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Millennial Permies

 
pollinator
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i find it pretty interesting how GenX almost always gets left out of these sorts of conversations...being the small wedge between the boomers and millenials.  also being the generation i was born into (1973).

maybe it's fitting, X as in unknown value? X as in crossed out -do we even count??!!??
i know that many in my generation do feel that we don't have the representation we should, no one seems to count us, we are actively discounted, undervalued...
and caught in the middle of the huge boomer group and the millennials.

I also know most of those whom i know/knew in my generation felt similarly to the millennials now...in that it was so so so so much harder for us to start off than it was for our parents, and there was a complete lack of recognition for that.. more like....that it was our fault if we couldnt just get it together....or come back with snark about we were "slackers"...

and it was very big difference...our parents grew up in a time of one wage earner in the household was enough to have at least a decent place to lay your head and the neccessities....even unskilled, begining type work, min wage slavery...was at least a decent trade off for one earner...and could buy land cheap cheap if you were willing to hunt for it or be in rural place, start small......there were just so many more possibilities and opportunities for the boomers...and especially with equity, land inflation...and flipping houses etc...is the way a lot of the boomers got their wealth...off of Gen X paying their mortgages in rent and buying their overinflated priced homes...

somewhat less like that now...but then that was the way it felt then...and was then. things had gotten so much harder, and it felt like this invisible priveledge that the boomers didnt see...just being young at a time when life was a good deal easier. now not easy, i dont think theres even been a time of that...but it was started to be the way it is now.


and then i think too...its becoming much much much harder in those same ways...now it is really getting to be like...even 2 people working and saving and making good choices...can hardly buy land or have decent housing.

i think the plain truth is that most of the Gen X ers and Millennials who are doing ok have LOTS of help from parents and family/inheritance/gifted down payments. i think...well i think maybe people are a bit shy about disclosing things like that, just how much help does a person get from the 'rents, like there should be shame or people are a bit defensive about disclosing such....but i guess i feel that it should be out there more...actually admittedly i could even say for many people i have known...this is the big factor in how well their hand played...how much help from their parents and family did they get...which you know thats ok, good for them...but then dont snub your nose at those who have never had that help or much luck...or turn around and act like it should be easy...or to perpetuate the dying myths that if you just work hard you can make it...so if someone's not making it they are losers, not trying hard enough.....

and who also maybe dont have the bravery to go for the life they really want...

well i sat down to write something completely different, but ah sigh...here's my 2 cents anyway
 
pollinator
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I don't think there's much point in putting a lot of energy into figuring out how other people got to where they are. I know some who have inherited some money and I know many more who earned their own.

When I look at the cohort that came through school with my older daughter, most started out at about the same point financially. Some put their nose to the grindstone and got to work and some had a few party years. A few of them had children quite young. There is corresponding disparity in income and their ability to save.

We are constantly bombarded with the idea that we need to upgrade. Get better housing, a better vehicle, better clothing and better electronics. Most of us, will see an increase in income over time. If we can just resist the temptation to upgrade prematurely, money can be saved.

There's a joke that was going around a few years ago. What do almost all broke people have in common? ...They have spent all of their money.... Of course a few people have their money stolen or they have some other calamity that takes it all. In the US that is often to do with failing health. But if a person is healthy and hasn't been robbed, then that sort of narrows down the causes of brokenness.

When we do something that is wildly successful, most of us are very willing to take credit for that. When things don't go so well, there's a tendency to look for causes beyond our control.
 
gardener
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It often feels to me that there is a goal to always frame society in the "us vs. them" mindset. Perhaps it feels better to be part of a team, even if that means you're against other teams that are your family, friends, and neighbors. Or perhaps it's a way to frame whatever message is being promoted by those trying to shape social conversations. I see lots of articles referenced online about "how millenials are ruining XYZ industry" because they have different shopping habits than baby boomers. Or how some group has it / had it easier. I believe every generation has a different experience due to population change, technology change, social change, and current events like war and economics.

Certainly housing prices have risen over the decades, and continue to rise. When the population doubles and gravitates to the coasts, demand will soar for the same amount of land so prices soar too. Then you get the investor buyers going after that increasing capital value that can be rented on top. There are lots of affordable houses in the midwest, but lots of people want to be in the big cities so they either pay high prices or commute hours each way. I see my home town still has houses for the price I paid in the '90s or not much more, and the pay has gone up since then. What I made back then when I bought my first place is now below the poverty line today. I make twice as much where I live now than I would in the midwest, but my house in a decent part of town is about 4 times more than it would be in the midwest due to the demand here near the coast.

As a Gen-X I don't think my parents had anything easier, they are "the silent generation" just before baby boomers and they both worked hard to provide and didn't live extravagant lives. They helped me as much as they could so I could go to college without too much student loan debt, and I worked hard after college to get myself "on the front of the wave" as I'd put it- working 2 or 3 jobs 60-80 hours a week total to pay off the student loans, car payment, and credit card, and save up enough so that I had a couple months worth of expenses available. Then everything can be put on cruise control as far as auto paying bills and maintaining the car, and not being 1 unforseen expense away from disaster. I  was able to pay off a lot when my phone was attached to a wall and base service was $10/month, and had no cable TV and the internet was still a BBS system over dialup (grin). I had about $10/week disposable income for a year as I paid off and saved, and it helped not having any free time between working and sleeping-no time to spend money!

I know millenials and Gen Z/iGen young people who are going to be hard-pressed to get their own place right out of school in this area (SoCal has one of the worst ratios of income vs housing costs when you are in the big cities) but I was renting a little 1 bedroom place near "the ghetto" area of town right out of school to save. The biggest question I have is whether they get trained in a field that has the demand to pay well. I know one young man who was training and getting certified as a welder but he quit at 80% through for an easier option doing odd jobs that appears to be part time and he's back at home waiting for something better to come along. His sister has been working hard going to school full time while working and just graduated in IT, and her employment options are looking pretty good. I see a definite difference in their outlooks, he tends to frame life as being a victim of circumstance and she is more pragmatic and puts in the work to "be lucky". Everyone's situation differs, but I see a definite shift into a much more consumer society at least in the USA, where everything is framed around the product, which in many cases is the customer (looking at you, Facebook!). Young people are definitely targeted by questionable business practices like no-credit credit card offers that are expected to be paid off by parents, and the hard push for a 4 year college degree when a 1-2 year technical/trade degree would actually be far more lucrative but doesn't make the schools and lenders as much money so it's not marketed or even put in a bad light.

Unemployment is at the lowest it's been for a long time, but there are a lot of underemployed people working retail/food jobs because they can't find a job in their field of study and/or they aren't able or willing to move to another city to make that happen. My first move was around 700 miles, and the next was maybe 1000+ further. Moving sucks, especially across the country but it opened more doors and sometimes that's what is needed. Or you find a lot of young people who are disenfranchised by the whole system and don't want to participate, but there's not as many options for sufficient income to save up and buy your own land. Honestly, to assume someone is going to get out of highschool and buy enough land to farm it successfully feels a bit naive. I say that because it's not just growing enough food to eat, assuming you preserve enough to last all year and you grow enough extra to account for the inevitable failed crops due to weather and animals/bugs/disease/etc. You also have to grow enough to buy all the other things like clothes and transportation and phone/internet/youNameIt that you aren't growing. So now there's the need for a business plan and getting product to market in enough quantity and quality, or with enough niche, to generate a profit. It's a lot of work, and perhaps that's why it's easier to just focus of growing 50,000 bushels of soy or corn with massive machines, so you can drop it off at the 1 buyer that is always there. Those farmers tend to have a second job as well, to pay the bills because farming isn't profitable even on larger scales. My uncle has several hundred acres on a couple properties, but it's my understanding the farm breaks even after the tax write-offs and expenses, and my aunt's accounting career is what paid most of the bills.

Ideally a plan or roadmap could be developed for working towards a different social/cultural system that makes people the owners and not the product, that focuses on industry that regenerates natural resources instead of exploiting it, and creates a net gain overall. I think that it will be extremely tough considering it will go counter to the current system which has a lot of financial momentum behind it. But I see some good starts, like taking back food production rights such as raising and selling raw milk in more counties/states, despite push back at the federal level. I think the midwest has the best balance of cost and favorable climate, and if enough people pool their resources maybe they can get their own financial momentum going. It will certainly take a village, if everyone tries to go it alone without already having plenty of money for everything it will be frustrating. Getting those 20 people to all work together and get along well enough to make it work long term is also tough. Actual isolated villages have the benefit of consisting of extended families and enough people who can't just pack up and leave so they can survive, but many small towns go into an economic death spiral and everyone leaves. It's a matter of rebuilding society and not a simple fix. Not many of us are taught a skill or trade that we enjoy, that is also needed by society. And the average 18 year old rarely knows what their passions are, besides other naked 18 year olds!
 
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I think the biggest struggle in breaking away from the main stream is finding your people.  My experience tells me that you just have to trust yourself and follow your desire and the people aligned with what you're after will show up. Same goes for a "job" or land or a partner or anything you feel strongly about
 
Dale Hodgins
pollinator
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I think it's pretty easy to find people of like mind, when you're looking. Money is always the most difficult thing to find. Once you get the money under control, that's when everything else falls into place. And I think that's true whether you want to be a farmer, landlord or a manufacturer.

I don't have any emotional problems or problems with my health. So, for me, money is the solution to every problem I can think of. Which is handy, because I know exactly what to do about that
 
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I'm a 24 year old millennial permie from the capital city of my little country and all but 7 permies that I know in real life are millennials. Only a few people I know own land but the rest of us are using urban plots, gurilla gardening and allotments to grow food. All of us who don't own land are in (mostly poor quality) rented accommodation and many are in  minimum wage jobs or unemployed.
I'm in Ireland and the UK though (I split my time) but I'd say there are more millennial permies here than older or younger ones
 
pollinator
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natasha todd wrote:I'm a 24 year old millennial permie from the capital city of my little country and all but 7 permies that I know in real life are millennials. Only a few people I know own land but the rest of us are using urban plots, gurilla gardening and allotments to grow food. All of us who don't own land are in (mostly poor quality) rented accommodation and many are in  minimum wage jobs or unemployed.
I'm in Ireland and the UK though (I split my time) but I'd say there are more millennial permies here than older or younger ones




That's great to hear! And very different from my experience in the US! I'm glad to hear you're all taking advantage of whatever resources you have available
 
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Jenn Bertrand wrote:I think the biggest struggle in breaking away from the main stream is finding your people.  My experience tells me that you just have to trust yourself and follow your desire and the people aligned with what you're after will show up. Same goes for a "job" or land or a partner or anything you feel strongly about



Definitely.  It takes patience.


In south FL there are definitely more younger permies than I'd imagine there are in the temperate regions.  I think being in a tropical climate makes it more obvious or appealing as a lifestyle.  People just love fruit in places where it's really hot.
 
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