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Mar 02, 2016


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Jim Buie

Thanks, Ed. Thoughtful piece. Good to see you posting again. I think of "generational finger-printing" as identifying the cultural influences on people born during a certain time. They are certainly free to react differently from their peers. But clearly they faced the Great Recession just as they were starting out in the workforce, and they are very lucky if their careers were not hobbled by it. They faced far greater college expenses than those of us in the Baby Boom Generation, and probably graduated with debt. They cannot expect social security to see them through retirement at 65 unless adjustments are made or they plan to work longer. They tend to be far less religious than their parents and grandparents. A hefty chunk of this generation, 39%, say they are not religious. Among those who are religious, far more are religious progressives, 39%, than religious conservatives, 16%. This generation voted overwhelmingly for Barack Obama, and seems to have great respect for racial diversity.

Those born after 1996 are probably digital natives and can't remember life without social media. Their attention spans are generally lower than older generations. Many in this generation have far less experience in nature or the outdoors than did their parents or grandparents.

But of course there are exceptions. My older son, a millenial, may be one of the exceptions as he lived overseas for most of his twenties, saved a bunch of money by (over)working in the UAE, returned last year to a job in Winston Salem, has bought a house, a car, and his wife doesn't have to work; she is home with their young child. He says his high school peers (he graduated in 2002) are doing equally well, but those who graduated later were definitely waylaid by the Great Recession.

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