Some thoughts on Millennials and the economy

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I generally avoid politics on this blog, because there’s no need for yet another place for people to get angry.

But today I want to address what seems like a creeping demoralization among Millennials, in particular, that’s causing them to question capitalism.

There’s no doubt that Millennials have had it pretty rough. Many of them came into adulthood during the Great Recession, in some ways the worst possible time to begin a career. And they’re living through a structural shift in the economy, wherein low- and even medium-skill jobs are being outsourced or wiped out by technology, leaving mostly low-paying service jobs.

So I don’t think that Millennials are crazy… capitalism hasn’t really worked well for them.

And yet this country is still brimming with opportunity. Everywhere I look, there are opportunities for people with even a little bit of drive and ambitions to make money by improving the ways that basic goods and services are provided.

How do I know? Because:

  1. We are the victims of a number of horrific vendors whom I can’t replace because their competitors are also pretty bad;
  2. We are the customer of a bunch of small businesses and tradesmen who make very good money by providing really top-notch services; and
  3. In our brokerage and property management businesses, I see ambitious people working really hard and getting ahead in roles which can honestly be done by someone with a highschool education (so long as she / he is energetic, organized, and good at sales)

So, why the disjunction between the way Millennials feel and the opportunities out there in the market? I think it’s mostly a disjunction between expectations and reality. If you go to college expecting that that would put you on easy street, this economy sucks.

But if you come into adulthood knowing you’re going to have to bust your ass to make something for yourself, then you should know there’s still plenty of opportunity in this country to do just that.

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