Let’s Teach Our Children To Be Successful

On November 21, The NC Family Policy Council posted an article about the keys to help our young people become successful adults.

The article notes:

While some of these trends have been beneficial (I’m personally a fan of working remotely), not all of these have been good for our society. Many of the values that the parents of these two generations have tried to pass on have instead been tossed to the wayside. Principles like the importance of getting a good education, waiting until marriage to have children, or getting a good job have been ignored more and more.

While the long-lasting impacts of these lifestyle changes are yet to be seen, researchers Wendy Wang and Brad Wilcox have confirmed that these “traditional” values are actually beneficial for individuals, giving them the information to build what they’ve termed the “Success Sequence.”

The Success Sequence

The report from Wang and Wilcox states that Millennials are most likely to live an economically successful life and avoid poverty if they follow these three steps:

    1. Graduate from high school or get a GED by their mid-twenties;
    2. Work full time;
    3. Marry before having children.

This sounds an awful lot like what my generation was told growing up. Here’s the evidence for their model:

    • 97% of Millennials who follow this sequence are not poor when they reach adulthood. The link remains strong when this cohort of young Americans reaches their mid-30s.
    • 94% of young adults from lower-income families who followed the success sequence are not poor.
    • 95% of young adults from non-intact families who followed the success sequence are not poor.
    • The poverty gap between college and high school graduates is small among those who followed the success sequence.

Correcting For Disadvantages

What is interesting is that this works across all of the variables that are often cited as reasons for people to be economically disadvantaged, including race, gender, parents’ low economic status, not receiving a college degree, and being from a non-intact family. The poverty rate for adults between the ages of 32 and 38 after completing each step is well under 10%, even for those experiencing the disadvantages mentioned above.

These are the values the parents of the baby boomers taught their children and grandchildren. It’s time to go back to those values.

The article includes a video summary: