The Great Recession is over and has been over for years now, but the damage that was done during that time is still felt by many. One group in particular, Generation Z. Generation Z was in elementary school and middle school when the crisis hit and even though they were too young to drive they still felt the fear of the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression. That fear has laid dormant for years, but now it is starting to resurface as some of these Gen Z children have reached the point of high school graduation. In the Fall Gen Z will be stepping onto college campuses around the country and they are bringing financial anxiety along with them.

You may be thinking to yourself “why do they have an anxiety when it comes to money? They were not in college in 2008 scared that they would not get hired. They were not working and all of a sudden laid off because the economy fell off a cliff! They didn’t have to worry about how to pay bills or how they were going to get their house out of foreclosure!” You would be right that they were not in any of these situations, but majority of their parents were in those situations. Financial armageddon like the one in 2008 is very hard to hide from a child! Forget that it was on every tv station, every day for two years, but that child seen parents lose their job after working in the same company for twenty years. These children heard their parents on the phone telling bill collectors “I just don’t have the money to pay you right now.” These children packed up their rooms when the bank finally decided that they were fed up with the late payments and foreclosed on the only home they had ever known. These children had front row seats to their parent’s nightmare and now these children are about to be adults.

When these 18 year old adults step on campus in the Fall their feelings about money will be like no other generation before them. In this NPR MarketPlace Weekend episode http://goo.gl/PvFwXt the high school seniors that are interviewed give you a solid picture of what financial damage has been done to them psychologically. One student talks about how she knows that she won’t get a great job after college because she is more into the humanities. She actually expects to struggle the first few years after college. Another student said that his parents saved a little for college, but he knows that he still will have student loan debt after he graduates. He went on to say “what he fears most is that he spends years in college, goes into debt, and it may all be for nothing.” There were a few more stories, but these two stuck out to me because before these two walk across their high school graduation stage they are already thinking about the financial struggle they may have after the college graduation stage!

Gen Z is hopeful and hopeless all at the same time when it comes to their financial future. It should not be this way. They should know that although the days of forty year careers at one company are gone, the days of entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship are alive and well! They can make their own financial future because they unlike their parents and grandparents live in a social media era that makes the world a lot smaller. The young lady who is worried about going into the humanities can network through social media and end up working remotely for a company in Europe! Everyone in Gen Z who is still feeling the psychological effects of the Great Recession needs to know that it is a new day and that they now control their own financial future!

Book: Debt Sucks! goo.gl/r9ta8b

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