Survive + Thrive

The Silver Lining

Life handed them a recession;
Gen Next is making lemonade

By Elizabeth Sheeran

The recession hurts. Unemployment is at its highest in decades, and for 18 to 30 year-olds, the jobless rate is into double digits. But for the four out of five young adults in Massachusetts who are still gainfully employed, their recession is not their parents’ recession.

Since they’re just getting started, few of them are fretting about falling property values or dwindling retirement savings. Instead, they’re taking advantage of bargains on everything from real estate and stocks, to travel and electronics.

Young adults with a little money to work with are buying their share of the American dream. And since the recession has all but swept away the culture of conspicuous consumption and the pressure to keep up, they’re free to define their version of the dream on their own terms.

A recent Pew study found members of so-called Generation Next remain more optimistic than any generation before them – probably with good reason.

Video: The Greatest Generation
In the 1930s, the phrase “when life hands you lemons, make lemonade” reflected a make-the-most-of-things attitude that helped pull the nation out of the Great Depression. Americans who came of age in the 1930s went on to thrive. They came to be known as the Greatest Generation.

Gen Nexters are making this recession work for them. Perhaps they’re poised to become the next great generation.

The real estate downturn is opening doors for younger homebuyers.

What financial crisis? Young investors are counting time on their side.

Recession travel deals are paving the way for young globetrotters.

Thrift is in: In trying times, young adults are discovering less is more.