Every once in a while I read an article that leaves me speechless. This is one such article. [Excuse me while I go weep in a corner.]
We bought a fixer-upper. I was a first-time home-owner. I honestly had no realistic idea of what I was getting myself into. I don’t have any major regrets about the house or the projects we’ve done but homeownership is, on the whole, a lot of more work and a lot more expensive than I’d imagined it would be.
I see it every single day in my work – those earning top salaries deal with the same financial wellness demons as their lower-wage-earning counterparts. Lifestyle inflation, destructive money scripts, and other self-sabotaging behaviors and habits are issues that cross all gender, race, educational, and economic lines.
In the US, women are paid less than men. Black women are paid less than their white counterparts. And LGBTQ women are paid less than the cis-gendered population. At the bottom of this steaming pile of vile, systemic discrimination and bias and hate are transgender people who, even in a tight employment market, face a 15% unemployment rate. According to this article, “in most states you can still be fired for being LGBTQ.”
No amount of budgeting and financial literacy will fix the systemic, structural inequities present in our financial system. That doesn’t mean we, as individuals, should give up, not budget, not learn or care… we need to work to effect change on both a macro and a micro level.
I learned early in life that being seen as intelligent and competent had much more to do with one’s gender, skin color, and personality than actual intelligence or demonstrated level of skill. The study discussed in this article is just verifying what most of us already know: classism and elitism are alive and well in America.
Surprise, surprise! It’s not the much touted tropes of financial indiscretion keeping millennials out of the housing market, it’s structural and systemic policies coming back to bite a generation that had no hand in the policy-making.
This is not the time nor the place to re-litigate my arguments in favor of higher education. I’ll let the arguments and supporting data in this article do the work for me.
Why can nothing be simple? We Americans make everything so complicated. Our collective, internalized, securlarized Calvinism is constantly at odds with our love of conspicuous consumption. We don’t take vacations because the new status symbol is being too busy and indispensable to take time off work. And, yet, when we do vacate, we’re spending more than ever on our vacations.
Adding to the complexity, how many Jacks and Janes are still paying for their last vacation and how long will they pay compounding credit card interest on this summer’s getaway?
Millennials have every right to be pissed at the Baby Boomer generation. Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman and their collective Prosperity Gospel Bootstrap bullshit are reason enough.