Adaptability, Education, Job Training, and Lifestyle
Lessons from Twenty-Somethings
People of all ages are enrolling in trade schools, certificate programs, community colleges, and universities. Discussions about education for education sake seem to have quieted in the current economy. Concerns about how debt will be repaid or savings will be replenished lead to greater emphasis on education as job training.
In many cases forty to sixty year olds are returning to school, job training for midlife careers. My 57 year old sister, Karen, is a great example. She had a long career in time-share marketing. When the industry flattened she identified a new career path in the medical industry. She successfully completed the necessary classes and certificate programs for employment as unit clerk in a hospital setting. She got the job! And, she continues to take classes planning to improve her income potential. The added value; she experienced so much success in her studies that she is now planning to complete a degree program. She is hooked on learning. Like millions of boomers she plans to work until she is 70.
I believe Karen was influenced by her two twenty-something daughters and their successes in school, planning for medical careers. The twenty-somethings have certainly caught my attention as a financial counselor. Whether they have completed college or been out in the workforce they are a resourceful group. And, I believe they understand personal finance in ways that will serve them well. I have talked with fifteen remarkable twenty-somethings recently and they offer interesting perspectives in personal finance. Here is what I glean from this small sampling:
· Securing a job requires targeted and specific skills. Trade schools and certificate programs offer that type of job preparedness, even for college graduates. Lifetime learning is connected to lifetime income.
· Keeping obligations (debt) to a minimum provides flexibility for trying different types of jobs and personal mobility for broader life experience.
· Shared housing, or living at home with family, is just fine. They don't seem to be hung up on securing personal identity through independence.
· It's not necessary to select a lifetime career. Adaptability and change will be part of any career path. Jobs are not forever.
· They will not be replicating their parent's lifestyles.
· Marriage and family may be high on their long-term list of goals; there is no sense of urgency. They didn't seem pressured to set specific timelines.
· Their lifestyles do not accommodate the accumulation of a lot of material goods. However, communication technology is essential in support of their Valuable Daily Lives.
It occurs to me that these twenty-somethings may have a clear, less obstructed view of how to operate in the emerging economy.