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Have Baby Boomer Parents Left Millennial Kids To Rot? Or Can We Stop Generation Bashing Now?

I was born in 1981. Gen X doesn’t want me, but I’m not the single, childless twenty-something most often associated with my generation. Scores of my fellow millennials are chided for not having started families of their own — regularly accused of “delaying adulthood” as they struggle to find jobs in an upside down market, the weight of their student debt looming like a vulture, ready to pick at the rotting carcasses of their stalled out professional lives, aspirations giving way to anxiety disorders.

There’s a marked difference between the realities of our parents early adult lives and our own since the economy hit the skids, and it appears to have caused the generation gap to widen exponentially. Matt Bors, a fellow fed-up cusp-millennial plus also a 2012 Pulitzer Prize nominee for editorial cartooning spoke to my soul when he sketched out this piece for CNN, and I want to share some of it with you. But I’m still a millennial, so sharing it is not going to stop me from continuing to subject you to my own opinion after the fact, okay? Don’t forget to scroll down.

 

[to see Matt Bors complete illustration, click HERE. For more of his work, visit his website.]

WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO IT TAKING A VILLAGE?

The Boomer parents of most Millennials, my own included, raised their kids in a totally different reality than the one we now live in. As college graduates (or not) they got jobs that led to promotions and pay raises, and almost regardless of field or the part of the country they lived in the vast majority of Boomers were able to purchase homes and set down roots in their twenties. Those who didn’t, still had the American Dream to believe in as they built their lives.

Today some of those same Boomers have seen the economic collapse change their situation. Retirement savings were lost, children didn’t move out, homes didn’t maintain their value. As a result, many Baby Boomers aren’t retiring on schedule, making way for the promotion of those below them. Generation X is left stagnant and most Millennials can’t get in the door…thus they continue to rely on their still-working parents for help.

It’s a bunk situation all around. At 27 my parents bought their first home in Los Angeles for $75,000. Today, that same property was sold by subsequent owners post-bubble burst for $779,000. Meanwhile, at 32 and living in the same LA suburb as my parents starter home, I don’t own my house but still have over $90,000 remaining on my personal student loans. To review, that’s more student loan debt than what my parents paid for their first house. (In case you’re curious, they both had student loans as well, but they amounted to about 10k total.) The reality sucks, but the Millennials didn’t create it, we inherited it and we’re all going to have to clean it up together, because I refuse to leave this mess to whatever they end up calling my daughter’s generation.

So maybe I owe my parents an apology or two for thinking they don’t know the first thing of what it’s like to walk a mile in my shoes, but maybe they owe me an apology for thinking they do. The world is a different place now. Let’s stop blaming each other for the state of things, and get back to the root of what the American family is supposed to be. A unit. It takes a village.

More from Morgan:
My Mom Had A Wardrobe Malfunction At My Bat Mitzvah
“Doc, Are You Telling Me This Sucker’s Nuclear?”
Social Media is a Warm Gun

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