Update

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:

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Another Job Growth Area for Young People?

The demand for organic food is beginning to attract the attention of  young adults who are looking for meaningful work. Given the sometimes questionable quality of what’s available in the supermarket these days, I hope this trend of young people becoming organic farmers continues!

The Teen Unemployment Rate is Bad Enough Already!

One of the very best things that can happen to teens is that they go to work.

Work is an incredible source of education for young people. It gives them so many skills beyond the immediate task at hand, things like learning how to get along with your boss, learning to be polite to customers who may not be so polite to you, being accountable to someone besides your parents, and learning how to handle money you’ve earned.

But this lousy economy has increased the teen unemployment rate, and our government is likely to make things worse by raising the minimum wage. Read this article for some great insight into this situation. Then reread these three paragraphs, which every parent needs to think about:

It seems contradictory that the University of Missouri can charge youngsters $22,000 annually for tuition, room and board, yet it’s not OK for that same teenager to voluntarily sell his labor at a cost he and his employer deem fair.

Contrast this with a Kansas City youth lowering his hourly wage to $5. After a year, he’d have $4,680 less than he may have received, assuming he could have secured a job at the higher $7.25 government wage.

He’d also have a year’s worth of actual job training, experience and a track record to build upon. A year later at the university, and he’d have $22,000 in debt, three more years ahead and an additional $66,000 to borrow.