“Guys are saying that college is a scam and a man can waste his 20s goofing off and partying. That advice is based in large part on the common human mindset that the party never ends. You simply do not have as much time as you think.”
“The best approach for a young man is to work at a soul-crushing career while he acquires capital. Stash cash and start looking into a side business. Treat yourself like an income-producing asset. Invest in yourself. Instead of getting married and buying a white-picket fence for your little princess, buy an investment property.”
“If you’re building a business or buying properties in your 20s, 30s, and 40s, then it won’t matter if you are squeezed out in your 50s. Indeed, because you’ll have a safety net established, you’ll be able to attempt bigger jumps.”
Do not buy into the hype that college is a scam or that you can screw around working 4 hours a week. Work hard while you are young and have energy. Sooner than you’ll want to believe, pulling an all-nighter will be a little taste of Hell.”
It’s an important topic for young men, because most of the career advice they’re getting is shit.
Middle-aged people today, i.e. baby boomers, can only give advice based on what worked for them thirty years ago. Successful baby boomers look at their degree of financial security, at their own quality of life, and they think their success qualifies them to advise teenagers and twenty-somethings on their career choices today. But here’s the thing: Times change. Boomers came of age in a very different economy than us.
I was talking to a friend of mine on the way home from hockey the other night. He just got engaged (yeah, I know) and our conversation turned towards his future plans for buying a house, having kids, and all that great stuff.
“You know, it’s almost like… I just don’t know how anybody can afford anything right now. [Fiance] and I still have $XX,XXX in student loans. At the rate we’re paying it off and saving, we won’t be able to buy a house for at least five years. I’m not saying it’ll be impossible for us, but it’s going to be hard. And if it’s hard for us, who the hell is it going to be easy for?”
My friend and his wife-to-be both have solid, well-paying careers that they’re doing quite well in. They live in a modest one-bedroom apartment and drive a ten-year old car. They don’t take expensive vacations. She doesn’t have a closet full of designer clothes. He doesn’t have a $40,000 motorcycle. Neither of them have expensive drug habits. They are pretty much the archetype of responsible, thrifty, hard-working upper-middle class young people who made all the right decisions in life, who are doing better for themselves than 90% of their peers, and who live in a pretty affordable city. Still, they are cruising up into their thirties, uncertain if they’ll ever be able to afford a basic middle-class lifestyle: A decent house in a good neighbourhood, decent schools for their kids, and a comfortable retirement.
And this is just our little worm’s-eye view snapshot of what life on the ground is for our generation. Take a step back and the picture becomes even more grim. Dried-up pension funds, looming sovereign debt and currency crises, free enterprise choking on taxes and regulation, immigration and offshoring pushing down working class wages, crime and civil unrest lurking around the corner. Millennials, make no mistake: The world you inhabit is much harder than the one our flower-power parents grew up in, and probably destined to get much, much harder in our lifetimes.
The party, such as it was, is over.