- By Maddy Scrocca
- Posted December 22, 2015
This is the first in a series of guest posts written for WealthNation by Gen Y’s who share what it actually feels like to look into the future and contemplate the bumpy road to ‘responsible’ adulthood. Whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean.
I really do believe that Gen Y is the cohort to turn the tables. That is, to stabilise this slippery financial slope that causes ongoing disparity around the world.
Likely the most educated, connected, most forward-thinking generation to live – it’s inevitable that we’re headed towards some kind of freedom. We may not be dancing on Candy Mountain, but we’ll find the middle ground between economic stability and the importance of living.
It’s my understanding that we choose to dissociate ourselves with this dominant monetary system, because we understand the importance of pleasure and ‘living in the moment’. We are able to distinguish what is of greater significance for the betterment of others and ourselves. A close friend laughs about her future as a “struggling artist” in the face of financial strains because she’s strong enough to do what she knows will bring her happiness.
I also know of many of my peers making the decision to steer clear of fulltime employment entirely to pursue a lifelong education. This doesn’t surprise me – costs are so high and the pressure to succeed so disconcerting, we’re finding extreme alternatives to ‘common’ livelihood simply to lead less cluttered, stressful lives.
I’ve considered a similar route myself, but accumulating large amounts of debt worries me. I had goals to save money; a car, a house, travel and education. But now, the prospect of buying a house 10 times my wage and paying off my 6-year university loan makes me think I’m better off achieving nirvana in the Himalayas for the next 50 years.
I think of myself as a good saver, I generally know how to manage my money. But spending hours doing the maths takes a lot of effort – too much effort, or more than it should. I like to think that eventually I wont have to keep one eye incessantly focused on my finances.
On the other hand, I feel like keeping a close watch on my banking is needed because I don’t want to be cheated by banks and find any surprises. Honesty in the financial world seems rare. With debt becoming so common amongst young people, it’s unlikely I’ll be able to trust that my money isn't going to be taken advantage of. Honesty and trust should be at the forefront of the services of all banks or financial institutions. It feels like the day I can stop worrying about money will be the day I can really start living, and that day is still far off.
We all hear that ‘living life in the present’ is important, but it feels like getting to ‘the present’ takes time. It’s gone on too long and, as quite possibly the most innovative group of people, we show how little we want to take part in current economic and political games. We ask questions that others have been too afraid to ask, we take risks and believe in ourselves. We have huge aspirations, and don’t want to be held back by financial stress. So I have faith in our generation and those to come to change the way we really see money and to notice the larger value in living an enriched life in the present.
The growing negativity towards the ‘financialisation’ of basic human rights (health care, shelter, food and water) means wider acknowledgement of the need for a shift of focus. Whether nor not we reach Russell Brand’s idea of revolution, I think I’m supported in saying the value placed on money is excessive and can lead to moral failure. We should find the middle ground between a better financial future and a more benevolent existence.
Maddy Scrocca, 18 – ‘Generation Why’ student from Monash University, Melbourne
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