Every week I will share a post with you that was inspired by a PF blogger. There are so many talented PF bloggers that I follow, but every once in a while I stumble on a post that really gets my attention. In these posts I will expand on their ideas and findings, provide my perspective and two cents about the topic.
This post was inspired by Finance Superhero’s ‘Adult Dorms- the Solution for Broke and Lonely Adults’ post. Finance Superhero discusses the introduction of adult dorms for millennials. Adult dorms are temporary to long-term residences that cater to millennials age 25 to 35. It features a similar layout to college dorms or senior homes but is geared and marketed to millennials. A small fully furnitured rental unit (about 300 sq. ft.) in which common areas are shared. Most dorms have standard amenities like shared kitchen, bathrooms, living room and cafeteria. Others include perks like masseuse services. These types of dorms are becoming more popular due to a rising cost of living coupled with stagnant income that millennials face, or at least that is how they are marketed.
Finance Superhero agrees that there are benefits to adult dorms like saving money, but these types of living arrangements as a young adult solve the symptom, not the problem. The real problems that millennials face are financial and social stress. Financial stress due to poor spending habits coupled with earning less. Social stress due to over-exposure of social media and technology than any other generation in the past. His solutions include getting on a written budget and overcoming FOMO (fear of missing out) by unplugging from social media and technology from time to time.
Here are three direct quotes from his post that caught my eye:
“In my opinion, adult communal living stunts growth and prevents people from developing the independence needed to thrive professionally, socially, and financially”.
“At best, adult communal living seems to disguise social immaturity by rationalizing it in the form of ‘saving money.’ It also enables young adults to avoid their ultimate fear of growing up and becoming fully-independent contributors to society”.
“Adult dorms are a fine idea on the surface, but they do not effectively help young adults fix their financial and social problems. Though they may be the way of the future, the tried-and-true societal constructs represent the best hope for adults to achieve financial success and social satisfaction”.
To read his entire post, click here.
The increase in adult dorms due to financial stress that millennials face does not come as a surprise to me. I have discussed in previous posts why saving money is becoming harder for the average North American, due to rising costs and stagnant incomes. I also mentioned that many millennials (over 70%) have an added disadvantage of beginning their adult working life with a negative net worth due to student loans and other debts. I concluded that even with these obstacles, we can still save money. To see these posts, check out ‘Is it Becoming Harder to Save?’ part 1 and part 2.
What this post did get me thinking about was the social interaction struggles that seem to be unique to our generation. Most adult dorms like Common Space and Pure House market their affordability and the opportunity for social interaction as a benefit to rent there.
But will adult dorms help correct the perceived poor social interaction caused by social media and technology that our generation seems to be facing?
My guess is no, but adult dorms are only now gaining in popularity so there is not enough data available to provide an answer to this. However, the constant exposure to social media and technology is a real problem that has real psychological consequences like never before. The significant influence that social media, technology and television is having on individuals is so prominent now that the field of psychology developed a sub-specialty to study it further, called media psychology. Internet Addiction Disorder (IDA) is an addiction believed to cause tremors, shivers, nausea and anxiety in some addicts. Some psychologist equate it to pathological disorders like gambling and eating disorders.
Even if people use social media and technology for positive things that will develop their skills and knowledge like building a business or research, there may still be negative effects. Time is taken from face to face interaction in order to do this. Even as I write this I cringe because I have probably been at my computer for 3 hours now.
Young kids and teenagers may be more negatively affected than older millennials and boomers as their exposure to social media is greater. Studies have found that teenagers who engage in social media at night sleep 2 hours less each night than those that do not. This can not only stunts the physical and mental development of a child but increase their risk of anxiety and depression as an adult (The Guardian). The chart below shows that younger millennials do engage in social media more than older millennials and boomers.
The question now becomes; what kind of effect will this have on the population in the future?
The popularity of adult dorms may be an indication of difficult financial times for millennials, but I think it is deeper than that. Some adult dorms actually market at prices higher than bachelor suites. I believe it signifies a ‘social starvation’ that has been created through overuse of social media and technology. Too much of a good thing can be bad for anyone.
Here are a few things I do to ensure face to face interaction is still present in my life:
- When things are not as busy at work, I will regularly take the time to say hello and strike up a short conversation with some of my fellow coworkers instead of surfing the net. This not only builds good work relationships, it allows me to unplug for a few minutes and stretch my legs.
- I never use technology when eating at home. Breakfast, lunch and dinner is family time. This is a habit my husband and I are implementing early on in our marriage.
- Date night with my husband cannot include technology. This increases intimacy and improves conversation in our marriage.
- I check my personal Facebook account every 4-6 weeks and regularly go on a social media diet.
- I do not work on my blog on Sundays.
So what do you think? Do you think adult dorms (co-living) is a good idea for the targeted age group? How do you think adult dorms will affect millennials in the long run?