Generation Debt: Buy or Don’t Buy?

This week, The Simple Dollar takes a look at Generation Debt, a book that proposes to show why today is a terrible time to be young, from a financial perspective, at least. Is there enough meat on this idea to make an interesting argument, or is this book just blowing in the wind? Let’s find out.

With a title like this, it’s difficult to really guess what the book will actually be about. When I first picked up Generation Debt, I was expecting a lengthy missive about the specific financial problems of Americans under the age of 30, who are facing a set of financial conditions much different than previous generations faced during their early adulthood.

Although that topic was covered, I felt that the book really wasn’t about that at all. Instead, I felt that the book was much more about generation gap issues, particularly focusing on the upper middle class children of the youngest of the baby boomers (a group of which I am a member), those that ride the line between Generation X and Generation Y.

Rather than strictly talking about dollars and cents, this book is mostly about the varieties of experience that these two generations have in their early adult lives, mostly focusing on the younger set because their situations aren’t documented nearly as well. In that regard, the book succeeds brilliantly.

Thus, the people that really need to read this book are teenagers, twentysomethings, and their parents. In fact, I’ve gone so far as to consider giving a copy of this book to my parents and to my mother- and father-in-law to read because it captures in great detail the differences between our experiences.

If this generational gap is not an issue for you, then this book is probably not worth your time. Although culturally interesting, most of the power of this book is reserved for adult children on the cusp of independence and baby boomers who wear rose colored glasses.

Generation Debt is the fourteenth of fifty-two books in The Simple Dollar’s series 52 Personal Finance Books in 52 Weeks.

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