Jeff Edelstein: Better question is what wouldn’t I do for $30K
Volume 72, issue 4
I always thought millennials got a bad rap. This is coming from a straight-up Gen X’er, who dealt with the same crud these kids are going through today.
My generation was told we were lazy, that we thought the world owed us something, that we were part of a generation that was going to doom America.
Well, we aren’t, we don’t, and we didn’t. We’re a solid, if unspectacular generation. When history is written, two items will mark us. One is 9/11; it was the first real threat to America our generation witnessed. The second? The Crash of 2008, which we’re still dealing with. Speaking for myself and plenty of others I know, spending habits changed dramatically post-crash. Credit card bills got paid, dreams of bigger houses got dashed, belts got permanently tightened.
And it’s because of my economic experience of the last 10 years that makes me want to throttle half of the college graduate millennials out there.
Why? Because they’re stupid. Financially stupid. Or, as the kids say today, “financially cray-cray.” (Editor’s note: We’re pretty sure they don’t say that.)
Get this: Half of millennials with college debt — and the average graduate from 2015 with debt clocked in at about $30,000, according to Peterson’s — would agree to forgo their vote in the next two presidential elections if their loan was forgiven, this according to a study by Credible. com, a personal finance website.
To be clear: ONLY HALF of recent college grads would give up their right to vote for president in 2020 and 2024 in a trade for their debt. Hmmmph.
You know what I would trade for $30,000? Possibly one of my children, but certainly my vote in the next two elections. Seriously — vote Trump in again, it’s fine, just hand me the check. Heck, vote Eric Trump in, I don’t care. Vote Kid Rock as our next president, doesn’t bother me one bit, as long as I’m getting the $30K. Not life-changing money for sure, but you know what? It’s more than enough to not pull a lever for two elections. Stick that in a retirement fund, maybe get a 7 percent return over the next 30 years, and you’ll have $228,000 staring you in the face.
Yeah. Vote for whoever. I’m cool with my $30K.
Really: Do these kids not realize the value of a dollar? The difference between keeping $30,000 for yourself and paying out $30,000 is huge. Remember that $228,000 for a few seconds ago? Well, if a 25-year-old put that kind of dough away, by the time they’re 75 they’d have $883,000.
But no, millennials, sure, I get it: Your single vote in your single state in the electoral college system is certainly not worth giving up for a comfortable retirement. Millennidiots.
But wait: The study gets worse. Only 44 percent would wipe their debt away by giving up Uber or Lyft (call a cab, you schmucks!) and only 42 percent would agree to not travel out of the country for five years in order to see their debt forgiven (go to the shore instead, you’ll be fine).
Maybe I’ve been wrong all these years and these kids today just don’t get it. I’d like to not care about money like these youngins, but if you’re like me — spouse, kids, mortgage, dog — you know every penny counts. High and mighty morals — “It is my civic duty to vote in an election for the President of these United States” — get compromised quick when your roof is leaking.
Gah, I wish someone would offer me $30,000 to give up my presidential vote in 2020 and 2024. In fact, let’s start the bidding at $10.
Jeff Edelstein is a columnist for The Trentonian. He can be reached at jedelstein@ trentonian.com, facebook. com/jeffreyedelstein and @ jeffedelstein on Twitter.