The Atlantic published an article last week attempting to pinpoint the differentiating factor in the majority of, or rather "all Millenials", financial standing. They concluded that the answer was rich parents. The logic was that unlike the majority, Millenials with rich parents do not have to take out student loans and thus graduate college in good financial standing. "For the very luckiest," the article continues, "They'll also get some help with a down payment, making homeownership possible, while it remains mostly unattainable for the vast majority of young adults." The article goes on to state that homeownership is still the primary way Americans build wealth, and since most Millenials won't be able to afford to own a home soon after college, they will be financially hurt in the long run.
This is a harmful message to send to Millenials. My life is a testament to the opposite of this. To provide some background, I founded my company Fifth Avenue Brands when I was in high school. I'm now in my 20's and today, we represent major companies and personalities across the country. I am fortunate to have built a successful company, but it was not luck, chance or any lottery. It came down to ambition, sacrifice, discipline and very hard work. Most importantly, my story is not as uncommon as people think. I have countless friends in the entrepreneur community who have risen from backgrounds harder than mine and went on to become highly successful.
More positive messages need to be sent to Millennials about opportunities in the economy and in their own potential. Instead of talking about how the odds are stacked against us, why not publish more news articles about the vast entrepreneurial opportunities available to Millennials, especially as a result of the internet and social media? The truth is that there's never been a generation that has more opportunity than Millennials and businesses could never be grown faster and more creatively than right now.
Not only is the The Atlantic's conclusion inaccurate, it sends a dangerous and discouraging message to youth about what their potential and limits are in life. This is not how we raise up leaders and job-creators. Regardless of the economy, in America you can still come from any background and do truly extraordinary things. The idea that you didn't win the birth lottery and as a result will face near impossible odds to become well-off is simply untrue and nonsense. We need to end messages likes these.