Is Poverty the New Black (What Are Millennials Seeing)

By Mark A. Leon

I was recently having a discussion with a friend who just had an offer accepted on a house where her and her boyfriend will be moving into and living together for the first time since they began their courtship 10 months ago.? We naturally led the conversation to marriage and she gave us a timeline for engagement, wedding and honeymoon based on their collective financial situation.? I asked where was the romance and spontaneity.? She turned and smiled and said, “that is all that is planned.? The how and exactly when is up to him.”

Last week I spoke to an HR manager in Malaysia about new graduate hiring and asked what the significant challenges were.? She said that offers are extended but candidates don’t accept for one or two months.? When I probed further, she explained that they want to travel and see the world before they start work.

Now I started to put the dots together and looked back at some recent publications around millennials.

Here is what I found out:

  • They are choosing to move to the big cities where they can barely afford to live and eat for the sheer excitement and challenge of urban city life.
  • Their primary motivators are not money, but challenge and making a difference
  • They are bound to a life without limits where new terrains, geographies and hobbies are a way of life.

More research needed.

Several years ago, I was a prominent local area host for couchsurfers.? For those that do not know, couchsurfing is a global community of travelers and hosts that offer temporary housing and assistance at no cost.? Often a gift or meal is shared.? It is a free-spirited approach to travel and engaging in new relationships.? I found my experiences rewarding and diverse.? I hosted couples, bands, mother and daughter teams, individual travelers, gays and lesbians looking for answers and people just looking for a new beginning.? From Sweden to Belgium, Spain to Brazil; they came from all over the world to share stories and experiences.

All my life, I was raised by my father’s generation to make money, save it and then make more.? It was always about the net worth.? I fought off that thinking after graduate school, but a part of me still understands and thus I have created a due thought process on money.? It is good to save, but also good to enjoy the virtues it offers.

Now, why is poverty the new black?? I don’t know the exact answer, but would like to offer some unsubstantiated theories and observations:

  • We could say that the new generation puts less emphasis on family and religion and focuses more on personal discovery
  • We could also conclude that opportunities are more limited and for the first time, their parents will make more than them and they have come to that realization
  • Perhaps, they are inspired by innovation and to change the world, they have to see it.? Really, see it.
  • Money is an inhibitor.? We work to make money.? Work limits our ability to explore civilizations and untapped cultures.
  • Technology has given opportunities to discover on limited means.? With the onslaught of Uber, AirBNB and GoFundMe, we can see things we never thought possible.
  • Maybe, it is cool to not be judged by the size of your wallet and your social status.
  • The idea of save and explore sounds so appealing.? I spent an amazing five days in New Orleans with a friend a few years back.? We left on one day notice and drove 23 hours just because.? Today, she travels around the world building homes and helping in villages in impoverished communities.

There are many explanations and research studies that will draw conclusion upon conclusion, but in a way, that is what makes this new generation so powerful.? They are not victims of statistics.? They are individuals struggling to find an identity.

In a world where you can meet new people, share stories, create moments and find identity, money isn’t the answer.? A great pair of shoes, a smartphone, a warm blanket and an endless sense of adventure is all you really need.

20 Ways to Start Out The New Year Right – Because it’s not too late!

  1. Send out Thank You cards.thank you pen
    We know you got at least one awesome Christmas present! Chances are you got more, maybe even more than you needed. Let your loved ones know just how much their hard thought, time and money is appreciated!
  2. Download a new album. –Or for us old school folks, buy a new CD.
    “Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” –Berthold Auerbach ?Crank it up, kick off that dust and live life!
  3. Start setting a little money aside each week for that dream vacation.
    Summertime sneaks up and you are left with a wanderlust accompanied by a low bank account. Avoid this disappointment in 2016 by anticipating your getaway.
  4. Get involved.
    With so many opportunities around Charleston to participate in a worthwhile cause, you have no reason not to get involved. It doesn’t have to be a long term commitment; it can be something as simple as hanging out with the animals at one of the local shelters. Need ideas on how to get involved? Check out our article Volunteer Opportunities in the Lowcountry – Get Involved.
  5. Drop the resolution!
    I’ve never really believed in New Year’s resolutions, for a few different reasons. #1) If you really want to make a change in your life, you should do so now, not wait for the beginning of a new year. #2) Chances are you’ll just end up disappointing yourself. Even if you start off with the best of intentions and things are going great, most of the New Year’s resolutions I hear about simply do not stick. By the end of February, if not earlier, they are forgotten about all together. #3) That’s a lot of stress to put yourself, and your loved ones, under. Usually these resolutions involve some massive change and you tend to think the change can come January 1st. Why do that to yourself? #4) They usually involve something completely unoriginal and something that really didn’t have a lot of thought put into it in the first place. You deserve better for yourself than that.
  6. Wash your car.
    Don’t neglect the thing you rely on most everyday. Add it into your organizational plans.
  7. Pick up a book.book
    Books help open our minds and allow us to escape to anywhere our imaginations can go. Make the time to unwind, relax your mind, and snuggle up with a good story.
  8. Decide to love yourself.
    This doesn’t mean simply saying you love yourself, but just like in your relationships with others, you have to show yourself that you do. This includes eating right, getting enough sleep at night, exercising regularly, taking time for yourself, saying “no” when you can’t do something for someone -and feeling okay about it- and any other special way you can prove to yourself that you matter.
  9. Change your air filter.
    Another friendly service reminder courtesy of Charleston Daily. You’ll thank us later!
  10. Meditate.
    There are so many benefits to meditation! It is a stress relief, it helps with focus, it helps to reduce anxiety, it boosts your creativity, and it can aid in relieving depression, but the list goes on! Just devoting ten minutes a day can make a significant difference in your life.
  11. Go watch a movie by yourself.
    It’s really not as bad as it sounds. Trust us on this one and give it a chance.
  12. Make a plan.
    This can include absolutely anything. You’ve just got to get the ball rolling. Totally different than a resolution!?Really put some though into it, set small goals and work on them at your own pace. You’ll have more success with the results sticking this way.?The best ideas start out with a good plan.20151207_171211-01
  13. Spend a sunset at the Battery.
    There are many beautiful spots to watch the sunset around Charleston. The Battery is one of our favorites. You can spend the afternoon enjoying White Point Garden, have a picnic, walk around, or relax on one of the benches, then take in a spectacular sunset before ending your day.
  14. Spend the night at a fancy hotel or bed and breakfast (preferably one with a big tub).
    Just have a change of scenery?for a moment. It can help give you new insights on what’s really going on in your life. Do it locally so you eliminate the stress of traveling. Our recommendation? The Battery Carriage House Inn?located in beautiful downtown Charleston.
  15. Donate to a local charity.
    Of course charities will always welcome a monetary donation. But you actually don’t have to have any money at all to donate to most charities. Clean out your closet, clean out your pantry, clean out your garage. You will find lots of things to donate to different organizations. You can also pick a charity, visit their website for their Wish List and grab something extra next time you are at the store.
  16. Take a sunrise walk on the beach.
    I realize this was included in our “List of things to do before the end of 2015”. Well, did you do it? There’s never a bad time to take a sunrise walk on the beach. -I might recommend waiting for a day when it’s not raining, but other than that you’re pretty golden!-
  17. Pay off your lowest credit card.
    When working on getting out of debt, experts recommend paying off the card that has the lowest balance first. Don’t neglect other cards you may have, but even if you can put an extra $10/month towards that one card, you will start seeing a difference a lot faster. –It also helps if you don’t add anything else to that card! –
  18. Wake up fresh.
    This idea comes with appreciation?from my best 5 year old friend. When asked what I was writing, and I explained it to him, he took it upon himself to contemplate the subject and this was his first idea. I like it, a lot actually. So get your behind in bed at a decent time, snuggle in for more than your usual few hours, and wake up fresh!
  19. Purchase that perfect outfit.
    Start this year off looking and feeling fabulous! –Hey, everything’s on sale right now anyway! –
  20. Have a dinner party.
    This is a great way to connect or re-connect with friends. Plus throwing a party is just fun anyway. Good food, drinks, music, your closest friends…sounds like a great night to me!

20 Ways to Start Out The New Year Off Right – Checklist