Oh, the places you shouldn’t go!
Dr. Seuss’s “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” is a popular graduation gift for college students. It encourages them to go out and see the world: You’ll be on your way up! You’ll be seeing great sights! You’ll join the high fliers who soar to high heights. It’s not as frowned upon now when young adults take a gap year, not only between high school and college but also after receiving their undergraduate degree.
Go travel, have fun, some say. Delay getting a job and saving. Travel while you are young, or so the argument goes.
“In the past, it was believed that getting a job or going immediately on to graduate school were the only options,” Penny Loretto wrote for personal finance website the Balance. “But with many more options available and a slow economy, taking a gap year after college can be a very worthwhile experience.”
But Brian Roberts, a freelance writer, entrepreneur and Forbes contributor to its Under 30 Network platform wrote a compelling argument for why millennials shouldn’t travel in their early 20s.
As Roberts points out, a study by marketing research firm GfK and Airbnb found that most millennials feel traveling is more important than saving for a home, car or even paying off debt.
However, he says, post-college getaways shouldn’t be used as an escape from the financial drudgery of adulthood.
“Millennials should build their nest before they fly because otherwise, they are merely seeking reward without having put in the work. Thus returning home to an unstable foundation,” Roberts writes.
He goes on to say if you can earn an income while reaping the benefits of exotic locales that’s the best of both worlds. But if that’s not the case, “millennials are building less equity in not only financial investment but also social capital. While millennials save 36 percent more of their annual income than their generational counterparts, 63 percent admit they utilize their savings for travel, dining, and fitness rather than retirement or planning for the future, as noted in Merrill Edge’s 2017 report.”
Unless the travel is forward-focused, it’s just play time, Roberts argues. And I agree.
“Aimless travel, not tied to building a skill or a business enterprise, is not likely to increase a millennial’s value to others or produce a tangible return on investment moving forward,” he writes.
If you’re young and thinking you’ll delay getting to your student loans, read this:
Oh, the places you’ll go, graduate, but know what you owe!
You’d better know what you owe because your debt is high.
Oh, the places you’ll go once your student loans go byebye.
It’s now more acceptable to take a gap year and travel after college graduation. Michelle Singletary, however, warns graduates to take care of their finances before taking off.
Michelle Singletary THE COLOR OF MONEY