Friday, October 4, 2013

Millennial Bills, Bills, Bills

With the U.S. government shutdown this week and being thousands of miles from mainland U.S., I did what I do every first week of the month. I pulled up my monthly budget spreadsheet, and I sighed as usual. Now as a bonafide adult, this is by far the most depressing part of my month. In doing my checks and balances I happened across the NPR podcast on the latest Obamacare drama as it went into effect this past week. My generation, dubbed the millennials  (ages 18-34), are often referred to as the  young invincibles for our lack of health insurance. I looked over that line of my spreadsheet, -$117 Cigna Health Insurance deduction. I guess I am not invincible since my health insurance is automatically taken from my salary. On my Facebook homepage I found and clicked on the latest viral video the Obamacare vs. The Affordable Care Act. I sigh again at how trivial an issue of insurance is. 

While America debates insurance, I went back to my bank account. Like many in my generation I am swamped in student debt. I spend the majority of my income paying my undergraduate and gradate loans, and next was past health debt. When baby boomers where my age they were putting the same money I pay to Sallie Mae into paying a monthly mortgage all the while being able to save. I don’t save any of my monthly salary sadly enough, and I do have to borrow to stay afloat, which is normal for my generation. After my loans and health debt my highest expense is my living expenses, but luckily for me in Africa these expenses are quite low. If you were to look at this in the past, most people would say living expenses would be the most costly monthly expense they had. Times are a changing.  

This is the reality my generation lives in, being overqualified and in debt. Like my cohort I am resolved to accept this and even though I am a hardworking person, I do not see this getting better, Obamacare or not. What America does not understand is that if millennials are not kick started somehow the future of the economy is not going to improve. I know scores of my generation that have been unemployed for at least a year or more. Luckily, I have a job, and one in my field. I am overqualified for my work but this is also a reality for millennials. And somehow I stay positive. I may never know non-debt in my lifetime but this cannot affect me making life decisions such has marriage, having a family or a house. It may financially but I refuse to let it affect me emotionally. So while I am very happy to be working in my field and gaining valuable experience, I remain positive that someday I will get a position in my field that will leave my monthly budget spreadsheet in the green, a color I have never known yet in my 27 years. Looking on the bright side, at least I have health insurance. Thanks Obamacare :)


P.S.: How Millennial are you? Click here to take the Pew Research Center Quiz. 

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