Why 30 is the new 20: Meet the 'emerging adult'
Researcher Jeffrey Arnett says the period from 18 to 30 is now a new life stage on a longer path to maturity.
Jeffrey Arnett, a research professor in the psychology department at Clark University in Worcester, Mass., and the author of "When Will My Grown-Up Kid Grow Up? Loving and Understanding Your Emerging Adult," has devised a theory that considers the period from 18 to 30 a "new life stage between adolescence and young adulthood."
Arnett posits that 20 was the accepted age for hitting adulthood 50 years ago, but folks around that age today are just starting to sort out their careers and lives and are putting off marriage and children until after 30.
That line of thinking has already sparked a mini backlash among folks like Susan Patton, the mother of a Princeton University student who advised the school's female students to find a husband before graduating. It was also the topic of a long thesis by Newsweek writer Megan McArdle, who warned that families may not get the number of children they want if they wait until they're financially and socially stable before having them.
McArdle notes that college grads who wait until they're 30 or older to get married report an average annual income of $50,000 -- $20,000 a year more than those who marry before 21. That dovetails nicely with Arnett's observations about couples living together longer before getting married, planning for fewer children and developing full careers before starting families.
Does that make the millennials whom Arnett observed lazy or selfish? He says they just have really high expectations of both life and their jobs and are willing to do what it takes to get to those fulfilling gigs later. If that means working for minimum wage, as 284,000 college grads are doing, or making less money doing time at Starbucks (SBUX) or Wal-Mart (WMT) in exchange for college credits, they're in.
And selfish? This is a generation that's shunning Wall Street and that considers a position at St. Jude's Children's Hospital an ideal gig. Maybe their baby boomer parents instilled an oversize sense of confidence in them, but nine out of 10 of these "emerging adults" told Arnett they agreed with the statement "I am confident that I will eventually get what I want out of life."
If they're willing to ride out their 20s in low-paying jobs to ensure a gig at St. Jude's or Google (GOOG) in the future and somehow haven't had their dreams ground into dust by age 30, maybe Arnett is on to something. Maybe development occasionally needs arresting.
As a married 33 year old who has postponed starting a family until just recently, I don't think older generations realize how difficult it is nowadays for the average young person to do things like buy a home and achieve financial stability in their 20's.
I have a lot of respect for people who recognize they they wouldn't be able to properly care for another human being and wait to do so rather than bringing another mouth to feed into this world before they're ready.
trust me it's not that they are waiting for st. judes or google careers to open up... it's because there is very little in good paying jobs and high competition for them. unless you are a rocket scientist there is 1000 people out there with your same credentials.
Grad in 05 when I was 25. Didn't know what to do job wise. 27 found an ok job which led to something which turned into something else. Fast forward 4 yrs. Now 32, great wife, great career, and expecting my first child. 30 is the new 20.
Here's an idea, stop putting time stamps on life. Your life has never been lived before, it hasn't been written yet. Let God do his work and let the fates move as they will. Because you may die tomorrow, or you may die in 50 years. Live life fully, (and yes part of living fully involves working hard and commitment) and you will have no regrets.
wow, marrying in your late twenties or early thirties. What's wrong with this kids. They sound just like
Wernher Von Braun
It doesn't matter when you marry, it matters how long it lasts. many of those married at 20... don't make it past 35
it makes sense 30 is the new 20 and 20 is the 15's and pre teen is the preemie ...........
don't make excuses why people wont grow up
"I am confident that I will eventually get what I want out of life."
Like a job? Good luck with that.
In my experience I think you get what you put in. I'm a single 28 year old male. Got out of high school in 2003, went to an automotive trade school finished 2005 at 21. By 23 I had all my student loans paid off and a brand new truck paid for. At 24 I bought 2 rentals homes and home of my own. No debt other than mortgages and this is as an automotive technician...mechanic....grease monkey...whatever you want to call it. Not a glamorous job, not the best paying gig. You just got to prioritize want vs. needs. We get new hires at work that talk about wanting to do the same but then you watch them work and then see how much attention their cell phone needs..smoke breaks...eating out everyday and they claim they're not making enough to get by. I just shrug it off and get back to work because they have had every opportunity that I've had. Just not using it as wisely. I wanted to get all that out of the way before having a family. Its to each their own though. Live your life you way you choose and don't complain if its not going your way because you don't want to put in the effort. Just my experience....
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