“New Boomer” Economics

Call them millennials, the iGeneration or “New Boomers.” Though our region is known for attracting retirees, we think this younger generation can also help invigorate the area.

The rest of us need to do our part to attract them and retain them—creating more job opportunities, for example. But we offer many attractions to “New Boomers,” ranging from the Great Outdoors to tight-knit communities that prioritize social connections, volunteerism and giving.

In his book The Lucky Few: Between the Greatest Generation and the Baby Boom, author Elwood Carlson called millennials the “New Boomers” because of the upswing in births after 1983, finishing with the “political and social challenges” that occurred after the terrorist acts of September 11, 2001, and the “persistent economic difficulties” of the time.

Millennials have benefitted the least from the economic recovery of the Great Recession. They are faced with high housing prices, the rising cost of higher education, and the relative affluence of the older generation.

But our region can be the silver lining in this cloud. For example, we’re noticing that more millennials who live in high-cost Bay Area communities are choosing the Sierra and Sierra Foothills for their first home buying experience.

We’re a popular place, thanks to the Great Outdoors. This spring HGTV’s “House Hunters” series featured new boomers Travis and Morgan Fields of the Bay Area, who were renters at home in Oakland but seeking a $195,000 vacation home in Tahoe. In the long-run we think couples like the Fields will want to relocate here—for the year-round active lifestyle that we all enjoy.

“This generation knows they have lots and lots of options in all aspects of their lives,” as Katie Elfering, an expert on millennials points out.

Examples abound. One of them is realtor Jeremy Jacobson, a Los Angeles native who visited Lake Tahoe on a ski trip and now makes Truckee his home. “The snow brought me here, and the summer keeps me here,” Jeremy explains. He shares his passion for the Sierra as a volunteer with numerous outdoor initiatives and community events.

To help showcase all the cool, inspiring people and places in our region, pro skater Bob Burnquist of Brazil “busted moves” on a floating skate ramp on Lake Tahoe. The YouTube video has gone viral as part of Visit California’s Dream365 initiative.

Our region is making progress when it comes to attracting a “New Boomer” workforce. Western Nevada County is closer to becoming home to a 1 Gig internet network, rivaling any big-city connectivity. The Nevada County Economic Resource Council also won a $500,000 grant to put toward creating a digital media campus to attract and train millennials and others.

In addition, Truckee also is a possible home for some workers at the new $5 billion Tesla gigafactory near Reno— a gigantic project that is tied to the millennial mindset of embracing electric vehicles. We dedicate this issue to both the young and the “young at heart.”

(Photo: Andreas Hub, 9MPhoto)

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