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Your Two Cents: What Does It Mean to Be in Your 20s?

Lately, there's been a lot of buzz about Gen Y. Our parents are Boomers, and there are so many of them; it's only natural there are so many of us. We most likely share social views with our parents, but the issues we deal with in the workplace and with our finances are different than when our parents were in their 20s. As with any generation, there are some stereotypes that we embrace (we're tech smart!) and some we could do without. Bankrate produced an article called "Surviving 2008 as a 20-something," which has some good tips for approaching the new year. It also generalized our age group with these four points:

  1. Who you are: 20-somethings with college loans that rival the National Debt — or the contents of Kimora Lee Simmons' jewelry box.
  2. What you want: A little fun while you zoom your way to the top — that's why you change jobs so often.
  3. How you're making it: Roommates, a little help from the parents, lots of credit cards. But even if you rent your place, your priorities remain on technology's edge: Your pocket holds the latest cell phone.
  4. You think retirement is: B-O-R-I-N-G. Only old people go there.

While there's truth in the points that we frequently change jobs (not necessarily a bad thing) and carry too much debt, I think the other ones are slightly insulting to our savvy. What do you think?


Join The Conversation
Green Green 9 years
well I guess I am a savvy 20 something.
discocactus discocactus 9 years
This would be insulting if it wasn't just plain stupid. Age, gender, race, class are all easy ways to group people together and make generalizations. Please, these "points" could concern people of all age brackets. And the only people who pursue the overgrown teenager route through their 20s are the ones who can afford it (because mom and dad will bail them out!) or they don't have the education to realize what they're doing to themselves. I say better to be an adult in your 20s than try to do it in your 30s or 40s when it will be harder and more difficult to change. I'm 27 and not impressed by the Paris Hilton wannabees or the middle class kids whose parents support them while they slum it.
msdyanelk msdyanelk 9 years
I can only hope that no one---20's, 30's, 40's 50's or 60's----can say their loan debt even comes close to the contents of Kimora Lee Simmons' jewelry box. That's a whole LOTTA Cheese!
rosesandeson rosesandeson 9 years
I'm definitly not insulted, but at 25 I know that almost all of my friends and I are taking care of our futures and consider most of us savvy... I am just getting started on life, looking forward to purchasing my first home this year and have paid off my university. I contribute monthly to RRSPs and a savings account. I also make big car payments monthly and owe a bit on a credit card. So I am guilty of overextending myself. I think that people my age expect to live as well as they did when they lived with their parents, even though their parents have worked many years to get to where they are now. On the other hand, I live in Grande Prairie, Alberta, which has been booming for the past few years in the oil industry, and while my salary in the work I do is comparable to those across Canada, many people my age earn well beyound the average for someone our age, so there is a sense of keeping up with the Joneses!
onabanana onabanana 9 years
The article wasn't all wrong, but it sure was patronizing, which is annoying!!! We have debt because more and more of us are going to college and most of us don't have rich mommy and daddy's to pay for it so we have to work and take out loans. It doesn't mean we're irresponsible. I work hard, I play hard, and I save as much as I can. On changing jobs often: company loyalty is a two way street, if a company doesn't offer you the components necessary to build a successful career then it is your responsibility to seek out a place that will recognize your talent. I dream of retirement! Retirement sounds amazing, but I don't plan on sitting around doing nothing, I plan on volunteering and traveling.
MandyJoBo MandyJoBo 9 years
I don't know. I'm not really part of the working world so none of this really applies to me. My boyfriend and I do our finances together. He is older than I am by 9.5 (he'd kill me if I said 10) years, so when we met, he was through with all of the 20's stuff, even though he was 28. Now I'm 28 and I don't really worry about anything.
Zahara-Pitt Zahara-Pitt 9 years
am 23 and a graduate school student, my parents help me out a lot (which i gladly welcome)
sweetrae80 sweetrae80 9 years
Btw I love savvysugar- I'm so glad you added it to the Teamsugar community!
sweetrae80 sweetrae80 9 years
I have a lot of school debt, but I'll have my M.A. in May when I turn 24. Yeah, I don't like thinking about how much my loan payments cost each month, but I'm also proud of the fact that I have earned an advanced degree at a relatively young age. But, by the time I reach 29 I had better have my loans paid off! I think that most Gen Y's know how to save money and live smartly, but at the same time, we live in an expensive world. Technology, health care, school loans, etc. don't come cheaply. I think that we want to have our cake and eat it too. And that's not a bad thing - it just involves some sacrifice and stress at the beginning of the process.
beingtazim beingtazim 9 years
i'm 27 and still doing my undergrad. reason? i went to college and worked in the interior design field for 5 years before deciding to switch to something else and go back to post-secondary. i did not want to be stuck in retail (even though the subject interested me), so it was a smart move. i have student loans and a bit of credit card debt but then i did just come back from a 6 week trip to asia just a few weeks ago. i am working on paying things off but since my family doesn't have much money and things are expensive in vancouver, i know that realistically i will have to wait until i get a real job before i am able to be more savvy. oh, i do have several thousand dollars in RRSPs that i started when i was working full time. i don't work now because i am taking a full course load and need to graduate soon, which means i need to concentrate on my marks etc. i do have a lot of techy stuff, but i only buy on sale when i need something and shop around a lot. for instance, i just now got my first tv and it was bought for me by my dad. i have been living on my own for 7 years now with my best friend and we share all expenses. hopefully a few years after we graduate we can get a house together. :)i sometimes hate that i waited to go to university until this age but i wasn't ready to earlier on. why does everyone need to follow a particular path - university, job, marriage, kids, retire?! that does not sound appealing to me at all. well, the retirement bit does.
snapsh0t snapsh0t 9 years
My 24 year old sister-in-law is considerably mature, already married, has a college education, a permanent teaching job and a 8 month old son. I think it's harsh and inaccurate to generalize when everyone is on their own path.
bissa_ann bissa_ann 9 years
I found retirement saving was really easy - if you set it up to withdraw automatically at about 5-8% of your salary, for me it didn't make a difference in my paychecks at all. I was paying tax on that income, but when I took retirement out, I didn't have to pay tax on it - so I ended up taking home roughly the same amount. It made saving super easy and painless - I'm now 25 and have $10K in my retirement account. Not bad for someone who works for a nonprofit! I am guilty of changing jobs though - but I figure, it's better to do it now when I am young and don't have anyone depending on me, like a husband or kids, and don't have major commitments (mortgage, etc).
freegracefrom freegracefrom 9 years
Who you are: 20-somethings with college loans that rival the National Debt — or the contents of Kimora Lee Simmons' jewelry box. ..... Well, exactly whose fault do they think THIS is? The cost of going to college just continues to skyrocket, but yet we're told that we won't get anywhere without a college education! It's a trap! The only point that's true about me is that I am carrying lots of credit card debt. Oops. But I thought that was a rite of passage for 20-somethings?? We just graduated out of school and are trying to make due with entry-level jobs, while having the same sort of expenses as anyone else. Most of my friends my age and I actually are great about saving up for retirement. After all, it's our parents generation that is about to break Social Security.... and they seem pretty content to do NOTHING about it. (Yeah, that's right, Bankrate. "When you point, you have three fingers pointing back at you!") It's really judgmental and hypocritical.
lollypops lollypops 9 years
I personally have to admit that yes, I change jobs frequently because I do want some fun in my life. I'm only 21 and I don't know exactly what I want to do with my life so I'm trying my best to figure it out. If I find myself in a job I don't like, I look for a new one. I don't think this is a bad thing or shows that I'm irresponsible. On the contrary, I find it to be the reasonable thing to do. I don't want to be stuck in a career that I hate years down the road, so I'd rather learn now what I like and don't like so that I can find a job I love, not merely one I suffer through to pay the bills. Hey, variety is the spice of life - I'm trying to live it to the fullest!
gtrswede gtrswede 9 years
I'm 21-have had the same job for 3 years, pay all my own bills, no help from daddy or whoever they say. Generalizing like that would be like me saying anyone in their 30s only cares about kids, minivans and what's for dinner. BS!
ErieIndiana ErieIndiana 9 years
I'm in my early 20's, have a steady full time job (for the past year after I got out of college). I have no debt and have a substantial CD saving up for Graduate school. A College Degree for our generation is a high school diploma for our parents - so yeah, most people are going to be in debt for a while. And No, we don't want to rot in a job that we don't like (a la my parents) so there is no harm in fishing around to find a job that suits a person. This article just made me entirely angry. I'd love to make huge outlandish claims about the author - but I'll refrain because it isn't worth my time or effort. Oh, and I don't know anyone who has the latest technology in... anything. I know 8 year olds with PSPs and digital cameras though. Their parents are in their 40s.
hokie-girl hokie-girl 9 years
Although I will offically leave my 20's behind me in 2008, I think some of the comments are a bit insulting. The only thing I can say is true about me from that post is that I have changed jobs alot. But that is only because I didn't find what I loved to do until just recently and what is the point in staying in a job you hate. But from my first job out of college, I had a 401K and Roth IRA. I have never had any credit card debt and what I do charge on the card, I pay it off every month in full. I have been a homeowner for the past two years. Before that, I was living on my own but paid my own rent and stuff. And so what if we love the latest technology. It is our generation and if we can afford it then so be it. I have 2 cell phones (blackberry and Motorola Q). I think our ability to embrace what is the most up to date sets us ahead of the rest.
BuffBabe6108 BuffBabe6108 9 years
I agree with Bella! I am 24, have a 401K along with an IRA; am contributing the most I can (and allowed) to each, along with my savings account. I have absolutely no debt to speak of, pay my credit cards on time and in full every month, have only had jobs in which I have been at for years, and I love what I do! I work for a small company, whose median age is 29. I think our generation is better prepared for the future than most! Although I do have 2 cells phones (1 is a Blackberry), but can afford it!
Martini-Rossi Martini-Rossi 9 years
I am all expect three.
looseseal looseseal 9 years
Those "points" talk as if it's the 20-somethings' fault that they keep changing jobs. "Fun", really? Screw you, bullet points! In my experience, companies conveniently "let you go" before it gets to a point where they have to pay you bonuses. They expect you to keep staying at work after the hours agreed upon in the contract - without any monetary compensation for the overtime. See, companies want the same loyalty employees had to their employers in the 50s, yet they do not offer the same level of job security and comfortable living wage that employers offered to employees in the 50s. It's bullshit, I tell you.
mandy_frost mandy_frost 9 years
I think leeapeea is right. We no longer live in a society where you have to work at Ford for 45 years before retirement. There are so many more options. Why stay at one place forever? Especially if you are well-educated (which explains the student loan debt). I do have a lot of student loan debt, but I also have a Master's Degree... something I need because I didn't figure out until my junior year of college that I wanted to do something other than my major. (My particular Master's also happens to be in something that is only offered at two universities, meaning I went to one of the most expensive universities in the country for it.) I am excited about saving for retirement. I think it is fun to know more about the market. I personally have more debt than I want due to a period of unemployment (caused by working on a campaign and the campaign ending) and needing to buy a car. I'm taking care of that though, and it's been in a downward direction since I've had my current position. In terms of technology, I have a rather old cell phone and laptop. I actually hate the newer cell phones because they are too little. (I lose mine in my purse all the time as is!) As for finances, I'm on my own and was even when unemployed. I picked other. I don't think it's mere fun that we want for changing jobs. If we want to do something for the rest of our lives, we don't want to hate it though. Is that really bad?
baltimoregal baltimoregal 9 years
I wish people in their 20s weren't in debt but in the current system that is impossible.
onion-waffle onion-waffle 9 years
I think it's great to have a community like this. This definitely shows that there are more and more of us out there who are getting a clue and are taking finances seriously. Right on. Ha, it really does look like the copy was written by one of those high school counselors who just wants to be "relatable."
gigill gigill 9 years
Oh and I was going to say this article was a wake-up call for re:saving for retirement. It *IS* something I want to work on some more, but that won't be happening until next year when I get the travel bug out of my system.
gigill gigill 9 years
I'm 25: -Not in debt at all -Not a whole lot of savings either -health/dental insurance is covered -not close to purchasing a home -spent down payment money for a home on LOTS of traveling. I end up playing "catch up" financially to my peers later on because of it, but I don't think you can ever regret travel. -A couple grand invested in retirement. I want to put down another couple grand this year, but my savings money is all about travel at the mo'.
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