Updated: Mar 3
-What is a Millennial and what is their demographic? -What are the myths and stereotypes that are placed on Millennials? -What are the financial obstacles that Millennials have faced? -What are some personal finance choices that can be made to help with debt?
In this week's financial topic we are going to talk about millennials, stereotypes and money. We’ve been wanting to have a discussion on this topic for some time. We have so many conversations with our kids around topics of savings, budgeting, and career choices that we do feel comfortable providing a sound opinion on this.
We want to dispel the myths about millennials that are stereotyped and in many ways they are no different than any generation especially when it comes to money.
So why do we even want to cover this? Because we have kids that do not want not live with us of course! Our our objective is to help provide advice and guidance based on our own life experiences, and what we’ve taught our kids that has been successful:
We wanted to take a look at how things have changed over the years from consumer spending, saving for retirement, and that almighty word that people seem to throw around so freely when using the word “entitlement. ”
We find this topic very fascinating, as we are really in the thick of this with our oldest child, and truly see the differences in thinking between the generations; even from my parent’s generation.
Considering that Millennial consumers represent the highest-spending generation in 2020 - with a projected $1.4 trillion bil. This is concerning as they are the biggest generation in American history.
Baby boomers control over 53% of the country's wealth, while Gen X accounts for just over 25% and the silent generation holds around 17%, according to the Fed's data.
Let’s quickly break down what the Millennial generation consists of:
Gen Y and/or Millennials, were born between 1981 and 1996. They are currently between 25 and 40 years old.
They are actually broken down into two subsets:
-Gen Y.1 = 25-29 years old (around 31 million people in the U.S.)
-Gen Y.2 = 29-39 (around 42 million people in the U.S.)
-Millennials were given their moniker as they were born near or the beginning of the 21st century.
So What are These Stereotypes?
Let’s play a little game and review some of the common societal associations given to Millennials; and let’s test these like they do on the Mythbusters show on the Discovery channel.
Millennials are Compulsive Job-hoppers
-According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, people today that are in their 20’s are just as likely to leave their jobs as they did in the 80’s. So this appears to be just an age-related statistic:
So the analysis says . . . the myth is busted.
Millennials Set the Bar too High Because of a Sense of Entitlement
According to www.staffsquared.com, via a poll conducted by Gallup uncovered that out of the world’s one billion full-time workers, only 15% of people are engaged. That means that 85% of people are unhappy in their jobs.
So we can’t blame Millennials for wanting more from their employment if they are unsatisfied.
The problem arises when they may have to be a corporate person to achieve what they want; however, if they go for it on their own, then what is wrong with someone taking a risk?
So the analysis says . . . the myth is busted.
Millennials are Lazy
People want more freedom with work-life-balance. Some of the thought is that if I can work on email, notes and presentations can’t I do it in the coffee shop or the from a subway or from home? Do I have to do everything in an office?
I for one have been working remotely for years and I absolutely love it. I can choose my balance of being on site or at home and it allows me to manage my own schedule providing I am present when needed and I am performing the work at a high level.
So the analysis says . . . the myth is busted.
Millennials Want a Trophy for Everything
Does everyone deserve an 8th place trophy? It is important to note that it was the Baby Boomers and Gen X parents who created that part of the culture.
There is an argument to say that awarding people for “losing” may not be the correct method to help youngsters understand no one wins all of the time. There are only three medals awarded for Olympic competitions. There is only one Stanley Cup and Superbowl winner. There is value to trial and error and people do have to learn to fail in order to succeed. That is how life works. Oftentimes, failure creates opportunities. `
So the analysis says . . . the myth is plausible.
What Millennials Do Well
They stay positive
They prioritize their goals
They are outspoken
They tend to be activists
Why Focus on Millennials?
According to Forbes, Millennials will hold five times as much wealth as they have today and the group is anticipated to inherit over $68 trillion from their Baby Boomer parents by the year 2030.
This will represent one of the greatest wealth transfers in the modern times. Their fortunes will soon dramatically change for the better. They stand the chance to become one of the richest groups ever.
What is Millennial Money
This is typically centered around creating passive income where there is upfront investment with some management to get a venture off the ground and then money comes in with little involvement later on. This could be something as simple as collecting rent on properties.
According to statista there are 10.23 millionaire households in the US. (2018) We know that most wealth comes from real estate and not the stock market.
According to thecollegeinvestor.com, 90% of the world’s millionaires came from real estate.
Some people work in the gig economy (side hustles) where work is often done remotely and the work can be short term or less hours. Also, this may come with working multiple jobs at once or throughout the year.
There are also those that subscribe to the F.I.R.E Movement where the goal is to save 50% - 75% of income within a more traditional job structure, with a goal to retire around 35 and then live off the saved money while working side gigs.
So, if one chooses to work this way it is great; however, many of the 73 million Millennials are not achieving their goals of independence and not working at a cube everyday.
So where are Millennials today?
For one, they are the ones moving the workforce; however, they are living with very large amounts of student loan debt.
They have also lived through 9/11, the Great Recession (financial crisis of 2008) and the Coronavirus pandemic. In addition, wages on the whole have not increased in the last 30 years.
The Natural Effects of Debt
They're mostly just dealing with the cards they've been dealt. The financial crisis, student loan debt, and a higher cost of living have ultimately impacted their ability to save and achieve traditional milestones.
The bottom line, Millennials are coming off the heels of some pretty serious economic situations that have had lasting impacts. They worry they won’t be able to meet some key financial goals, such as buying a house, paying off student loan debt, saving for retirement, and additionally It is delaying major purchases like weddings and home purchases.
We talked about this in Podcast #51 Marriage or Mortgage where the couples on the show have a nest egg of $25,000 - $35,000 and presumably can’t afford a wedding and a new home.
Because of this financial instability, Millennials choose access over ownership, which can be seen through their preference for on-demand.
One common theme as we’ve found in our studies and our own experience is that Millennials seem to lag in their understanding of personal finance. They simply were not taught.
Here’s an interesting stat from the PEW research center; a majority of young adults in the U.S. live with their parents for the first time since the Great Depression.
52% of 18-29-year olds live with their parents which increased due to the Coronavirus cases Why they may be living at home can be tied to the high cost of education leading to considerable debt. For example, 1 in 4 Millennials has overdrawn their checking account in the past 12 months, and 23 percent have taken a hardship withdrawal from their retirement account. That is detrimental on the path of retirement planning.
In addition, we should point out we’re agnostic with how we feel about how anyone spends money. The same personal finance principles apply across the board. 75% of people live paycheck-to-paycheck and ⅔ of people do not budget; that is not just Millennials.
Personal Finance Tips to Get on Track
We receive questions from Millennials constantly asking to provide a list of tips they can choose from with the realization that it takes time to make a plan. So here we go!
Create a Vision Board Speaking of goals, create a vision board! This can help to develop a picture of where you want to be and how to get there, focusing on the short-term and long-term goals.
Maintain a Budget
If you don’t know how and where your money is being spent, we can almost guarantee you are spending more than you think; If you tracked spending history, the amount of money that could be saved would be astonishing which means much of your normal lifestyle can stay intact. This is the number one item in your life where you can make a difference with money management.
If you have student loans and have not refinanced them, this is a great place to start. The average debt according to Experian is $38,792. Rates can start at 3% (3/31/21).
Education This generation tends to feel that getting a prestigious degree or a secondary degree is a great way to advance a career and increase opportunities and income. This may not be the case; studies show it is more important that a single degree was obtained rather than where it was obtained from.
What Can you Live Without This may be the hardest thing for many people to accomplish even when knowing that it is the right thing to do. This may equate to cutting expenses on your hobbies, travel or getting prim and proper at the salon. You can do nails at home and color hair from a box, right? Career Choices If you need to earn more income or may want to work in another field, reach out to your network i.e. parents or their connections, best friends, aunts/uncles or whoever you can lean on for job connections. Use your adult network! It's not what you know, it's who you know.
Buy Quality Products Be patient when it comes to your purchases especially those you anticipate to last for a long period of time. Look for deals and find things at garage sales or estate sales which will be much lower in price. In addition, take your time and build up your inventory and you’ll see a difference in due time.
Living Situation If you have a home and it has equity, consider refinancing if that has not been done, but only if it lowers your overall debt commitment. Keep in mind that refinancing begins a brand new mortgage cycle which is typically 30 years.
The other option is to sell the home and take the profit and pay down debt. Then seek to lower your overall housing cost by downsizing or living in a place such as an apartment.
If you live at home, aggressively pay off your debt and build savings. We’ll presume that you can get a break on some bills and if not, make an arrangement with your family members to commit to a timeline to move out while paying off debt. When you move out, consider getting a roommate to lower the cost burden.
Let’s Do The Recap
#1 Millennials sometimes get stereotyped with being outspoken, how they choose to make a living or how they view the world; however, there is nothing wrong with choosing not to work a corporate job and wanting to have passion for the work that motivates them. Keep in mind that 90% of all businesses in the United States are from entrepreneurs.
#2 Before passing judgement on Millennials as a whole, in many ways they are not much different than anyone else. Most Americans have large amounts of debt and can’t afford to retire. Not to mention that I can’t imagine not having my iPhone and there are plenty of Boomers on Facebook.
#3 Millennials are the generation driving the workforce. They have also faced many historical financial obstacles in light of them standing to inherit a large amount of wealth.
#4 With that being said, there are some things that can be done to get on the right track. This starts with a vision board to create a plan to achieve goals.
#5 First and foremost this starts with creating and managing a budget. There are many tools out there that are free of charge so there are no excuses. Without budgeting, you are playing against a stacked deck of cards, meaning the odds are you will lose many of the hands that are played.
In order to achieve financial stability for those of you that have large amounts of debt, this means that sacrifices have to be made. The hardest thing for people to do is give up things that they enjoy; however, spending a few years executing a plan can open doors for many years to come.