes seems more attached to Snapchat and Facebook than she is to me. But when it comes to generations, it’s beat ’em or join ’em. And one thing’s for sure: You won’t beat ’em.

So fret as much as you like, fellow older folks, but I’ll reserve my worry for more pressing matters. In the end, younger people are a little different, but all generations find a way. After all, isn’t that the only option any of us have?

Share your thoughts in comments below or on our Facebook page.

Got a question you’d like answered?

You can ask a question simply by hitting “reply” to our email newsletter. If you’re not subscribed, fix that right now by clicking here.

The questions I’m likeliest to answer are those that will interest other readers. In other words, don’t ask for super-specific advice that applies only to you. And if I don’t get to your question, promise not to hate me. I do my best, but I get a lot more questions than I have time to answer.

About me

I founded Money Talks News in 1991. I’m a CPA, and have also earned licenses in stocks, commodities, options principal, mutual funds, life insurance, securities supervisor and real estate. Got some time to kill? You can learn more about me here.

Got more money questions? Browse lots more Ask Stacy answers here.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
This Is the Best Time of Day to Take Blood Pressure Meds
This Is the Best Time of Day to Take Blood Pressure Meds

The right timing can help you prevent a big — and possibly fatal — mistake.

10 Bad Money Habits That Are Robbing You Blind
10 Bad Money Habits That Are Robbing You Blind

Here’s how to change those bad behaviors.

5 Reasons You Should Work for as Long as You Live
5 Reasons You Should Work for as Long as You Live

These benefits might make you think twice about retirement.

15 Products You Need — Even If You Didn’t Know It
15 Products You Need — Even If You Didn’t Know It

Discover some must-have products on Amazon that you didn’t even know you were missing.

Stop Buying These 19 Things Online
Stop Buying These 19 Things Online

The internet has changed how we shop. But for some things, you’re still better off buying the old-fashioned way.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?
Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?

Can an adult daughter tap into her late mother’s benefit?

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia
This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia

Nearly half of U.S. residents may face this threat.

Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds
Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds

Resolve to be clutter-free in 2021 with these secondhand purchases.

11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It
11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It

Seriously? Fibbing about the weather is a crime? This and other little-known legal traps await the unwary.

Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?
Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?

Researchers say too many doctors are overlooking this potential source of hypertension.

13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free
13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free

There are many ways to get cheap or free services and goods after reaching a certain age.

These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy
These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy

These vehicles boast reliability, safety and long-lasting value.

21 Items to Cut From Your Budget That You Won’t Even Miss
21 Items to Cut From Your Budget That You Won’t Even Miss

Start off the new year by implementing these small-but-smart savings strategies. They’ll soon add up.

Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore
Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore

Starting this month, your ISP no longer can bill you for this fee.

Taking a Multivitamin? Here’s Why You Should Reconsider
Taking a Multivitamin? Here’s Why You Should Reconsider

A new study has bad news for the millions of Americans who spend money on multivitamins.

15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021
15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021

Follow these tips to save, so you’ll have money for things that really matter.

9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry
9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry

Keep more of future paychecks by eliminating these budget-busting unnecessary expenses.

11 Huge Retirement Costs That Are Often Overlooked
11 Huge Retirement Costs That Are Often Overlooked

Does your retirement budget account for all of these costs?

7 Tricks to Cleaning Your Bathroom Faster
7 Tricks to Cleaning Your Bathroom Faster

These tips can get your bathroom sparkling with little time and no elbow grease.

20 Amazon Purchases We Loved in 2020
20 Amazon Purchases We Loved in 2020

These practical products made everyday life a little easier last year — and will do so in the new year, too.

10 Times You’re Right to Be a Cheapskate
10 Times You’re Right to Be a Cheapskate

Clever shoppers can save money without sacrificing quality. Here is how to do it.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.