Millennials’ Biggest Obstacle is Millennials Themselves

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We suffer more often in imagination than in reality. -Seneca

So often these days we hear from young people – Millennials – about how much harder they have it than did the previous generations.  Houses are more expensive, wages are stagnant and student debt is soaring.  I am definitely guilty of subscribing to this train of thought at times, whether it be while assessing my own situation or just observing the world in general.  But how much of it is really true?  Do millenials really have it that bad?  Or are they just a generation of entitled brats who would rather focus on the few disadvantages they have over previous generations rather than the endless forms of proverbial legs up their generation possesses?  Well, consider the following.

 

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What Will You Do? Ride a Bike Around New Zealand

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“What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for some goal worthy of him.” -Viktor Frankl in Man’s Search for Meaning 1946

 

When you decide to do things against the grain, society tends to condemn you, one way or another.  At the very least, society doesn’t understand both why and how you are doing what you’re dong.  The same goes for early retirement (or “Financial Independence”).  So, I have decided to start a new series named after the oh-so-persistent question,  “What Will You Do?”  This series will also allow me to ‘constructively’ indulge in some of the daydreams I tend to entertain while passing time at my remote work site, where I spend 3 weeks at a time with just 5 other people.

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The Resolution: February 2018

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Okay folks.  The moment all of you have been desperately waiting for has arrived.  The report.  We’re well into March here now so let’s just cut to the chase.

Well, things went pretty well this month.  My average cost of living was $64.42 per day.  But at the same time, I blew the $1250 budget by $553!  That’s right, I spent over $1 800 despite my goal of $1 250 per month!  That puts me at a deficit of $888 in just two months!  Not good, right?  Well, to be honest, I’m not too worried yet.

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Fancy Necessities: Soap

I love things that are versatile.  I have a hard time making purchases of things that are going to be only useful in one specific situation.  I would say that this is due to my fear of ever being ‘stuck’ again, but in reality it came along before that.  Even when I was spending beyond my means, I was looking for the most versatile motorcycle or even home, with various rental/living arrangement options available.  I suppose it was in case my situation changed, which it did.  A few times.

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Inconvenience in Store

Even though this is changing slowly, the Baby Boomers are still running the world.  And they came up in a time when resource scarcity was, understandably, less of an issue.  Jobs were plentiful, resource scarcity was not part of the public consciousness, and the growing movement towards trading time for money had reached full-steam status for the first time in history, meaning for most people in The West the only limiting factor to one’s ability to ‘get ahead’ was their interest in doing so and the amount of time in a day they could be productive if they were willing. If you were willing to work, you were a part of the middle class.  The American Dream. And so it went.

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How to Save the World

The show “Dirty Money” is quite popular right now on Netflix.  It is a 6-part documentary series profiling some of today’s largest economic scandals, and culminates in an episode titled “The Confidence Man”, all about the US President and ultimate ‘Con-Man’, Donald Trump.  It’s disturbing, but hardly shocking to me.

I also listen to the “Fake News” New York Times’ Podcast “The Daily”, where in 2017 they featured a story about lady working at a Carrier plant in Arizona.  She had worked there  a long time, and had no formal education or training or many other prospects in the region.  She was earning $1000 per week.  She was the epitome of “The American Worker” and then she was told the plant would be shutting down soon.

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The Resolution: Reality Check

Well, here we are.  One month into the new year.  You all know about The Resolution that I made this year.  My goal was to spend $1000 per month all year.  On everything.  I knew it would be tough and that my early forecasts already had me overshooting by a little bit, but since then I have decided that I have to accept one of two contradictory mindsets that I have previously proposed.  That is, it is important to set yourself up for success.  We have to be real about our budgeting, so that we don’t get discouraged and lose ‘motivation’ when we don’t reach our goals.  But it is also important to do the things you say you’re going to do.  Well, based on how January goes, I’m going to have to swallow my pride and re-adjust my goal slightly, in order to increase my chances of achieving it.  That is, I have decided to increase my monthly budget to $1,250, or $15,000 for the year.

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Build a Sustainable Life

As a young biologist and environmental scientist, I heard a lot about sustainability.  In ecology, a system is said to be sustainable when it is both diverse and productive, indefinitely.  A development project (also a system) is said to be sustainable if it is both diverse and productive, indefinitely, in terms of the environment, economy and human sociopolitical metrics.  In fact, you can apply the concept of sustainability to any system, including financial systems.  And your life, a system in and of its self.  Personally, I am finding that the more I look the more I find that the various ‘types’ of sustainability generally are interrelated and by affecting one, one can affect another.

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The Resolution: Buy Nothing

Well, here we are. I fell off the map again. Typical for me to do as I am out here in the desert practicing retirement. I am just catching too many waves and having too much fun to be able to be very productive, but I know that I must.

“Commitment is doing the thing you said you were going to do long after the mood you said it in has left you.” -Darren Hardy

For me, that means two things right now. Writing. And The Resolution.

So how is it that people stick to the things they say they’re going to? What tricks can we use to make sure we can do this? It sounds tough, actually, no? Well, one think is continuing to seek inspiration.

Well, here is a story that has helped keep me inspired on the former of my two focuses, The Resolution.

There’s just one thing I would like to know in the end: does shopping for food in Canada end up costing one more than $12,000/year?  I also wonder if the lady is aware of the idea of ‘dumpster diving’.  That is, seeking out food discarded by grocery stores and restaurants that is, by all intents and purposes, still good.  A friend of mine said his roommate was doing this for a while and was quite successful.

What do you all think?  Am I being silly to spend as much as $12,000 this year?  Maybe I could do even less?  I think I will reach out to this lady and see how her year goes, and what I can learn from her experience.  Maybe she’ll do me a guest post even?

Tune in soon for details on how my spending is going this month, the first of The Resolution.

Divorce Day USA

As a part of my daily journaling process, I try to recall one thing I’ve learned in the last 24 hours.  And yesterday I learned that January 8th is ‘Divorce Day’ in America.  And January is Divorce month.  That’s right, this is the time when lawyers generally get the most files for divorce versus any other particular day or month in the year.  So why, you ask?  Well, why anything in the world these days?  Money.

Things that cause us stress can also cause our relationships to be stressed.  And in much of the world today, one of the greatest forms of stress is money stress.  I dare propose that it may even cause people in the most affluent societies the most stress of all, as they try to keep up with the Joneses.  And apparently, following the holiday season in America, divorce filings surge as people start to come to terms with the financial damage they’ve done.  Maybe one partner perceives the other to have spent too much, or not been forthright about their spending?  And maybe the other thinks the other one is ruining the season.  And maybe this leads to some tension.  We all know how it goes.

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