We’re way overdue for an update here at Thriving, but there’s just so much gloom out there that it became difficult to keep posting all the stories about high unemployment among young people, student debt levels that push young people to bankruptcy (or, sadly, suicide), and the ridiculously high rate of boomerang kids, those young adults who cannot make it in the world after college. (A combination of higher prices and stagnating and even shrinking wages makes certain of that.)

Even those “fortunate” young people who borrowed tons of money to get their degree and found a great high-paying job now struggle to pay the rent or mortgage payment because they have those monthly student loan payments sucking up chunks of their paychecks. Since the government took over 90% of the student loan market, these folks are basically slaves for the government. I don’t think most parents dreamed of that kind of future for their kids.

There are bright spots. My personal favorite stories are those that describe young people who are fighting to grow their own businesses, or those who are learning to build their own tiny homes so they can live on their own and be financially solvent. More power to them! I also enjoy reading about parents who are developing homesteads and putting their teens to work on them. They have the right idea: all young people need to work. If that work can’t be found in the marketplace (and increasingly it can’t), then work must be found at home.

The worst outcomes will be seen among those young people who don’t know how to work, those who have been coddled and spoiled, and those who plan to live off the largesse of the taxpayers. Parents who put their teens to work are doing their best to make sure their kids don’t fall into those three groups as adults.

Many of the events I wrote about in Thriving are not even news now; they’ve become common knowledge. Just yesterday Bill Gates openly acknowledged that machines are likely to make many more jobs disappear. What will we do? No one can say for sure, but I still believe that there are things we can do to help our kids survive and even thrive in such an environment; you’ll find that information in Thriving in the 21st Century: Preparing Our Children for the New Economic Reality.

Top Stories:

New jobs pay less so learn to handle money well.

Some young people are learning to buy almost nothing in order to make ends meet.

Google employees have lived in campers or cars on campus to save on rent.

Cheap tiny loft apartments draw young people quickly, create waiting list.

He earns 10K so he built a tiny house for 3K.

Some teens are learning to build tiny houses in high school.

Home sales are hurt by young adults who have student loan debt and can’t afford mortgage payments too.

Study finds fastest-growing careers don’t pay enough to allow home ownership.

Temporary work has become a way of life for many people.

Job opportunities for high school grads.

Too many STEM workers, not enough jobs.

Will half of today’s jobs be gone in ten years?

There is a future in teaching kids to grow organic food. (Great video!)

College dropout grows eBay business into a $100 million fashion empire.

Another college dropout founds free code academy with 26 million students.

Here’s one young man’s impassioned argument against college.

Mike Rowe discusses the high cost of college.

Young woman dies, leaving her parents with $200,000 student loan debt.

Only 1 in 5 college students earns a bachelor’s degree in four years:


Go to College or Develop a Skill?

Here’s an impressive, heartfelt post about college-level education by someone who’s been there, meaning she went to college, got the advanced degree….and the debt that came with it. If you or someone you care about loves to learn so much that they’re thinking of pursuing a life in academia, please share the link with them. Better yet, check out The Reluctant Archaeologist’s entire blog.

Setting Student Debt Slaves Free…..or Not

In the UK, most college grads will be paying off their student loans until they’re in their 50s. Can you imagine what that does to an economy when people can’t buy things because a good chunk of their paychecks are going to pay their student loans? At least in the UK they’re trying to fix this problem. But here in the U.S., we encourage our youngsters to borrow as much as possible without worrying about tomorrow.

This doesn’t bode well for the economy or for our young people. Fortunately there are new educational opportunities on the horizon that won’t require the borrowing of ridiculous amounts of money to pay for inflated tuition. Stay tuned.

Thwarted by Student Loan Debt

This young woman wants to be a nun. But she can’t become one until she pays off her student loans. This is just one more example of how student loans can hold you back. Unless a student is going into a field where a steady, decent income is virtually assured, borrowing money to go to college is a huge risk in the current economy.