Millennials’ Big Dream of Being Solvent

Being free of debt has to be your birth right, no matter what your economic background is.

Credit: USA Today

It is such a sad truth to see what hits millennials at this age. I am a millennial myself, for the reference. I was born right before the beginning of the Generation Z.

A harsh reality we are facing now is the pandemic. How it moves us further backwards from our current points and even further from our goals. In this age, the economy seems uncertain with no safety net to fall onto. The furloughs, lay-offs, and recent fall of the market made everything even more daunting. We are the generation that experienced multiple economic crisis, not to mention the other problems such as climate change as well as civil unrests in some parts of the world.

Millennials are also suffering from the stigmas such as being entitled, coddled, and self-absorbed. This is not true for the most part. Some of us are pricks, but ain’t that also applies to some people in other generations? A resounding yes. However, we, as the whole generation, have to swallow a bitter pill of truth. That is to step up and trying to get through the hard time with our organs still intact. I am not trying to justify that millennials are the victims neither am I trying to blame other generations. That is not the way problem solving works. But putting stigmas and generalise the character of a whole generation is just unfair. Some of us are trying our hardest, yet, still end up in the same hole, if not, a deeper one.

Laying a common understanding about what being solvent really means is not that easy for most people, and also for me. I feel that it can be tricky at times as it involves subjective conditions and background for every individual. There are unsettled accounts, unpaid instalments, and even student debts. Yes, somehow in the other part of the world, a recent high-school graduate is faced with a big decision of taking a student loan. The experience of taking a student loan may differ from person to person. The education regarding the benefits and the risks are also different from countries to countries. But we have to know for sure that any kind of loan we are taking should not be a decision we are going to regret.

Some people may not have a good financial education from their families, including me. I was never taught by my parents about how to manage my money, such as how many percent has to go to the emergency saving’s account; how many percent is appropriate for daily accommodations; and what kind of lifestyle I can afford with my current salary, etc; you know the drill. All I knew back then was, “If it is enough, then it is enough. But if it is not, then go out and find some more.” This kind of mentality made me hop from one company to another, because I was never satisfied and never had any savings. I tried handling two jobs at a time — one day job and one freelance gig, managing several projects at once. Talking about the way I was several years ago make me feel embarrassed. I do not blame my parents, though. I know it is my responsibility to learn about it myself, for there is no ‘One Size Fits All’ method in managing money. And that is the tricky part. Even now, I sometimes still struggle from managing my temptations, I mean, who does not? I also tried to get a loan to cover the insufficiency of my monthly income, but I regretted it and promised myself never to return to that kind of source.

“The problem might be in me,” I thought to myself. It was a mere thought until I tracked down all of my outcomes, and it disgusted me. From that moment, I changed my perspective, “If I could not afford it, it means I could not afford it.” And that is it. Somehow it seems like a frugal way to live or rather minimalistic. Keeping up with daily necessities should not be this hard, but it is. The way we are spoon-fed with unnecessary temptations from the time we wake up until we sleep is just plain horrid — of course, I am talking about the ads. Every advertisement is tailor-made and served just for you, for us. It is not all bad, though. The fact that you are reading this story means that the algorithm does you a favour.

After managing temptations, sorting out priorities could be much easier. Starting off with daily accommodations, your track record will show a trend of what kind of spending trap holes you had fallen into. The way I stripped myself from any kind of unnecessary spending was rather extreme. I cut out everything but bare necessities. I did it to see how I could survive with just that. This method made me look for another stream of income since I told myself not to spend any of my freelance gig income for things other than accommodations. You see, I had fallen into a trap of a Ponzi scheme in my other stories. Both Part I and Part II covered the way I tried to get a side gig. It was purely experimental and rather sketchy. It was not intended on a whim. I calculated the risk and it is not the kind I would do, but I did it anyway with risking the bare minimum.

To this day, I still have an instalment in my way. Although it is to a house mate for my room’s furniture's, the stake is quite low, still the image of being completely solvent does not truly compute in my mind. Getting standard furniture's for my own room should not have to be two or three steps away from my current income, as it is to basic education. I am somehow taken aback by this kind of situation. How can something so basic as a bed to sleep on could become unaffordable? How can a basic human right such as education could seem so far away from reality? I do not want to make this story any more left-leaning than it already is, but to question something so ironic has to be the way to spread awareness. My problems are rather small compared to others. This anecdotal evidence is, however, a mere condition I know best that I reflect upon, that helped me see something wrong in me as well as something wrong in the big league — our society.

No matter what kind of economic background we are in, our families had tried their hardest to give us the best possible things for us to thrive in this kind of society. To educate ourselves through every means is always the right thing to do and there is no stopping it, there should not be anything to stop it. We learn, we try, and we learn again in every step of the way. For now, learning how the money works and how to make it work in my favour is the thing I pursue. It is funny to see how the game is rigged from the beginning, more on that in my upcoming stories.

I am here and there. Let’s keep in touch!

A publication dedicated to the pursuit of Financial Independence; the stories, tips, hacks, highs and lows, and what comes after you reach your FI number…..

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Adrian Njoto

Adrian Njoto

A primate that tells stories. You too? Great! Let’s be friends!

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