Response to recent conversation

Atlanta Forward readers weren’t surprised to read last week that millennials — people between the ages of 22 and 32 — don’t foresee a bright financial future. Here are some comments posted under each participant’s screen name.

Dusty: Hurrah for the millennials. They are one smart bunch! They want to pay off their debts and get rid of that drag on their lives. If only our president and Congress could get the same fever. The U.S. is frittering around with the greatest debt known in history. Citizens feel that drag in every way. Yet the government keeps right on spending more and printing more worthless dollars. Perhaps the younger generations of our country will save us from bankruptcy. They sound smarter than the passing generation. So stop telling them not to worry about debt. They are smarter than that. Down with debt and debilitation.

An observer: So we have a two opinion articles written by two salesmen arguing for what? That millennials should not pay down their debts? Having the burden of a debt bill to pay each month or face bankruptcy or foreclosure is very stressful. Interest charges take away the potential to save. Millennials should limit their spending as much as they can to first establish an emergency cash fund; participate in a 401(k) plan to the extent an employer offers a match, and pay down debt before they consider much else. Once debt is paid off, they can consider spending a little more to live and “invest.” Bonds and stocks are low-return investments right now, until the federal government figures out what it is going to do to further manipulate the economy.

USC-69: The millennial generation is leaving college with a huge debt and reduced job opportunities. This is not entirely their fault. However, they have also been led to expect an easy road. How many have already held jobs and paid taxes? How many have purchased their own cars, paid their own rent and cooked their own food? Drive down Highland Boulevard and see the masses of millennials waiting to be fed in expensive restaurants. Check their shopping carts at the supermarket (if they happen to wander in there) — lots of frozen pizzas, beer and ready-mades. Do they understand markets, interest rates, value investing, Social Security, health care costs? Not much, from the conversations I have had. Many are whiners and have been indoctrinated in generational adversarial philosophy. They also are frequently poorly versed in important current events. This group may be easily molded by the right wing and could become dangerous. I think our educational system and parenting have let down the country, partially due to our own greed and lack of attention. What should be done at this point?

Jack: Put the money spent on lottery tickets, beer, cigarettes, sports events and movies in a savings account. You’ll be surprised at how fast it grows. Have a certain amount withheld from your paycheck to go into savings, and you’ll never miss it.

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