Strapped - Why America's 20- and 30- Somethings Can't Get Ahead

I just finished a very interesting book by Tamara Draut. Strapped - Why America's 20- and 30- Somethings Can't Get Ahead explained in precise detail some of the challenges my family has faced while trying to get out on our own, start a family and basically just get ahead financially. We have struggled every step of the way and even now in our upper 30's we still don't feel as if we have arrived financially. I thought it was just us. According to Draut, I'm wrong. Life is extremely hard for young people trying to make it on their own.

One of the biggest reasons why America's young adults can't seem to make it on their own is the cost of a college education. If they can figure out a way to get started and finish college, they typically do so with a massive pile of debt to show for it. But yet more than ever, a college education is very much needed if you want a decent job. But these decent jobs don't come with a high enough salary to pay back the debt. Even after obtaining the all important college degree, young adults find themselves hanging on by a shoestring trying to pay back their student loans. That is if they can find a job. On page 10 Draut says that

"Compared to older workers, young adults are more likely to be unemployed, hold part-time jobs or work as temps. Almost half of temp agency workers are in the 18-34 age group."

Those young adults that do not have a college education have it even worse. On page 29 Draut states that

"Nowadays, entering the real world with only a high school diploma is like going into battle armed with only a squirt gun."

Draut goes into great detail how difficult it is for young adults to quit relying on their parents. It is very expensive to live on your own and starting a family has been delayed so much for people that nowadays there are many people who don't start to think about having a baby until they are pushing 40. My guess is that is about 15 years later than previous generations. Older generations think this is because Generation X is so career oriented. But in reality, according to Draut, it is because they can't afford it.

More and more young adults are delaying leaving the nest so that they can get on their feet, so to speak. It is difficult to find a job and if you are able to, the low pay and high cost of health insurance, combined with student loan debt, makes it almost impossible to afford the rent of living by yourself. So you end up sharing an apartment well into your 30's - something previous generations did not do.

Another big issue that Draut sees as why young adults can't get ahead is politics. It is well known that my generation and younger have not taken an interest in politics, and typically don't even vote. The Baby Boomer generation out numbers us big time. In 2000 the eligible young-voter population made up only a fifth of all eligible voters. Compare this to the baby boomers - when they made up the young-voter population they were a third of all eligible voters (p197).

Most of the elected officials are baby boomers and they are not connecting with young adults. Not only that, they are changing the government to meet their needs as they age, not the needs of young people. Because young adults typically don't vote, they don't have much pull when it comes to laws. If we want government to help young adults (with funding for education or higher minimum wages for example) then we have to make our needs heard and start pushing the elected officials to meet our needs.

Strapped sums up what I have been feeling for years - it is hard to get ahead in America. While I found this book very interesting, it was also somewhat confusing as Draut jumped back and forth comparing numbers from the 1970s with numbers from the 1990s and 2000s. She didn't always compare the numbers the same way and it was hard to follow. Draut has a fairly good plan at the end of the book that could potentially solve some of the problems young American's face. It will be interesting to watch over the next decade to see if any of these ideas come to fruition. Overall, this book made me feel not so alone in our struggles, which I really appreciate. Strapped is definitely worth reading, if only to try to change your own outcome in life.

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Comments 94 comments

mary bailey 7 years ago

Jen, this is interesting. It's kind of a relief to know that my hubs and I are not the only ones in our mid-thirties to still be financially struggling. Someone told us once years ago that the "magic" age to be financially comfortable is 50, so we are always joking about what we'll be able to do "when we're 50"!


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

This is an intersting and well written hub. I wish you success with your book.


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 7 years ago

Very interesting hub. I do believe it is difficult for young people today, but not impossible to get ahead. It's a matter of making sensible choices. For instance, buy a big house or pay off a student loan. Most young people I know, not my own, opted for the big unsustainable house. You can't have it all and by 30 you still have a long way to go. Try to enjoy the ride.


kartika damon profile image

kartika damon 7 years ago from Fairfield, Iowa

Excellent hub and you really address this current issue - my son is 30 and you guys have inherited a mess - high cost of living, etc. I hope more of this generation gets political, stays involved, gets involved, and so forth. It is very important now. Also, don't buy into the myth that more is better - this generation will have to rethink lots of things that we bought into!


Art West profile image

Art West 7 years ago from Indiana

I suggest trying Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University or at least read his book The Total Money Makeover.

My wife and I have been on his system for nearly 3 years and it really works!


allie8020 profile image

allie8020 7 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area, California

Great hub, Jennifer! It is really tough for young people today. Students that are very motivated to stay in school are getting hit with such outrageous fee hikes. The University of California just increased their fees by about 32%! What makes matters worse is that many students that are able to continue their education will also have to deal with huge student loans to pay. Some are graduating and filing bankruptcy due to student loans and other school-related debt. This is soooo sad!


Tiffany 7 years ago

I know what you mean with feeling "strapped." We are feeling it too. We just paid our bills and rent and have $30 left in the bank for food. Looks like we'll have to take left overs from our parent's Thanksgiving this week... I don't know if we'll even get a Christmas this year. I was happy that at least we got our boy a Christmas present, but I don't know about us. We don't overspend. We hardly even go out. It's so depressing. I'm still in school too. I hope I get a decent job that can cover everything when I get out. I do not look forward to paying my loans back, but it will have to be done. Even people who file bankruptcy are required to pay their school loans back. Creditors will track you down if you don't is what I've heard.


Pioneer1 7 years ago

Thanks for this very informative hub Jennifer.


Millionheir 7 years ago

For sure this article really does elaborate on what i'm going thru as a collge kid, by the way I'm new to this HubPages thing and i'd like to introduce myself and please add me as a friend or fan i'm not sure what it is called as yet but nice article and nice to meet you!


Jeanne Grunert profile image

Jeanne Grunert 7 years ago from Virginia

Very interesting, Jennifer. I also think people don't have much education on how to use credit cards properly, how important it is to save, etc.


MaryElena profile image

MaryElena 7 years ago

I made the mistake of deferring my loans to make matters worse.


stlramesh profile image

stlramesh 7 years ago from Calgary, Canada

OMG. You write so well. I am sure you will love this support forum: http://tinyurl.com/apsforum


darntoothysam profile image

darntoothysam 7 years ago from Burnsville, MN

It's all about credit card debt and daycare for me. I pay out $2250/mo just to cover daycare and SOME of my credit cards I'm trying to pay off.

Lesson? Don't take on a lot of debt. Problem solved.


Sue1226 profile image

Sue1226 7 years ago from Dallas, Texas

I really liked your article. I learned something new. I always thought the reason young adults were struggling was because the depended on their credit cards. But you are right if you don't have the right education or experience you don't really have a chance to get a good job, let alone a good place to live.Thank you for showing me another reason why the young adults are not making it.


mel22 profile image

mel22 7 years ago from ,

Your hub is relevant to what is happening at the present time and hits home !


socit2009 7 years ago

Nice

Very great efforts & information

Thanks

Links :- http://www.asktoyota.info


TnFlash profile image

TnFlash 7 years ago from Tampa, Florida

Great Hub! I have children in the 20-30 year old group and they are really struggling. This is a very timely post.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America

Thumbs up! This is good information.


GeneralHowitzer profile image

GeneralHowitzer 7 years ago from Land of Salt, Philippines

Great Hub and Info too...


matt6v33 profile image

matt6v33 7 years ago from Bangkok, Thailand

thanks for sharing.. much appreicate u!


missmarsh profile image

missmarsh 7 years ago from USA

I'll have to read the book. Thanks for sharing!


kephrira profile image

kephrira 7 years ago from Birmingham

It's not just America either, its the same in the UK with big debt for university, lots of temp rather than permanent jobs and all the rest. But at least we can make a bit of extra cash online!


celebrate 50 7 years ago

It is difficult for the 30 year olds. Making good choices and taking care of health are things I see this generation is doing. If it is any consolation, every generation has its challenges and at the age of 30 there are many!

Some advice: be true to yourself, to your loved ones and don't worry about things you cannot change ... always count your blessings before you count your needs. When it comes to needs ... tackle one at a time! Keep up the great work.


lindsay champagne 7 years ago

My fiancée an I are both in our early twenties and this article definitely hits home. We're both struggling between living expenses, our upcoming wedding and find a way to pay for school. I really don't want to be in a pile of debt when I graduate but I really don't know what else to do. Governments should be paying universities more funding and offering credits and rebates to young adults pursuing post secondary education and who are living on their own. I hate it how people (especially older people) always tell me to go live at home...that's not an option for everyone, especially if your parents are long gone. Does anyone have any suggestions for young adults trying to navigate their way through debt?


healthwriter profile image

healthwriter 7 years ago from USA

Really interesting and excellent writing.


jerrydel44 profile image

jerrydel44 7 years ago

Excellent Hub. Enjoyed it and glad to be a 50's guy


MikeNV profile image

MikeNV 7 years ago from Henderson, NV

Loans are available at interest rates so high that the salaries of graduates will not be enough to cover their living expenses and payments. The Government - Fed, Local, State is taking more than a third of a persons income. Only 5% of the people make $100,000 a year or more. Simply put the money is not available to buy ... so one must borrow. This increases consumer debt. Consumers already owe $14 Trillion!!! The Federal Deficit is $12+ Trillion. The country is bankrupt. I read a detailed report that stated the average Adult has $50,000 in debt and $2,500 in savings.

Why and how did this happen? Just go back and look at the establishment of the Federal Reserve. Americas Citizens are all slaves to the Central Bank. The system encourages spending without saving. The system is a perpetual borrow and pay with interest model. The system has failed.

More misery to come. You can not pay debt with debt. Our country has no financial standard. The Federal Reserve is NOT owned by the Government. It is owned and run by private bankers. And the people who run the banks control the money supply, and control the population. The Federal Reserve must be abolished so Americans can once again own their property and prosper.


Mark Thompson 7 years ago

The tax rates rising creates a ripple effect from personal disposable income power to inflation. The next twenty years will see the median income tax rate between 60% to 70%. We already see this in New York, California, and other Democratic controlled states. The tuition increases from California and other states are demonstrative of liberal progessives. Tax, mismanage, and spend is the leftist mantra. If some program is a failure, simply throw more good money after bad. The trillions of dollars we do not have is simply being printed, thus weakening the dollar and hyper inflation is around the corner. By the time the young liberals evolve into conservatives, the damage has been done and they will pay for this administrations attempts to transform America from an evil capitalist society to a wonderful socialist one. Just like the former U.S.S.R. Cuba,

and othe rthird world contries. Notice the politicians have exempted themselves from the very laws and actions they impose on everyone else?


Lita C. Malicdem profile image

Lita C. Malicdem 7 years ago from Philippines

"Strapped"- everybody is! Thanks for this informative hub. Yes, let's just count our blessings, no matter how small they are.You did a good review of Draut's. Carry on and maintain the top longer.


web 7 years ago

thanks for this amazing work


Lady Painter profile image

Lady Painter 7 years ago

Jennifer, great hub! Check out my hub "Too Much Stuff", I'm certain you will enjoy the read.


Karen Banes profile image

Karen Banes 7 years ago from Canada

Great hub. I'm not American, nor do I live in the States, and I'm not for one minute implying that 20 and 30 somethings elsewhere aren't struggling too, but having to pay so much for a college education, often expensive childcare, and, of course, that all-important health insurance does make it more difficult for young Americans, compared to (eg) some European countries with free or heavily subsidized college education, subsidized childcare and universal health care. Will be reading this book when I get the chance.


nadine_stowne profile image

nadine_stowne 7 years ago

Wow, that book has a good point. I think it also has a lot to do with what field a person goes into. I've heard college students talking about what to major in. Most of them are looking for careers that are not well known but will pay out well. In other words, they are looking to make money instead of finding a career that they will love. This is sad, but probably extremely smart of them to do if they want to get ahead of the money game and support their families in the future.


Woman 7 years ago

Excellent Hub. Enjoyed


Emme West profile image

Emme West 7 years ago

Thanks for this hub raising an important issue. Life is expensive in America. Most young & working Americans cannot easily afford heath care, college, housing, raising a family or paying many of life's expenses. Out the door of college, graduates are often expected to accept non-paid internships. Even with a degree in Journalism, it is difficult to find a job that pays much more than minimum wage. The divide between upper class Americans and the rest of us is unfortunately very high and growing. I am interested in what Draut's solution is.


hosea6:6 7 years ago

I agree


smjaegerr profile image

smjaegerr 7 years ago from Dallas, TX

Very interesting, indeed. I just did the last few semesters of my MA on the monthly payment plan that my university offered--an extra $900 a month is a big extra, however, I'm happy to not have that money added to my already heaping student loan debt.


angellove24 profile image

angellove24 7 years ago from United States, somewhere where the winters are nice and the summers are hot

It's sad that a college education doesn't even gurantee a middle class life these days.


successfulblogger profile image

successfulblogger 7 years ago from Los Angeles,Ca

Excellent points.


Great Wide Open profile image

Great Wide Open 7 years ago from The Astral Plane

good job.


Fresh_Flower profile image

Fresh_Flower 7 years ago from London

Good hub, I have master degree in economy - I went to university for 5 years and still it's a real hard time to find a good, well paid job. The competition is extremely hard.... When I see some old friends from high school that maybe waren't the smartest guys in class - they tell me that they work as construction workers, electricians etc. and they make good money, more than me. No study debts and just a simple high school diploma. Life is not fair...


boorussell profile image

boorussell 7 years ago from Hollister, California

very true , great hub i had to move in with my girlfriends mom. now I'm going to college. The only reason i could afford it was because of my gi bill. i still don't have a job. i have a military background and that usually gets me through the door but nowadays all employers want to see is degree of this or degree of that. thanks for the book note. ill try to find it


md.khader 7 years ago

thats was very good


H P Roychoudhury profile image

H P Roychoudhury 7 years ago from Guwahati, India

“High cost of health insurance” is one of the big problems of the present day. It is not a problem in other develop country like UK or Canada or even in a under developed country like India. Government should do something positive for health insurance. Thanks for sharing.


PurpleOne profile image

PurpleOne 7 years ago from Canada

I live in Canada and it is hard for us 20- and 30- somethings to get ahead here too. I am 28 now and am starting to do well now but it seemed to take forever to get here and up until just very recently, I was relying on my parents for everything which was not good on the self-esteeem for one thing. Times have changed! I'm not saying that our parents had a super easy time either but yes, I think things must have been easier back then.


Holt profile image

Holt 7 years ago

Hi Jennifer,

I am very new to HubPages only joining two days ago however I was fortunate to stumble onto your article this morning. It immediately struck a chord as it chimes nicely with a subject that is currently close to my heart.

My wife and I are now in our 50s and sad to say we are far from financially secure. I am employed by the University of Birmingham on a 3 year contract which ends in January 2010. Whilst they are looking to redeploy me the prospect of that happening seems slim as the market is flooded with young highly qualified graduates with loans to pay off.

I am not sure what the answer is but it does seem to me that if you have not got your finances sorted out before you are fifty you are going to struggle. Unfortunately it appears to me that as you get beyond 50 your value diminishes and with it the notion of a comfortable retirement.

Keith (The Archer)


Carol the Writer profile image

Carol the Writer 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

A big problem is the amount we have to pay in taxes, leaving little left.- Carol


darktriangle profile image

darktriangle 7 years ago

It's very hard to be bright AND ambitious...the ultimate hurdle


ModalSoul profile image

ModalSoul 7 years ago from Bay Area, California

As a part of the 20's and young people in America, I must say that there is a lot of pressure that I feel these days. I had a student loan taken out my freshman year in college and I recently had to take a semester off to work to save up some money and pay some bills, but since I haven't been in school I have to start paying back my student loan and it is extremely difficult for me to switch from working to going to school and trying to balance both, but I realize that this is the world that I live in and I have to find a way to deal with this.

Especially for the fact that I am wanting to be independent from my parents' financial situation (they have just turned 40 and are struggling still to keep up with bills and debt) it is hard not to have them to turn to when you need that little bit of help.


Xim profile image

Xim 7 years ago

I'm 30 and just got married a few months ago. And yeah, I can relate with a lot of what this book is talking about. I'm graduated and I paid my way though college, but it took 7 years. Now we're starting to look at buying a home and the prices are astronomical (yes, even with real estate being so low right now). It really makes me wonder how you're supposed to do this whole "American Dream" thing.

A college education, taxes, buying a home, more taxes... and debt. Debt is the real trap. It will drag you down and hold you back more than anything else. Oh yeah, and add to that parents who have no/not enough retirement.

So how do you deal with it all? I have to echo Art West's comment above: look up Dave Ramsey. His Financial Peace University and his book The Total Money Makeover has completely changed the way my wife and I look at money. We've changed our finances around by following what he teaches and it really has given me a lot more hope for the future.


raradolly 6 years ago

I'm almost 25 now, and I thought that by now, I'd have things that I had always wanted for myself while growing up. And they're the simplest things I wanted, a small apartment, a few nice pairs of shoes and some nice outfits, a nice computer and a cintiq and a good job. I lived in Michigan almost my entire life and two years ago I jumped at the chance to move out to Socal with my boyfriend because almost everyone I knew from 18-45 had gotten laid off at their job in my home town. My credit was ruined because there was no work. As a result of being homeless after high school, and recovering from that just to have more hardship, I have delayed my college education until now. I decided finally that I didn't care about the money and debt, since I was already in it, and I just wanted to be happy and learn. Perhaps the one thing I find solace in is that I can draw and paint so very much better than I could even a year ago, and that constant improvement is encouraging to me.

My good friend who is in his mid 40s has been struggling for the last ten years to make ends meet, so much so that many times he had to ask his parents for rent money. He told me of a time his dad was upset and his dad said, "You went and got that expensive college degree and now you can't even pay your rent? I worked in a factory and bought my own house at the age of 25." My friend had to explain to his dad that things just aren't like that anymore. You practically can't even work a *good* job that you get from a college education and make ends meet. My friend is proof of it. I know for a long time I worked 40+ hours a week as a manager and I could hardly pay for just my car payment and insurance plus food, let alone rent or anything like that. I think in the future, it will be possible for me and my fiancé to scrape by, but we will never have nice things, and the things we do have that are nice, like the computer, will probably be the only things we have that are nice. I've found over the years it's really useful to learn as much as you can, like learn how to sew, learn how to build your own computers and fix them, learn how to cook like they did in the great depression, learn how to grow a garden and can your own food, learn how to drywall, paint walls, or lay tile, learn how to dye your own hair and do your own nails. I know how to do all these things now because I found it's cheaper to do a lot of those things yourself. And I am not considering a child, and won't because of the way that the world is presently. I just couldn't bring a child up into a world where they would suffer, I'd feel responsibility for that suffering and I guess I just couldn't deal with it.


Andrew 6 years ago

Wow the world is a crazy and wonderful place we can have anything we want but still we struggle. What is there to look forward to, bread lines, poverty, losing are homes or jobs. The future doesn’t’ look so good. Little by little we will scrap our way out of this mess and I mean little by little. The big payoff, that’s what got us here in the first place. I have been working with an organization that is there to help out. The money has been slow to make but it a long term investment in myself and people around me. Take a look it just might be part of the solution. : http://www.mypowermall.com/Biz/Home/71468

Yours truly: Andrew Black


Albertttt profile image

Albertttt 6 years ago

I enjoyed your blog.

Can I get you to take a look at my blob? Everything that I write has a humorous flavor to it.

Thanks.

http://hubpages.com/literature/Seinfield


mercon profile image

mercon 6 years ago

i dont know that


Love of Writing profile image

Love of Writing 6 years ago

Wow, great Hub. I am new here and I am 28 and also struggle financially. I just start to get ahead and something happens to drag me down again, it's very depressing and stressful...and to top it off, I want to be a writer (which can take awhile to make any money, if one does at all). Thanx for sharing.


Pozitivizt profile image

Pozitivizt 6 years ago

Thanks for sharing. This is a great post, with excellent points. Good luck with your endeavors!


Dan Carson profile image

Dan Carson 6 years ago

I worry about what the future holds for my daughters as they are currently in high school.


Get Free Visitors 6 years ago

fantastic


Mortgagestar1 profile image

Mortgagestar1 6 years ago from Weirton,West Virginia

Wait till you pay for this Administration's multitrillion dollar debt of capitalism to socialism transformation. By the time the twentysomes are in their fifties, you will pay over 70% in taxes from your wages. Bye bye to a better life than your parents or grandparents. Change You Can Believe In!


Darren Moverley profile image

Darren Moverley 6 years ago from Wales

This is fascinating and confirms a number of things I’ve suspected. I’m from the UK and the burdens facing twenty-and-thirty-somethings in the States is also true of the UK. Young people are encouraged to go to university to allegedly further their prospects, on average though, staggeringly, only 1 in 45 now find degree related employment. All come out saddled with debt they have little hope of paying off. The government here continue to encourage people to go into higher education, but as the economy continues to shrink, job prospects for graduates are becoming near non existent. The revenue generated from universities fees however must be a great source of income for the government. They are hardly likely to advise people not to go into higher education. Those who do find employment usually decide to get on the property ladder and are then tied into a faltering financial system. House prices here are now an average of £163,0000, driven up by a false economy.

The British government is now in over £389 billion of debt. America is no-doubt in similar financial disarray.

Our generation will be working a lot harder, for a lot longer for a lot less to get out of such horrendous debt. It is time we politicised ourselves so we at least have an idea that it isn’t the fault of the individual if they are not in a great position, it’s the fault of an inherently flawed system that we’ll only ever be a small component of. Only then will we be able to voice our disapproval as a collective and effect the hearts and minds of the baby bombers you mentioned


Ceasar2006 6 years ago

Really nice hub.


supermom_in_ny profile image

supermom_in_ny 6 years ago from NY

I faced this same problem every time I sought employment. I had circumstances that led me to drop out of college before I could finish. It doesn't matter if you attended if you didn't get the degree..

Gratefully, the earnings that come in from ventures on the internet help to supplement my income. So many people take on part time jobs, start home based businesses or find creative ways to make money on the side. We're lucky to have income. So many people have lost their employment...

BTW, great review.

:)


Laurih 6 years ago from Thailand

Unfortunately very true.

In Finland the university costs us around 80€ (120 US$) each year. Also students have extremely cheap health care. Removal of wisdom teeth was just 30€ (45 US$) for me. This is because the universities and schools are backed up by tax payers money. So we do have high taxes also, but I feel more and more that this is better way that generates more happiness and well-being than strictly "each for their own" system. Both have their benefits and draw-backs.

If you can, get a hold of the "Rich dad Poor Dad" book by Robert Kiyosaki and read at least the first 60 pages. It should get you interested as it simply explains why this situation is present and how to manage it. I don't usually suggest books about money etc. but this is something every high-school student should have read in schools (also in Finland, we live in same economy even if our schools are cheaper).


OregonWino profile image

OregonWino 6 years ago

Great Hub!! I think that the younger generations plight is going to keep getting worse as they are burdened with our out of control spending and dept.


scheng1 6 years ago

interesting point about politics.

Now that politicians are more Internet savvy, the young adults can get their voice heard.


shinujohn2008 6 years ago

very nice advice


Tamarind 6 years ago

This is very true and I am living it. Thanks for the information. I have heard of this book.


Karina S. profile image

Karina S. 6 years ago from USA

GREAT HUB, I am also interested in personal finances and in frugal living and saving money and I decided to organize a competition for best post about it. Winner gets a prize.

May interest you. visit my hub and see. Thanks K.


Thomas Catmark profile image

Thomas Catmark 6 years ago

I agree that unemployment of the younger part of our society is a huge problem that cannot be patronized. The young generation sometimes think about a job like something light and unnecessary, and older people think that it is something essential and very basic to sustain human existence. Maybe that could make more people unemployment?


Albertttt profile image

Albertttt 6 years ago

Nice one.

Can I get you to look at my hub? (humor)

http://hubpages.com/literature/Seinfield

Albert


BETTY 6 years ago

I am the mother of a 41 yr old and of a [soon to be] 31 yr. old and the difference is like night and day. My oldest, a daughter, holds 4 degrees, is an employed medical professional and makes an above average salary. My youngest is my son who is 'strapped' with student loans, been laid off over a year [in our state that has over 10% unemployment] and is trying to get his own graphic design business off the ground. I am retired from state gov. and my check "WAS" stretching to help him cover his bills. He, too, currently shares an apartment with a friend he grew up with, who is in the same situation. BUT about 10 mos. ago I found a network marketing company that is....well, suffice to say it was a God-send. All three of us are involved and it is making a real difference in all of our lives, with great financial promise. I was the one who showed this to my children. And I cannot, for the life of me, understand why so many 'educated' people cannot see the handwriting on the wall when it comes to this current economy. There is a paradigm shift taking place in this country and corporate America is already changing. Things are not going back to 'what was' and people that will survive this will be the ones who change with it. Yes, there are scams. But network marketing is NOT the 4 letter word people think. A few years ago no one had heard of a "GOOGLE". Would you have bought stock in it? Don't you wish you had?? Do your research and look ahead and stop looking behind. I am well beyond 'baby boomer' age and my kids tell me most mothers are not like me. Their friends tell me they wish their parents were open like me - because I am now showing them how to position themselves; and they are coming out of their financial woes. So, I would say: "Open up" and think outside of the box, if you plan to survive.

The corporate moguls are going to do what helps them to survive - NOT YOU. History dictates that more millionaires are made in economic depression than at any other time. Why? Because the playing field is leveled. And it can be done at any age. I am an example of that.


jack_the_writer 6 years ago from Central Ohio

Great but discouraging Hub, Jen

It doesn't get better by age 50, even with a master's degree. In fact, it's gotten worse. We all need to think out of the box and turn financing of college education upside down and figure out a way to reduce young adults' need to rely on so much credit and debt to get ahead. It isn't fair to them and they certainly won't have much to look forward to if those working through their 50s can no longer look forward to pensions or debt-free retirements.


nearndearcaprcrn profile image

nearndearcaprcrn 6 years ago from Texas

Your words were understanding and realistic. I am in my third year of college and I can't help but to think about the amount of debt when I finish and how long will it actually take to pay it back, especially with a low paying job. Thanks for shedding light on the matter.


ashimajain profile image

ashimajain 6 years ago from India

Excellent post! I really enjoyed reading it. I will be back for more!


lgreenberger profile image

lgreenberger 6 years ago from Phoenix, AZ

Very interesting hub, thanks!


lgreenberger profile image

lgreenberger 6 years ago from Phoenix, AZ

Very interesting hub, thanks!


Miss Mitsuko profile image

Miss Mitsuko 6 years ago

I completely agree with your views. I am just now going into college and I have already started looking for ways to be on my own. I would like to believe I can afford to start a family and have myself situated before I hit 30 but as the time draws closer each year I get more and more weary of how I am going to make this happen.


evan26 profile image

evan26 6 years ago

In Australia the government pays for university then takes a small percentage out of your wage when you are earning over a certain amount.


evan26 profile image

evan26 6 years ago

In Australia the government pays for university then takes a small percentage out of your wage when you are earning over a certain amount.


fotozoi 6 years ago

This is all true. In fact, I have come to the opinion that having a job in corporate America is almost the riskiest thing you can do. As you get closer to the top of an organization, the politics gets unbearable at the very least. The worst part is that it's uncontrollable.

I am in I.T. and all throughout my career I have been fortunate to make some pretty good money. Although, for the last 3 years or so, I have realized the need for a back-up plan. I began investing in real estate (some good and some bad) and involving myself with entrepreneurs. In January of 2009, I was laid-off very unexpectedly. Fortunately, I had been preparing for a moment like that for some time and immediately started a web business. The fact that I didn't spend everything I made all these years made the past year possible for me to do this

www.fotozoi.com has just launched and I hope we have some success with it. Either way, I hope to never have to go back to corporate America.

Remember this, it's not how much you make, it's how much you spend. Once you're expenses are under your passive income, you're financially free. Then you're mind is also free to come up with alternative sources for funding your life.


Energy Guild profile image

Energy Guild 6 years ago from Ripon, WI

This is a well thought out hub. Good stuff.


Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 6 years ago from Texas, USA

Good information my heart goes out to the 20 and 30 year old crowd trying to go after the American dream. Seems like its getting harder to get. Even if you graduate and get a job you are stuck with a mountain of student loan debt.


Cathleena profile image

Cathleena 6 years ago from USA

I can certainly identify with all of this. My son and I were just on the phone trying to straighten out his situation. He forgot to cancel a $7.95 monthly registration. Since he was out of work for awhile funds went down to nearly nothing, so he was kicking himself for not remembering the membership since it cost him an NSF fee. He's now working, so we are expecting things to improve soon for him.

This economy has been really painful for many.


skillguru 6 years ago

Well young Americans have connected with politicians. We have one of the youngest president who understands the challenges country faces.


OpinionDuck profile image

OpinionDuck 6 years ago

How does anybody get ahead?


trsmith profile image

trsmith 6 years ago from Rapid City, SD

Very true. I'm a 29 year old mother of three and everything applies. Finding a job is hard enough and keeping the bills payed is next to impossible. My boyfriend and I both agree that we just feel like we're digging ourselves deeper and deeper and it's hard to stay positive that we'll ever get ahead. I'm definitely going to read this book.


bonnebartron profile image

bonnebartron 6 years ago from never one place for too long

Thanks for this hub! It is really hard to be young in this country... Harder yet if that young person has decided on a path and is working toward that dream. It's easy to get diverted because of the lack of opportunitys...


Corvis profile image

Corvis 6 years ago from Florida

I know this story all too well. I just got a Master's Degree and a TON of debt. Where I live, there are NO jobs for someone with my qualifications. This area is bloated with low-paying service jobs and go-nowhere temp positions. Basically, we are paying to become slaves. I can't even get most of the crap jobs now, because I'm overqualified. You put in the work, pay your dues, then find out you've slipped through the cracks.


Reviloh profile image

Reviloh 6 years ago from SF, CA. USA

I just quit my job of 7 years at a grocery store that was going nowhere. There are no jobs to be found with a B.A. in psychology. I'm doing my best to try and feel free instead of trapped. I cashed out my retirement plan and paid off my credit card today. I am completely debt free, with no income, and have $12,000 to my name. In a weird way I feel like I've broken out of the cycle you describe; however, not by getting ahead. I don't think I wanna get ahead here. The inherent problem in our culture is that success is measured by the discrepancy between the rich and poor. Therefor, there must be a poor population that some can "get ahead" of. I think that we americans are too greedy and need to live more modestly and have more humble tendencies. I think its time for us all to reevaluate.


teddy 6 years ago

This is an intersting and well written .Thanks for this hub.


cade 6 years ago

I'm glad it isn't that way here in Oz - in no way do you have to go to collage to get a job, there are so many different institutions to help sort out what you want to do and help you get there.


bgamall profile image

bgamall 5 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

I wrote about having a smaller family or even eliminating a family because we have some financial problems now, with a weakened dollar, that we haven't had to such a degree before. America was always strong. Now America is a lot weaker. Young people need to protect themselves.


AnkushKohli profile image

AnkushKohli 5 years ago from India

Good information my heart goes out to the young people today. Students that are very motivated to stay in school are getting hit with such outrageous fee hikes. It's really a good Hub for them.


john000 profile image

john000 4 years ago from Superior, Arizona

Sectors of our economy have been overly aggressive in seeking increases in income. Look at the inflation rate at universities and look at the increases in salaries for professors et al. Medicine is the same. Every doctor seems to think that he is entitled to 1/5 to 2 million bucks a year. Lawyers fees are all the same - have you noticed? And there are more lawyers per capita in this country than anywhere in the world. Protected sectors of this country have been able to lay it on those sectors not organized - it isn't anything new.

Vote for term limits, regulation on officials turning to lobbyists, and vote for reform of "professional organizations" (read unions) that suggest (dictate) fees.

There is a fight acomin'.

Good hub.

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