You are so right about the psychological tactics companies use.
One of the saddest things about the younger generation is that “we” (not me, per se, but all the idiots my age who voted for Reagan) destroyed the structures underpinning the American Dream, and they are trying to discover a completely new way to build their lives.
While I know that some young people haven’t learned basic budgeting skills, so much of their problems have to do with the impossibility of paying for school and then going off on your own.
When I went to UCLA, it cost $1500 per year in tuition and my summer job could almost pay for it. My son graduated from UCLA in 2007, and we’ve been fortunate enough to pay for his schooling so he didn’t leave with $80,000 in student debts. Twelve years later, it’s closer to $100,000 for a California resident to go to a public university.
When I graduated school, my mom had a 3-bedroom apartment in a decent, centrally located part of L.A. for $700. Today, a 1-bedroom in the same neighborhood costs between $1500–2500.
The reality is getting a “good” job that pays $50,000 per year in Los Angeles qualifies you to have a car, some insurance, and draw straws to see who get to sleep in the bedroom each night.