5 Ways Millennials Think Differently About Life

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.

  1. Mobility = Freedom

we are the millennials

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

no thank you please

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.gif

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

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

too cool for school.gif

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?

 

Categories: Debt, Life

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12 replies

  1. This is my life. Except for the spending anxiety… waaayy too late for that!

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  2. The world we live in is dynamic and ALWAYS changing. Learning to adapt to one’s current environment is an important skill to survival. Expectations need to be traded in for CREATIVITY. Today, we are not handed our futures. We must learn how to create them. Millennials feel slighted and must learn to let those feelings go, because they will only cause self harm. I suggest instead to use your education and the brain you successfully developed attaining your degree, to determine the ACTION STEPS required to achieve the life and lifestyle you desire. If you follow this advice, you will likely EARN the rewards you seek.

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  3. I am a millennial and I find it interesting that one of the most common topics my friends and I discuss is personal finance (and the anxiety around our debt (mostly student loans)). It comes up all the time! I wonder if early generations were like us in that respect or if we are unique due to existing college during the great recession?

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  4. As a baby boomer parent of 3 millennials, I see all five of these in my kids. Thank goodness they are opting out of the ‘status quo’ and enjoying freedom from the traps we boomers landed in!

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  5. Yes, yes, yes!!!!! I 100% agree with your list!

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  6. While I was reading this post, I couldn’t help but remember what my parents used to tell me.

    As I was reading your post, I realized that the society has truly changed. My time and my parents’ time are two different times and, so, there are times that what I think may not be good in their eyes and vice-versa. i like how you detailed #2, that is, owning home is optional. My mom still tells me that it’s good to have a house of my own. I agree to her reasoning at a certain point. Having said this, I don’t think that owning a house is not for me or not a good investment for me. That thought is as of today and may change in the near future.

    For me, I’d rather spend my dollars to something that would generate me more money. My mom tells me a house is an investment. Because I am a finance guy and always try to calculate almost anything. My calculation states that it’s not always a good investment when I consider the property taxes, maintenance, interest, among others into the equation.

    Really eye-opening post.

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    • Thanks, I am glad you liked my post. I see residential homeownership as an expense, not a investment because it is not generating me more income to live in my home. I am also not opposed to buying a home one day, but the numbers need to make sense, and right now they don’t. For many Canadians to be able to live comfortaby, save atleast 10%- 15% of their income towards retirement, save for their childs education and be able to go on trips without getting into debt is not common for the middle class Canadian. For now I am more interested in taking the additional savings I get from renting and investment thaat money, allowing me to get a 6%-9% return in the long run.

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  7. Interesting post! I had no idea home prices were so astronomical in Canada! That’s what they’re like in Washington D.C. Millennials have no choice but to rent, live with parents, or get roommates. 😦

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    • I find that in alot of the major cities it’s that way. House prices in the states are a bit more reasonable. In terms of what you get for what you pay, I think the value of homes are overpriced in Canada. Low interest rates have made borrowing easier in this country, increasing the demand for homes and their prices. However, if salaries aren’t meeting up with the price increase, I am not sure how sustainable that is long term.

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  8. Interesting post! My children are millennials, and the discussions we have with them about the future are far different from what our parents imparted to us. We no longer stress college as the end all, be all, but we talk to them about what are your plans after high school, what kind of life do you want to live, and is college necessary.
    Both my husband and I financed our education with student loans, and we are adamant about our children graduating debt-free. We encourage them to look at colleges that are affordable and within our financial reach.

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    • That’s good that you have discussions with your children about graduating school with no debt. I think a lot of people are catching on to the idea that the old way of looking at school is not working anymore. Time to rethink things. Thanks for the comment.

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  9. Reblogged this on Kay Morris Writes and commented:
    Enlightening post!

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