We are not the generation of our grandparents, many of whom went through the Great Depression of the 30s. Neither are we our parents who went through the Civil Rights movement. Instead, we older millennials are the ones who went through 911, the Great Recession and both the highest point in the stock market in history and the lowest all within 6 months during a global pandemic. But what do these events leave us financially? I will tell you where it leaves us: Wanting more. More of what? I would argue more sensitivity to how policy affects generations long term, more housing options and even more flexible career paths. We want more—And even I am having a hard time verbalizing what we want more of but I know what older black millennials got now is not working.
Student loan debt is $1.6 T. Housing prices, including and especially rent in metro areas, continues to rise as we speak, although there may be a slight cooling off coming. The debate around raising the minimum wage still is that—a debate. And people wonder why older millennials aren’t having as many children as previous generations. Older millennials are young enough to have years ahead of us before we can retire BUT old enough to want a certain standard of living that doesn’t remind us of our college days. This leaves us wanting more from those around us—our employers, the government, our family and friends—and at the same time not sure how to get what we want. You may have heard the reputation that millennials get for being lazy and entitled but I assure you, nothing could be further from the truth for older millennials. We want to be able to afford to have kids but how? We want to be able to purchase a home but with student loans ravishing our communities, how? Entrepreneurship is both an exciting and scary thing but do older millennials have the boldness to take a chance like Generation Z?
Again, I am not sure of the answers to these questions. I work in financial services every day and I am at a lost for words. I don’t know where my subset generation of millennials goes from here financially. But what I want those of you reading this to know is that us older black millennials do not want to be some sort of loss generation that cannot find its way to financial stability. We want to do better and work hard to do better but there are systems in place that are making it very difficult for us to be the generation of our parents. I am not asking for a hand-out but deep consideration of how my generation of rising leaders in the corporate, private and public world are facing financial challenges like no other generation. I don’t think that’s a lot to ask but maybe it is.
Dar’shun Kendrick, JD/MBA/Investment Adviser Representative is a corporate securities attorney, registered investment adviser, community activist, public speaker, 6 term member of the Georgia House of Representatives.