As much as I hate to admit it, I’m a damn millennial. But why am I ashamed? Well, because it seems like everyone thinks we suck. But I shouldn't be ashamed. And if you're a millennial, neither should you.
Let me start by telling you what the powers that be say a millennial (sometimes called Generation Y) is. They say millennials are born between 1980ish (I’ve read everywhere from 1978-1982) and 1994. All of a sudden you’re a millennial too? Yeah, the thing is, I don’t feel like one. Or, should I say, I don’t feel like I fit into a generation that’s called many unpleasant names like narcissistic, moocher, financially illiterate, and foolish. To add, most millennials I know aren’t like that either. In fact, they are the exact opposite.
Many of my coworkers are millennials, and they are an extremely hard working group of people, who are also good at what they do. My siblings, and their spouses are millennials. All of them are successful. My older sister has recently started her own photography business. Once my younger brother graduated from college, he's never been unemployed. Same goes for my younger sister. They both found jobs in highly competitive teaching professions. Yeah, very narcissistic of them to be teachers. Sure, this is just a snapshot of the 92-plus million of us, but it says a lot. It proves the negative view many have of millennials may very well be wrong.
Are millennials financially illiterate? This is another big assumption made by many that is wrong. Yes, many of us have racked up thousands and thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Combined, Gen Y’ers are graduating college more in debt than any generation previous. There’s more bad news: many graduated college during, or after the “great recession.” And it was during the recession that businesses started finding ways to save money. They consolidated their workforce. They made one person do the job two people used to do. Many of those businesses have never gone back to the old way. Even with all of that against us, a recent survey of millennials found that 96% of successful millennials are saving for retirement. In that same survey, 47% said that saving for retirement was their biggest concern. 35% already have at least $10,000 in some kind of savings account. Sound financially illiterate to you?
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Gen Y is the most educated generation in history. And with that education, good things are happening. Ever hear of Facebook? Hell, you may have found this article on Facebook. It was founded and created by a millennial. That’s just one of many businesses founded by millennials. And many, like Mark Zuckerberg, are taking advantage of this great thing we call the internet. Since I started blogging, I’ve found dozens of successful (money making) blogs about travel and finance written by millennials. Among them, The Points Guy, Making Sense of Sense, Diversified Finances, and Whiskey Tango Globetrot.
Lets talk about mooching. Is it true that all of us are living at home with our parents mooching off of them? Hate to break it to ya, but that’s simply a false assumption. What is true? More millennials are living at home today, than their parent’s generation. But it’s not that big of a difference. Today, 29.9% of us live at home. In 1990, 26.8% of Gen X was living at home. A difference of 3% in 25 years. Now that’s something to write home about -- unless, of course, you’re already there!
Are millennials perfect? No. But what generation is? Each one has its strengths and weaknesses. Generation Y is still young. We’re growing. We’re making mistakes. We’re learning. We are the economic future of America. Love us or hate us, millennials are here to stay.
What do you think of millennials?