Though Sean’s early years were forged in the turmoil of the Seventies Iran hostage crisis and gas lines, he and the rest of Generation Y, generally born between 1976 and 1982, are thoroughly children of the heady early days of the World Wide Web and dot-coms, the dawn of cell phones, and the success of the first Gulf war. That infused him with a sense of can-do optimism.
However, some psychologists say Sean and his Gen Y colleagues may also be the first Americans to have had their attention spans shortened by the rapid-fire pace of the newly emerging computer and video games, as well as the proliferation of cable TV channels such as MTV, CNN, and ESPN. This means that despite the credit crunch and economic uncertainty, Sean’s spending habits may still lean toward instant gratification instead of sacrificing for the long term.
If Sean entered the workforce early enough to take advantage of the stock market run-up of the Nineties, he has seen his finances stirred but not shaken. However, for the first time, he may be second-guessing his future. If he is married and has one or more children, he may be concerned about whether his career track and savings will right themselves in time to send his kids to college in addition to paying for a retirement that’s decades away.
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