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After April 2000

In the second half of the 1990s, especially, the goal of making money, lots and lots of money, eclipsed other choices for many Americans, most of them in their 20s and 30s. Many people made career decisions on the basis of the possibility of acquiring big money. Affluent youth in the nation's best universities disdained the professions and consulting to join Wall Street or they made it to Silicon Valley or Silicon Alley. For the first time in the history of the world, America produced a large class of affluent people.

But that changed: April 2000 marked the start of a bear market, the end of the IPO market, and the beginning of the dot-com decline. Some dot-comers, especially those in their early 20s, became angry, confused, and bitter. For the first time in their lives, their ebullient optimism gave way to fear. While the specific fear is not having a job, the underlying anxiety is, “What's going on? I'm supposed to be a millionaire by now! Am I too late? Is it over?”


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