While generational stereotyping can be a fool’s game, some clear patterns do emerge when examining the economic challenges faced by certain age groups. Particularly around finding financial freedom.
Older Millennials (born in the 1980s and 1990s) and Generation X (born in the 1960s and 1970s) have faced particular financial hardships that set them apart from both their predecessors and successors.
From the after-effects of the dot-com bubble to the 2008 financial crisis, and from eroding social safety nets and globalization, to skyrocketing education and housing costs, these generations have experienced some of the most tumultuous economic periods in modern history.
And yet, unlike the New Deal that created middle and upper class mobility and stability out of the Great Depression, our generation has been more or less left to fend for ourselves by dysfunctional policymakers who are more interested in scoring political points than fixing problems.
And that means living without financial security much less financial freedom.
So let’s examine the raw deal that our generation has faced.
Then, more importantly, let’s look at what we can do to compensate for it and finally achieve not just security, but financial freedom and, more importantly, time freedom!.
Airing of our Generation’s Economic Grievances
People born in the 1960s through 1990 got a raw economic deal. We dealt with economic shock after shock in addition to systemic economic changes brought about by automation and globalization. Let’s review how our financial freedom has been undermined.
Dot-Com Bubble and 2008 Financial Crisis
Gen Xers entered the workforce during or shortly after the dot-com bubble burst in the early 2000s. Just as we were beginning to recover and establish ourselves, the 2008 financial crisis hit, leading to widespread job losses and housing foreclosures. Older Millennials, on the other hand, were graduating college or entering the workforce around or after the Great Recession, often bearing substantial student loans, only to find a hostile job market that made it difficult to find well-paying jobs, if any at all.
The Vanishing Pension
For generations, pensions provided a sense of long-term financial security for retirement. Personally speaking, all four of our parents had jobs that paid them a certain amount of money in retirement for as long as they live. However, the shift from defined-benefit plans (pensions) to defined-contribution plans (like 401(k)s) placed the investment responsibility AND risk on individual employees. By the time Gen Xers and Millennials entered the workforce, most companies had already phased out traditional pension plans. We were and are expected to take money out of our current earnings to save for retirement. For many of us, this wasn’t really an option. And now, as retirement age becomes more of a reality, we are completely unprepared.
Skyrocketing Student Loan Debt
The cost of higher education has dramatically increased over the past few decades. Older Millennials, in particular, were often told that a college degree was the key to financial success. However, this promise came with significant student loan debts. Which many are still grappling with in their 30s and 40s. Starting out life $100,000 or $200,000 in debt is an heavy anchor on financial freedom.
Homeownership is often seen as a cornerstone of financial stability and a pathway to wealth creation. However, due to a combination of factors, including the housing market crash in 2008 and rising home prices, many Gen Xers and older Millennials have found it challenging to afford homes. This has implications not just for individual homeownership but also for the ability to build intergenerational wealth.
Automation and Globalization
The decline of middle-class manufacturing jobs in developed countries also left many in our generation without a path to financial freedom. Driven by automation, globalization, and cheaper labor markets, many once-thriving industries have outsourced or eliminated jobs that were once the backbone of the middle class. This flight of jobs led to economic disparity. Our parents worked good paying factory and other labor jobs with good benefits. Our generation are offered service jobs with low pay and few benefits.
And even for those with good jobs, wage growth has been relatively stagnant for several decades. This means that while the cost of living has gone up, paychecks haven’t kept pace.
Erosion of Social Safety Nets
Many of the social programs that previous generations relied on, such as Social Security, are predicted to be underfunded in the coming decades. This means that Gen X and Millennials may not have the same level of support in their retirement years as their parents did. When we were in college we used to joke that by the time we retired Social Security would be all used up by the Baby Boomers. That joke isn’t so funny anymore.
Gig Economy and Job Insecurity
While the gig economy offers flexibility, it often lacks traditional job benefits like healthcare, paid leave, or retirement savings options. As more companies move toward freelance or contract work, long-term job security becomes more elusive for these generations.
To top it all off, now that we are getting a little older and have some experience, companies are starting to value youth over experience. And in an economy where there is no loyalty between employer or employee that means finding a job in your 40s and 50s becomes harder rather than easier.
So How Can Our Generation Achieve Financial Freedom
Alright. Enough complaining. It is what it is and we can’t change that.
But what we CAN do is adapt and adjust.
The first thing we have to do is accept our lot in life. Yes, our generation got a raw economic deal. It sucks. But wallowing in frustration isn’t going to provide financial freedom. Neither is getting angry. What WILL fix it is accepting the reality we’ve been given. And finding financial security IN SPITE OF the crappy cards we’ve been dealt.
Loyalty is for Suckers
Many of our parents worked the same job their entire lives. Why were they loyal to those companies? Because those companies were loyal to them! If they kept showing up and worked hard they’d get job security, good benefits, regular pay increases, and a pension in retirement.
What do companies offer today? No job security, crappy benefits that employees have to subsidize, and zero pension. We owe these companies ZERO loyalty. To be clear, everyone should work hard and do their best at their job. But the point is since employers have no loyalty to us, we owe them none in return.
This mindset is critical to finding financial freedom today.
Enter the Side Hustle: Your Path to Financial Freedom
The gig economy is here, like it or not. So it’s time to embrace it.
For our generation, sticking to the age-old advice of “get a stable job and save for retirement” is probably not be enough. Which is stressful as hell! And that’s where the concept of side hustles, especially online ones, comes into play.
If you don’t already have a side hustle going, why not!?
Don’t have enough time to drive for Uber or Door Dash? Yeah, us neither.
That’s why we have embraced online side hustles to achieve financial freedom.
The Power of Online Side Hustles
The beauty of online side hustles lies in their accessibility and scalability.
- Low Startup Costs: Many online ventures, like blogging, drop shipping, or affiliate marketing, have minimal initial expenses.
- Flexible Hours: You can do them during off-hours, making them ideal for those juggling jobs, studies, or family responsibilities.
- Global Reach: Traditional businesses are limited by geography. Online platforms, on the other hand, offer a global audience.
- Location Independent: You can do online side hustles from home, while travelling, or even during your lunch break at your 9 to 5 job.
- Passive Income Potential: While they require upfront effort, online side hustles like creating courses, writing e-books, or affiliate marketing can eventually become sources of passive income.
Adapting is the Key to Finding Financial Freedom
Online side hustles are not a guaranteed path to riches.
Like any business, they require effort, dedication, and continuous learning.
However, what they undeniably offer is empowerment. They enable you to take control of financial security, reduce your dependence on a disloyal employer, and open the door to financial freedom.
Today, we have 9 income streams. Of those, 7 are from online side hustles.
Our Favorite (and Most Profitable) Side Hustle: Affiliate Marketing
Our easiest and most profitable side hustle is affiliate marketing.
Here’s why we love it: it requires no experience, any sort of social media following, no upfront investment, and, as noted, it’s our top-performing revenue stream.
It provides us with with financial freedom.
And you can start at any age. We started in our 40s!
We love it so well that Lisa wrote an e-book about it. You can get it for free by clicking or tapping here.
How Affiliate Marketing Works
Imagine telling your friends about a cool product or a service you love.
Now, imagine getting paid every time one of your friends buys that product because you recommended it.
That’s basically affiliate marketing.
You promote a product online, and when someone buys it through your special affiliate link, you get a commission.
It’s like a thank-you from the company for bringing them a customer.
The best part is that you can find out if affiliate marketing is right for you by taking a 15-day challenge that ONLY COSTS $7!
That’s how we learned.
It’s called Legendary Marketer, and you can read more about it in this article: Make Money Online as a Freelance Affiliate Marketer.
And in case you were wondering, YES, if you do buy that $7 course, we earn a small commission from your purchase. That’s exactly how affiliate marketing works!
But that’s not why we recommend it.
We recommend it because for $7 you get to find out if affiliate marketing is right for you. And if it is, you can make thousands a week – heck, per DAY – as an affiliate marketer.
But don’t just take our word for it.
Here’s a YouTube channel where over 800 people share their success stories about starting an affiliate marketing side hustle after taking the $7 challenge. People just like you and me who had never heard of affiliate marketing, making thousands working just a few hours a day.
Bottom Line – Financial Freedom for People Born Between the 1960s and 1990s
Our generation, more than any before, needs to embrace change proactively if we want to achieve financial freedom.
Pursuing side hustles, particularly online ones, isn’t just about earning extra cash.
It’s about future-proofing ourselves in a digital, dynamic world. It’s about adaptability, resilience, and carving out our own paths in a shifting financial landscape.
It’s about living our best lives free from the stress of financial insecurity. It’s time with our loved ones. Travelling. Paying for the kids college.
And the ability to retire.
All you have to do is start.
- Legendary Marketer 15-day affiliate marketing challenge. For $7 you can take a 15-day challenge to see if affiliate marketing is right for you.
- LisaReidmiller.com. Lisa’s guide to getting started with affiliate marketing.
- Blogging Fast Lane. We took this course early into our days of blogging and it taught us step-by-step how to set up a blog that converts for affiliate revenue.
- Read our article: What is Affiliate Marketing – And How Do I Get Started?
- Read our article: 5 Tips and Tricks to Make Money Online with Affiliate Marketing
- Find out: 5 Ways to Make Money from Home – Or Anywhere!
- Learn Why Gen X and Millennials Need to Learn How to Make Money Online