Today’s post comes from Amanda Abella, a personnel administrator for a Miami-based employment agency and a freelance writer. When she is not helping recruiters or writing for clients, she runs Grad Meets World, a popular Gen Y blog where she discusses health, career, personal finance, entrepreneurship, and more. She is also the author of the highly anticipated ebook Grad Meets World Ultimate Guide: The First Year Out of College.
As members of “The Lost Generation” we are constantly being told how screwed we really are. How our unemployment rates are through the roof. How we’ll be lucky to get Social Security. How we’re never going to retire. How we’ll never make enough money. How we’re lazy and entitled. Etc, etc, etc.
Consequently, so called “experts” are always trying to give us advice – albeit mostly horrible advice – but advice none the less. Granted, some of the advice given to us is golden and proven to be true through decades of experimenting. However, there are just words of wisdom we really should stop listening to.
1. Pay attention to the news. It will make you an informed human being.
One of the first things I tell Millennials who read my blog is to stop paying attention to the news. It won’t really make you all that informed, it’ll just scare the pants off of you.
Let me explain. Have you ever noticed how no one ever really mentions when the stock market is having a decent day? Instead they focus on unemployment numbers. On the other hand, when stocks are tumbling it’s really all they talk about for hours on end. This in turn scares young investors like ourselves and makes us feel hopeless as we come of age during what seems like an impending financial shiz show of apocalyptic doom.
I’m not a conspiracy theorist by any means, but I can see that our media outlets are sensationalized. If you really need to know the headlines of the day just ask around. There’s really no need to spend hours brooding over whatever the news says.
Stop putting so much emphasis on the news and watch how much less stressful your life becomes. Remember, we’re not the first generation to go through hard times and we certainly won’t be the last.
2. Don’t invest in this volatile market.
I understand that many of you are scared when you see that stock ticker at the bottom of the screen, but this could quite possibly be the worst advice I’ve ever heard. If you are in your 20s there’s no reason you shouldn’t be trying your best to max out that 401k, IRA or brokerage account. In fact I can give you three great reasons why you SHOULD be investing.
A. You’re young. You have plenty of time to ride out the markets. Markets that proved to be resilient over the entire course of the 20th century amid a dozen recessions, The Great Depression and countless expensive military events.
B. If your employer is matching any of your 401k contribution you’d be giving up free money. (This one’s the real kicker, guys!)
C. Investing over time will still yield a higher return than the measly interest rates we’re getting from banks (a topic for another time).
Sure, it’s kind of scary right now, but to quote Warren Buffet who put it so brilliantly, “Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful.”
3. Don’t bother starting your own business, it’ll fail.
This article made my freakin’ blood boil. As someone who makes extra money by running her own side business I was taken aback by the sheer asinine tone of this article. How dare you tell an entire generation that they’re entrepreneurship endeavors will fail? Why would we stop building and creating work for ourselves, ESPECIALLY during a down economy where we can’t find those beloved corporate America jobs to begin with?
Learn this now and learn it well: businesses don’t fail, people do. We’ve got generations worth of small businesses that have proven that time and time again. And really, just take a look around the Internet and you’ll see plenty of bright eyed Millennials who have found a way to make a living by CREATING work for themselves. Does it take some balls and hard work? Absolutely. But it’s no where near as impossible as people make it seem.
Quite frankly, when you find a way to make your own money you’re not only being resourceful, you’re also pretty damn smart given the current state of the economy.
This isn’t mom and dad’s market anymore. The rules have changed for Gen Y and it’s about high time we start getting some advice that is in line with the situation we have at hand today.
What do you think?
Photo Credit: Reuben via Creative Commons