I published this blog four years ago and it remains one of the most read and commented on blogs.  Social Media has provided for both the immediate gratification of sharing your success and adventures; thus, creating an inflated version of your own existence.  This has the impact of making many of the millennial’s wonder about why they are “not special.”

Special is defined as,

better, greater, or otherwise different from what is usual.”

Paul Harvey, a University of New Hampshire professor has researched this, finding that these “unrealistic expectations and coupled with a strong resistance toward accepting negative feedback,” and “an inflated view of oneself.”  He says that “a great source of frustration for people with a strong sense of entitlement is unmet expectations. They often feel entitled to a level of respect and rewards that aren’t in line with their actual ability and effort levels, and so they might not get the level of respect and rewards they are expecting.”

With that introduction, I return you to June 2013 and “The Cupcake Generation:

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve likely heard of the famous “You are Not Special” speech delivered by Wellesley High School English Teacher, David McCullough in May of 2012.  I thought this would be a good topic to revisit and get our readers feedback on how you feel about the “Cupcake Generation”.

The Cupcake Generation, also known as Millenials?   now represent “the highest percentage of Americans lacking enough money to meet their basic needs,” outdistanced Gen X-ers and Baby Boomers in that dubious regard, according to the survey released last month by WSL/Strategic Retail

Yes, “The Cupcake Generation” the latest generation following the Baby Boomers.  They all grew up with the idea that “everyone gets a cupcake”.   Adversity and challenge breed character and attributes like fortitude but when you get a medal for showing up and generous compliment and encouragement, it is not unimaginable to see how that leads to self-entitlement. We have gone from generations that broadly lacked the self-esteem to ones that operate with an over-supply of self-esteem.

A 2010 Pew Research Center study, focused on 50 million Americans between the ages of 18 and 29, bolsters the picture of a young-adult generation forced to make tough financial choices.

Sixty percent said they do not earn enough to make ends meet. Thirty-six percent said they rely on their families for financial support. And, compared with 25 years ago, households headed by under-35s have 68 percent less wealth than their parents’ generation had Pew’s research also showed. Downward Mobility is the new norm, or so it seems.

The trends that we see are:

  1. Adult children rely on their parents for more financial support than ever before; potentially causing the parents to sacrifice their own retirement.
  2. Beneficiaries are spending inheritances at an ever uncontrolled rate. The average inheritance last less than 18 months.
  3. Many parents are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on education, only to find their children moving home, possessing little ambition and being highly selective prior to taking the first job.

The question that I pose to you is this – Is the lack of Cupcake Generation a result of their feeling of self-entitlement or the result of a generation of Helicopter Parents?

Tell us what you think and what steps you would take with your children.

Email your comments Michael@yourbestmoneymove.com


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Michael Tannery CPA CDFA® AIF® ●  CEO
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