Finances, The Recession and Generation Y

I'm not sure if you have heard, but it seems as if we are in the middle of a bad economy. Chances are you have heard and have an opinion about it. All over the mainstream and not-so-mainstream media outlets, people are weighing in about investments, currencies and credit. The markets are under analysis and people are giving a million suggestions on how to deal with the situation. Unfortunately, one key demographic is blatantly absent from a lot of these discussions. Young adults are not often brought into discussions relating to finance for a variety of reasons. The most critical reason being that a lot of college students and recent graduates simply do not have enough accumulated wealth or savings to be a part of the target market many financial institutions are soliciting. Regardless of the reason, younger people, me included, feel like nobody is speaking to them.

To further this stigmatization, gay and lesbian youth are pushed even further away. The general feeling in the business community is that gay and lesbian adults tend to have more discretionary income and indulge in investments, large-scale purchases and travel. Many studies have suggested that gay and lesbian people tend to bounce back quickly after a recession; such was the case following the September 11th attacks. With a lack of coverage of the financial troubles of both youth and gays and lesbians, those of us in both groups are especially left in the dark.

Today's young people are becoming a vital part of the economy in a way that no previous young generation has been. In today's workforce, it is no longer acceptable to have just a Bachelor's degree in order to find a well-paying job, but a very large portion of young people are seeing the need for post graduate degrees, as well. This is creating a need for "Generation Y" to budget, save, invest and spend in unprecedented ways. I could sit here and spout all the benefits of budgeting, saving and investing - but we fundamentally know that those things should be happening in theory. The hard part is implementation. Instead, there are other ways to keep yourself afloat in this type of economy while educating yourself through streams of information that may neglect you.

1 Educate Yourself Make it a point to keep up-to-date on the goings-on in the industry you work and the industry your skills are in. If you can adequately assess changes in the market as it relates to your job, a drastic job change will not come as such a shock. Being prepared and knowledgeable is essential to being able to deal and adapt to change.

2 Develop New Skills When the job market is volatile, every thing that sets you apart from the competition is extremely important. While it's a great asset to know your job well, it only benefits you to dabble in other skill sets that you can present to your employer or potential employers. For instance, if you program websites for your company, pick up a book on best case marketing practices and learn how you can use that website and other means to position your organization effectively. Then share these new ideas and skills with your co-workers to show how valuable your ideas and actions are.

3 Increase Revenue Streams Take your hobbies and figure out how to make money doing them. With so much technology at our disposal, there are a variety of ways to diversify your income. Becoming a freelance writer or photographer, designing easy websites or working retail once in a while are all ways to take something you love doing and to supplement your income. This is a good way to have more money to save and it will not leave you hopeless if for some reason your job security isn't so solid.
4 Have Contingency Plans Being prepared is half the battle. If you can think about the worst case scenario and figure out what you would do in such a situation, you will be prepared for anything. It will also help you feel more secure in your current place because you will know that you are prepared and can handle what the volatile markets throw at you. 

5 Be Young One of the greatest assets to our generation is our ability to adapt and learn. Older generations may chastise us for growing up with a need for instant gratification, but in a volatile workplace it can be a blessing. We expect things to happen very quickly and we can change quickly. If rent shoots up and spending habits need to change or if your employer suddenly needs you to take night classes learning Spanish - embrace the new opportunity.

The markets are volatile and job security is not what it used to be. Still, as Generation Y gays and lesbians, we have so much on our side to be at the forefront of change. Do not let the lack of representation in the financial media curb your enthusiasm or diminish your creative desires. We can set up secure futures for ourselves and ride this recession out in style.

Article brought to us by Richard Brower (


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