Money in the Middle

Sandwich Generation Talking About Money Up, Down and Across Generations

Baby Boomers: Leave Your Kids Alone

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 A 24-year-old turning down a $40,000 job for fear it will short-circuit his future.  Really?  That’s the story on the front page of the NYTimes.  It’s been bugging me ever since I read it. 

Here’s why. 

* We all make choices about jobs.  Don’t understand his, especially in this market, but you gotta do what you gotta do. He will learn.  But let’s not paint a whole generation of young people with the same brush.  I think Generation Y is pretty savvy and display some of the same attitudes and values about work and money as their grandparents – not their baby boomer parents. 

* What are Mom and Dad thinking? I’m big on letting young adults find their own path and make their own decisions.  But supporting them fully financially – so they have no incentive to move forward – doesn’t help them – or their parents.  Many Baby boomers seem to be excelling at trying to live their children’s lives.  Let him make his choice,  But also let him live with the financial ramifications of that decision.

 * The article headline – American Dream is Elusive for a New Generation.  Every bit of research I’ve seen on Generation Y and the future of work and retirement says that expectations are different.  This is a generation that knows that they will have many different jobs and probably careers.  Traditional career ladders don’t exist.  You move up, across, down, up – whichever way takes you to the next opportunity. Theirs is a different dream.

 I wish Scott Nicholson well in figuring out his career path.  At the same time I hope that his baby boomer parents start letting him feel the financial consequences of his decisions.  

 We may think that by providing full  financial support to our adult children we’re helping them.  We’re not.

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Written by Laura Rossman

July 8, 2010 at 6:45 pm

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