Middle Class Millennials Have Problems Too
Most people will read the title of this piece and think, "First world problems."
But understand that everyone, regardless of race, religion, gender, income and every other factor, has their own things to deal with. Millennials who are "lucky" enough to fall into the middle class socioeconomic category are no different.
One of the major issues we face is income. It's the root of all else that is negative in our lives.
Middle class income, for our generation, is large enough to make us not be considered poor and eligible for government help, but small enough that we're unable to afford some basic things you would assume should come standard in an advanced society such as the one we have here in the US.
When visiting the polling stations to vote for the candidate that will supposedly make life better this November 8, take into account what's at stake for the Millennial middle class.
Given the impending end of the world... sorry, I mean presidential election, here are five harsh realities about life that middle class Millennials should consider:
Health insurance is actually a luxury for which we are forced to pay.
Officially, it's called the Affordable Care Act and it was created to make healthcare affordable to all. Albeit with good intentions, Obamacare hasn't been so successful.
That's mainly because of a lack of bipartisan politics (every Republican member of Congress voted against Obamacare) and technical shortfalls when it was hastily put in place.
Now, if our employer doesn't offer good healthcare, we are left with few worthwhile private options or Obamacare. If you fall into the middle class demographic, you likely make too much money to receive government subsidies, but you can't afford to pay for decent healthcare either.
In some cases, it's actually cheaper and more practical to forego health insurance and pay the end of year fine if you're willing to take the risk that nothing serious will happen to you, which a lot of us are.
You either make too much or not enough to live in your own place.
If you're like me, you always wanted to live in the big city and find a cool apartment in a hip part of town, just like all the movies showed you could do.
Unfortunately, reality is a lot different than those idealistic movies where you could get a huge two-bedroom loft in Chelsea and pay for it with an average person's salary.
Given that the places with the jobs are the places with the highest rents, this poses a bit of an issue.
When a city starts to become more popular because of its low cost of living, people move there and the cost of living goes up.
And to make matters worse, developers are either building low-income housing where you can't earn over a certain income or high-end condos where you need to make six-figures just to afford the rent. There's no in between.
Now we're left searching Craigslist for the four-bedroom basement apartment to share with five other people and one bathroom.
The job market is a gauntlet of rejection and dejection.
Remember the days when you left college with that degree in hand and the possibilities were endless?
You could go wherever you wanted to go and no matter what, there would be a career waiting for you.
Me neither. That ship sailed before we had the pleasure of entering the job market.
Now internships are basically "entry-level," and "entry-level" requires at least three years of experience. Show that prospective employer a Bachelor's degree, and it's like you don't exist. Show them a Master's degree, and you would think you insulted their mother.
Standard now is working a full-time job with a part-time job at night and side odd jobs to make a couple bucks for food.
Although college doesn't guarantee a job anymore, you still have to go.
You're not special if you have a college degree, despite what your mom might tell you.
That big ceremony with the speakers, the president of the college encouraging you to go out and represent the school you called home for four or more years, the sweet graduation party that left you with a few hundred dollars to "get started" that you spent on booze anyway — it was all a charade to make you feel like you accomplished something truly life-altering.
In reality, you had to get that degree and you had to sign all of your future paychecks away to get it.
And what do you get by going all in for that piece of paper? An "entry-level" position at best, with a salary that doesn't even pay for rent and food. We're all swimming in an endless sea of debt.
At least it's nice to know the rest of our entire generation is swimming with us, right?
Retirement and death seem like distant dreams, too far away to consider real.
I recently read that the average life expectancy is now over 70 years worldwide. But considering advances in modern medicine, there's no reason to believe we're all not going to live to be over 100.
On top of that, retirement age (if there is such a thing) is supposedly 65. But let's be real: We're all going to be working until we can't function anymore or robots take all of the jobs.
So, basically, for the next 70 or so years, we're all going to be working from sun up to sun down, at least five days a week, just so we can keep paying off our student loans before dying and passing them on to our next of kin.
That just got way too real. Sorry, not sorry.