Millennials All For Socialism, Don’t Know What It Means

According to new research, millennials like, dislike everything. Some of the things they think they like, they simply don’t understand, like socialism: “Only 16% of millennials can accurately define socialism, making it less surprising that up to 42% prefer socialism and 52% favor capitalism.”

Possible definitions of socialism, according to the millennials surveyed: 1) soft-serve ice cream; 2) kittens playing in a box; 3) rain that only falls at night; 4) small, affordable cities with good weather, a cultural scene, public transportation, and available jobs; 5) teleportation.

Anyway, who really knows how to define socialism vs. capitalism? If we pop quizzed you, would you satisfy the test-takers? What’d you get on your Socialism AP Test, huh, smart guy?

Here are some more awesome results

What Happens to a Dream NOT Deferred, But Found Wanting?

American poet Langston Hughes famously asked, “What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?” These days, some of us become fortunate enough to see the other side of the quandary: What happens when you achieve your dream, and then you wish you hadn’t? The Wall Street Journal investigates:

It’s a surprisingly common dilemma. The idea of a “dream job” is drilled into job seekers these days. Increasingly, people expect to find jobs that provide not only a living but also stimulation, emotional fulfillment and a sense of purpose. The image of a career as a source of passion is promoted by career advisers, self-help books and even the glamorous characters in TV dramas. But fantasies about a job can blind job-seekers to workaday realities and to consideration of the best fit.

Millennials Find Confidence in Embracing the Void

Peter Coy at Businessweek wonders why we're so optimistic when we have nothing to be optimistic about. Good question. Is it, "the timeless confidence of youth"? Our "digital lives" (heh)?

A Boomer Measures His Son’s Success

In the Times’s “Booming” section (about baby boomers) Jim Sollisch has a really sweet essay about his son Max, a 25-year-old singer/songwriter signed to an indie label, who although doesn’t make a ton of money, is living a life he seems to love. Sollisch says that we often measure success by how much money we make but, of course, there’s much more to it than that:

What my friends don’t know is how to measure any of this on the only scale most of us have. You know, the one the I.R.S. uses. And to be honest, I’m not sure how to answer the question either. How successful is Max’s music career? What is a tattoo on the forearm of a 20-something in a medium-size Midwestern state worth? The Eskimos have all those words for snow, and it seems the only language we have for expressing success is numeric. It may be a universal language, but it’s an impoverished one. Maybe we need a word for “never having to sit in a meeting where someone reads long power point slides out loud.” Maybe we should have an expression that captures the level of success you’ve achieved when you do exactly what you love every day.

Max gets up when he likes and does what he loves. He avoids most of the things that most of us numerically successful people complain about all the time: racing from one unreasonable deadline to the next, sitting in unproductive meetings and watching simple things made complicated by committees. And he doesn’t want for much, largely because he’s smart enough to know that the only way to be rich is to want little. He takes no money from his parents. If he doesn’t make enough from a particular tour to cover the next few months, he gets jobs substitute teaching. Somehow he manages to save a little money.

Sollisch still worries what his son will do if his music career doesn’t work out (because dads worry about their children), but when he looks at his son, he believes that Max’s success is “off the charts.”

Photo: AndreChinn

Millennials and Tiny Houses: A Match Made in Heaven

What does it mean when the top mortgage salesman in the US can’t convince his own daughter to buy a house?

“We would drive around neighborhoods and he would point out houses,” chattering about curb appeal and prices, Sara said. “I’ve heard about this my whole life. In my head, I always figured at the age of 27 or 28 I’d buy.” She can, but hasn’t. She’s a legislative aide to Senator Michael Bennet, a Colorado Democrat. Her fiancé, Dan Nee, is a software developer. Their jobs are steady and their combined income is $107,500. The car is paid for and dad is ready to help with a down payment. … [but] “A house is a five- to 10-year commitment,” Sara said. “I’m hesitant about diving in and feeling like I’m not financially ready.”

She and other millennials — the generation born beginning in the early 1980s — started coming of age just as housing collapsed. Sara was just out of college in 2009 when President Barack Obama put her dad in charge of the Federal Housing Administration. Part of his job was to lobby Congress not to dismantle the financial architecture that had made it possible for generations of Americans — including himself — to buy homes. He also was juggling pleas from family and friends who couldn’t pay their adjustable-rate mortgages or sell their devalued houses.

It means she’s a bloody genius, that’s what it means.

What’s ENTAILED In Making a Will? (Get it? “Entailed”?)

All right, kiddos! It’s time for Part II of the conversation begun last week about estate planning for millennials, wherein we find a lighthearted way to talk about money and death. There should be a Schoolhouse Rock! cartoon on the subject. Unfortunately the show went off the air before it could find a catchy way to address the importance of bequeathing your earthly possessions and making provision for your dependents and heirs, so we’ll have to make do the best we can. Let’s start at the top.

WHERE THERE’S A WILL, THERE’S A WAY: What is a will exactly? Is it different from a Living Will? Is there such a thing as an Unliving, Unleavened, or Zombie Will? Do we still “entail” things, like they do on “Downton Abbey“? What if we’ve got nothing to leave but debt and a questionable browser history?

Millennials & Diversity

Alert: the current issue of Pacific Standard includes a thoughtful piece about millennials and diversity from beloved journalist Michael Dang (!). In "This Millennial Story is Different" Mike points out that when we're talking about a generation that is, according to a Pew Research Report, “the most ethnically and racially diverse cohort of youth in the nation’s history," it's ridiculous to keep on coming back to the same old broad-sweeping narrative.

Millennials in Washington

With the zeal of a motivational speaker, Behnke tells her clients they can buy in the District at a cost comparable to the pricey rents here if they take in roommates to help make the mortgage. Twenty-five-to-34-year-olds in the District might earn a median salary of $44,680 (nationally, the median income for millennials in metropolitan areas is $27,025). But rents in neighborhoods such as Columbia Heights, Adams Morgan and Logan Circle average $2,000 per bedroom — far above the generally recommended income-to-expense ratio of 30 percent. Why not pay yourself rather than a landlord, Behnke reasons.

Yet after a day of showings, the 29-year-old will trek up 11th Street NW to a Columbia Heights rowhouse she shares with three friends. With the city’s median home price at $460,000, the agent who sells the Washington dream is a renter.

This weekend’s Washington Post Magazine is all about millennials and though I generally can’t bring myself to read pieces about the youngs these days, I just couldn’t help myself. It’s not terrible? I did find the story about the millennial real estate agent trying to convince her peers to buy houses and then rent out the rooms so they can actually afford to live in them a little batty. Also, Georgetown is apparently trying to be cool with the young crowd again (what, was it not cool when I worked in that neighborhood nine years ago and went to piano-sing-alongs at Mr. Smiths?).

The Woman Behind #GIRLBOSS

Nasty Gal’s LA headquarters is a dog-friendly office with a yoga room and estrogen galore: According to NYMag’s profile of CEO Sophia Amoruso on the Cut, “More than three-quarters of Nasty Gal’s 300 employees … are women.” Together, they are #LivingTheDream:

The space is an upgrade for Amoruso, whose online fashion retail business got its start in a rented pool house in 2006. Seven years later, Nasty Gal had picked up $49 million in funding from Index Ventures, a firm known for its e-commerce track record, and now the company is doing upwards of $100 million in annual sales and selling to customers in 150 countries. Within a year, it plans to open its first brick-and-mortar store in Los Angeles and expand from clothing and shoes into home goods. And in early May, Amoruso herself began infiltrating bookshelves with #GIRLBOSS, a hybrid business bible and memoir. The hashtag is part of the title. It was Amoruso’s idea.

The profile describes Amoruso as an hipper, edgier, millennial answer to Sheryl Sandberg:

Whatever you think of Sandberg’s corporate feminism, the misstep [her ridiculed "Ban Bossy" campaign] scooped out a wide-open spot for someone different to come along—someone without a billion dollars, a bulletproof résumé, a perfect husband, and a roster of friends in high places. The cover of Lean In shows Sandberg relaxed and radiant in a white sweater, chin resting on palm. #GIRLBOSS has Amoruso in a tight black dress and spiky necklace, fists balled against her hips. One of her eyebrows is arched, villainess style. She looks like a person with intimidating sexual preferences.

At 30, she is opinionated (“I think it’s okay to call girls girls. And I think it’s okay to call girls bossy”), self-made, and savvy: when she started selling vintage clothes on eBay, “she recruited models off MySpace, paid them in hamburgers, and analyzed their conversion rates to see which ones were most effective.” Someday, she will be your daughter’s college commencement speaker. In the meantime, she has plenty of professional wisdom to impart:

Millennials Apparently Good With Money

TIME reports that a new survey shows that Millennials are good with their money—recognizing that they need to save and become better with their money.

One of the financial virtues of this group appears to be a slow and steady approach to building a nest egg. Roughly a third favor a long-term tried-and-true strategy, Northwestern Mutual found. Another third would like to take that approach but feel like they are too far behind to play it safe.

Millennials’ cautiousness may be a double-edged sword. Just 14% in the survey say they are pursuing a high-growth investment strategy even though such a strategy would promise superior long-term returns. This may be a case of playing it too safe. Millennials have 40 years to ride out any bumps. If their money is socked away in savings bonds and other ultra-conservative investments it won’t grow fast enough for them to retire even over a long period of time. Now is when they should embrace prudent, low-cost, diversified risk through stock index funds and similar investments.

What makes the Millennial generation so thoughtful about money?

Big Food Is Coming For Us

Apparently the three big trends are 1. millennials hate cans, so put your pre-made food in a bag or a box or something, 2. fancy buns instead of crappy white bread, and 3. JALAPEÑOS ("Millennials like "bold flavors"").

Millennials Now Earning a Median-Wage Income at Age 30

Through analyzing about three decades of census data—from 1980 to 2012—the study found that on average, young workers are now 30 years old when they first earn a median-wage income of about $42,000, a marker of financial independence, up from 26 years old in 1980.

About a third of adults in their early 20s work full time, a proportion that rises to about half of adults in their late 20s. The labor-force participation rate for young people last year declined to its lowest point in about 40 years, according to the report.

WSJ takes a look at a new report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, which shows how much more difficult it is for millennials to reach financial stability and find their footing in the workforce. One of the reasons it’s taking millennials longer to earn the median-wage income of $42,000 is that factory jobs, which used to pay decent salaries and didn’t require much more than a high school education have disappeared in the recession (not to mention, jobs in general). The factory jobs that are available require advanced skills, and those who can’t score full-time work are cobbling together part-time work in the service and retail industries while taking on internships to keep their resumes relevant. Every generation has had to hustle a little bit, but this one has a lot stacked up against them. [Report here.]

Photo: Vernon Chan