Being a Millennial is Hard. Here’s Why:

being-a-millennial-is-hard

I just received word from our financial adviser that, yet again, our debt-to-income ratio is too high to buy a house.

I have a good job. My husband has a good job. We both regularly bring in additional income with side gigs. And yet, here we are, 30 years old and still unable to buy a house.

Getting this news is always demoralizing. I’m instantly flooded with thoughts of inadequacy, incompetence, inability. I feel less than. My spirit is crushed. I choked back tears while on the phone with our financial adviser.

You might be tempted to think we are fiscally irresponsible. Our credit scores would tell you otherwise. We manage our money as responsibly as we can. While we do have some consumer debt, it’s not large and we are constantly striving to eliminate it.

The problem is that we have massive amounts of student loan debt. For me, personally, it’s practically the size of a mortgage.

I cannot adequately express to you how hard it is for me to claim that publicly, which should tell you something since I’m a writer with a Letters degree, so words are my thing. The balance of my student loan debt brings me great shame. So much so, that before Ryan, I was convinced no man would ever want to marry me when he learned of my debt situation. And when Ryan and I reached the point in our relationship where I needed to disclose this information, I ugly cried as I revealed it to him.

Owning a home is a lifelong dream of mine. In my entire life, I’ve never lived in a home that I or my family has owned. I’ve never had a house that was chiefly and supremely MINE. My grandma’s house is the closest I’ve come – she owned her home.

Student loan debt doesn’t just rob me of fulfilling my homeowner dreams. Though I have 2 toddler age children, I have to work instead of stay at home with them, which is what I’d rather do. And because I have to work, we pay insane childcare costs for someone else to spend the majority of the day with our kids. It’s heartbreaking some days.

You might think this is my own fault – I should have made better financial choices in college. You might be right, at least partially. Maybe I should have chosen a more lucrative degree path (that I probably would have hated it and have a terrible quality of life because I’d be working a job that would make me want to claw my eyes out). Maybe I should have borrowed less (though that would have made college impossible, because I only borrowed what was needed and worked 30+ hours/week every year of college except my freshman year). Maybe I should have done many things differently – and I’ll admit there are things I would change if I could go back.

I don’t think I’m entirely to blame, though. Statistics tell me I’m not alone in my situation – though sometimes it feels that way, especially when I have many friends my age who are in a much better position financially then we are, so it seems. Millennials are burdened by education debt moreso than any former generation – and the cost of education continues to rise. So, cut us some slack before you point fingers. I don’t think an entire generation – millions of people – would all have this in common if there weren’t a systemic issue at hand.

It’s like when you fail a test in school, and then you learn that 95% of the class failed it, too. Maybe it wasn’t that the class didn’t study well enough, maybe it was that the professor was terrible but was still teaching because he had tenure.

I don’t expect a handout, but a hand up wouldn’t be so bad.

All of this to say, I’m disappointed and discouraged, again. But, in spite of that, I’m going to continue working hard to accomplish the dreams Ryan and I have for ourselves and our family. Ultimately, I know my self-worth is not found in owning a home.  Though I sometimes struggle with feeling this way, I know that my value as a person isn’t based on the size of my student loan debt.

It’s just hard, some days. Today is one of those days.

My worth is not in what I own
Not in the strength of flesh and bone
But in the costly wounds of love
At the cross

My worth is not in skill or name
In win or lose, in pride or shame
But in the blood of Christ that flowed
At the cross

I rejoice in my Redeemer
Greatest Treasure,
Wellspring of my soul
I will trust in Him, no other.
My soul is satisfied in Him alone.

As summer flowers we fade and die
Fame, youth and beauty hurry by
But life eternal calls to us
At the cross

I will not boast in wealth or might
Or human wisdom’s fleeting light
But I will boast in knowing Christ
At the cross

I rejoice in my Redeemer
Greatest Treasure,
Wellspring of my soul
I will trust in Him, no other.
My soul is satisfied in Him alone.

Two wonders here that I confess
My worth and my unworthiness
My value fixed – my ransom paid
At the cross

I rejoice in my Redeemer
Greatest Treasure,
Wellspring of my soul
I will trust in Him, no other.
My soul is satisfied in Him alone.

— WORDS AND MUSIC BY KEITH GETTY, KRISTYN GETTY AND GRAHAM KENDRICK ©2014 GETTY MUSIC PUBLISHING (BMI) / MAKEWAY MUSIC (ADMIN BY MUSICSERVIES.ORG)

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6 thoughts on “Being a Millennial is Hard. Here’s Why:

  1. As someone who’s pursuing education I completely sympathize with your situation. However, I don’t think it’s an issue with you being a millennial. I am writing this to hopefully make your day a little better because, from just what I’ve read this why I think you’re awesome 🙂

    1. You pursued an education in something you’re passionate about despite the risk of heavy debt. No matter what that’s entrepreneurial thinking and you should be proud of yourself because it can be grown into a wonderful and successful lifestyle.
    2. It sounds like you have a whole lotta love in your life 🙂 This is not a small task. Ask any entrepreneur who’s made it how important their support system was and watch the gratitude flow. So the fact that you have a nice man like Ryan to help you is a success story in itself.
    3. You’re honest about what the real issue is for you. You were specific and descriptive in how it has been affecting you as well those around you, which I think puts you in the best possible position to start making things better.

    Hope those made you feel a tiny bit better:) If you’re still feeling down I’ve written down an exercise I did to get me through depression using positive self-talk. It’s called “Reducing Negativity in 15 Minutes” and it involves your favorite activity 🙂 You can read it here: https://notesanddrafts.wordpress.com/2017/01/03/writing-prompt-reduce-negativity-in-15-minutes/

  2. Oh, girl. If I had a dollar for every millennial I’d spoken to in the last week about how student loans are preventing them from living the life they wanted, I’d have enough to pay off all millennial student loan debt in the U.S. I think the main issue is that previous generations aren’t acknowledging how much they’ve set up the system to fail us. And many maintain that it’s our fault that everything’s broken.

    I’m so sorry you’re in this position, and reading about how this is affecting you totally made me cry. But know that you’ve got such a good, positive attitude, and that’s going to get you where you want to be. And if you ever feel irresponsible about your student loan debt, DON’T. You have a degree that you loved getting, and your brain is super wrinkled from it! I have a friend who literally used student loans to buy 2 cars and a house. Oh, and veterinarian degree. She literally pays over $3k a month to meet the MINIMUM.

  3. I’m so sorry you are in this position. I know how badly I wanted a house that I owned, that was mine, so I understand that feeling. I pray that you are able to remain thankful even when it’s hard. It’s a GOOD thing to be responsible and it sounds like you are handling your money just as well as you can. We are called to be faithful stewards of our money, but we are not called to be rich or own a home. These things don’t make us better Christians or better people. They just seem nicer when compared to a lot of other people we know 🙂

    1. Thank you for that encouragement, Amanda. I was a little raw when I wrote this, but I’m not quite as emotional about it now. We had another conversation with our financial adviser this week and learned that we aren’t as far away from purchasing a home as I thought, so that was helpful to hear. And, one positive outcome from all of this is that it renewed both Ryan and I’s commitments to frugal living in order to steward our resources well.

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