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Keys to Success

game of life
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Kerby Andersonnever miss viewpoints

If the younger generation wants to know the keys to success, they need to follow the success sequence published by Bradford Wilcox and Wendy Wang. They say that the millennial generation is “more likely to flourish financially if they follow the “success sequence.” They say, you need to get at least a high school degree, work full-time, and marry before having any children, in that order.

Their recent study at the American Enterprise Institute has the title, The Millennial Success Sequence: Marriage, Kids, and the “Success Sequence” among Young Adults. They persuasively argue that if millennials follow this success sequence, they will have a 97 percent chance of not being poor by the time they reach their young adult years. In fact, 86 percent of those studied had family incomes in the middle class or above.

Their study reminded me of another study posted by William Galston. Many years ago, he found that in order to avoid being poor you must do three things: (1) graduate from high school, (2) wait until age 20 to have children, and (3) wait until getting married to have children. He has found that young people who follow these rules have a 92 percent chance of staying above the poverty line. By contrast, a young person who breaks just one of these rules has a 79 percent chance of ending up below the poverty line.

In a more recent op-ed, Galston (who served in the Clinton Administration) made it even simpler. Want to know the best poverty cure? Get married. Single parenthood hurts all children, and black children bear the greatest brunt of the harm. He even goes on to say that cohabitation is not a replacement for marriage. Most cohabiting couples only stay together for about 18 months on average.

All of these different studies come to the same conclusion. Marriage is important, and the keys to success are to follow what is now being called the “success sequence.”
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