Millennials (born between 1982 and 2004) are changing the way they do things. From where and how we choose to work to how we choose to spend our money. Here are a few things that make millennials stick out from the rest of the generations before them.
- Mobility = Freedom
We like to travel, work abroad, go on crazy adventures and drop everything to pursue what we love. Having the flexibility to do this means everything to us. Gone are the days where you graduate, get a well-paying job with a good pension, buy a white picket fence home and call it a day. We’re lucky if we can get a job in our field of study after graduation, let alone one with a good company pension…let’s not even start with the house. Because of the economic climate that many millennials graduated into and those whom will face this reality in the next few years to come, we had to forge our own way. The ability to find any work, let alone better work has caused us to become mobile, flexible and determined to make it.
2) Owning a home is optional…even a luxury
In addition to some of the reasons I mentioned above, the desire to own a home does not resonate with as many millennials as it used to in the past. Don’t get me wrong, I believe we still love the idea of having a place of our own…but at what cost? The cost to own and maintain a home in Canada has sky-rocketed compared to the salaries and wages to sustain keeping the home. Our three prime examples being Vancouver, Toronto and at one point Calgary. Even the current price of homes in Calgary have not adjusted to reflect the poor economic times Alberta is facing. The average detached home in Toronto is about $1.2 million, you may be able to get a one bedroom condo for $500k-$650k. In Vancouver, the cost of homeownership is 106% of the average families take home pay, at 5% down payment (cause let’s face it, at the ridiculous prices of Vancouver homes, 5% is all most people can afford). So before you pay for food, transportation etc., you are already at 106% of your family income. It’s no wonder many millennials are choosing not to sign up for that.
3) Student loan debt
Student loan debt has surpassed credit card debt in North America and is only second to mortgage debt. That should tell you a lot. That is the third reason that millennials are rethinking the way they live and where they live. From putting off buying a home, to moving from city to city to find the best employer that will provide them the best value (pay) for their time. If you graduated with $30,000- $100,000 of student loan debt, you might also find yourself motivated to become mobile, flexible and determined to find work that pays well. Cost of tuition is rising faster than the incomes students can anticipate to have when they graduate.
4) Spending anxiety
For many millennials, like most students, they enter post-secondary education with big dreams, high hopes and expectations after graduation. I mean let’s face it, that was the dream they were sold. From the government, to the post-secondary school they attended to their parents. We were told, if you work hard in school and get a good education, a good job will be waiting for us. Fast forward to the global economic crisis of 2007-2009, and people are singing a different tune. For the millennials that finished post-secondary around this time, it was a perfect storm. Big degree. Big expectations. No job. No income. Millennials are a generation of hustlers. First out of necessity and second out of desire. So it is no wonder that the first decent, somewhat well-paying job we get we may be picky about how we spend our money. Managing our money well was something we had to learn, it was not an option.
5) Rethink education. Education is about learning, not paper credentials
If there is anything I learned in my time after school during some serious economic rough times is that nothing is guaranteed, including a good job after a good education. Millennials are beginning to realize that a piece of paper saying that you studied *insert here* is not going to cut it anymore. So what, other people your age have graduated with 2 even 3 degrees at very respectable schools. This is another reason why we hustle, push the norm and get creative about how we get noticed. Graduating post-secondary after 2007 for most people (including myself) was rough. To adapt, millennials are starting to rethink the value of excessive schooling. Don’t get me wrong, I believe education is important. You can’t get very far in life without it. What I mean is the emphasis we put on how this education is delivered, how long we need to study and at what cost.
At the end of the day we need to own our lives and take responsibility for our own actions that lead us to where we are right now. It’s a two way street to some degree. You may have been dealt a bad card in life, and maybe even took all the wrong advice up until this point. So what, what are you going to do about it now?
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