As a fellow millennial, I’m sure you’re sick to death of all the judgmental stuff that’s published about us. It seems like every blog or news website has a ‘think piece’ on why millennials are struggling with their finances. I’ve seen outrageous claims that we spend too much money on avocado toast and coffee! Or, as the tweet below shows, it’s suggested some millennials spend too much money hiring cleaners instead of buying a home. Everyone has an opinion on the millennial generation, and most of those opinions are downright stupid.
A new study claims London millennials are spending money on cleaners instead of saving for a deposit for a new home.
16% of under 35s have a cleaner, compared to 9% of older age groups, according to the study commissioned by app Airtasker.
— PropertyCohort (@PropertyCohort) June 16, 2018
The simple fact is that we’re part of a generation – perhaps even the first generation – to experience student loan debt. It costs an absolute fortune to go to college, and we end up with a fat loan for many years after graduating. Factor in that we’re being raised in a world where house prices and the cost of living is getting higher and higher, and it’s no wonder we’re struggling with our finances!
It’s pretty much got to the point where I’m sick and tired of seeing so much rubbish thrown about regarding millennials and our money. People seem to assume we have absolutely no financial knowledge at all, and that we just spend, spend, spend! So, I’ve spent some time gathering a few of the common millennial money myths, and I’m going to bust them wide open.
It’s amazing how many so-called ‘financial experts’ will claim that millennials don’t make investments. I think the reason this myth exists is purely because you don’t see a lot of people in our generation investing in traditional assets. I don’t know many people my age that invest in real estate – largely because it’s far too expensive. Sure, some millennials shy away from the stock market too, which makes it seem like we haven’t got any investments on the go.
On the contrary, we make more investments than most people realize – just in different things. How do you think the whole Bitcoin trend came about? It was pretty much built by millennials, and it grew thanks to our tech-savvy generation. We invest in this type of technology because we see the potential it has in the modern age. It’s also very easy, all you have to do is visit xCoins or any other marketplace site, and buy some Bitcoin using your card. Then, you have the option of just sitting on your investment and letting it grow, or actually using Bitcoin to pay for things. We can see the world is going to be very tech-centered in the next few decades, so why invest in stocks and shares when we’ve got more modern things to focus on?
Plus, people seem to forget that we’ve already made a pretty sizeable investment in something else; our education. I mentioned it earlier, and a lot of our generation invest in college tuition to help improve ourselves and develop our skills. By doing this, we become more qualified and can look for jobs at the higher end of the pay scale.
Right, this is probably the worst myth of the whole bunch. It’s one that really grinds my gears because people just assume millennials spend all our money. They seem to think we buy loads of clothes and other material items. Or, more accurately, they seem to have this thought that we spend more money than any other demographic. Now, a shopping trip with my mother will immediately prove that we millennials don’t spend the most money on clothes and other material goods!
On the contrary, we’re actually the generation that saves more than anyone else. It’s insulting to think that people believe we don’t know how to save money when it’s pretty much all we do. As I said before, we live in a generation where the cost of living is rising, and everything has become more expensive than it was a few decades ago. We’re not dumb, we know this means we have to save more if we want to be financially stable. If you actually went out and spoke to people in their 20’s, you’d find most of them have saving methods in place. Whether it’s an actual savings account, an emergency fund, or anything else; we know how to save money.
Why do people assume we spend so much money? Probably because we’re the best-dressed generation there is! I mean, yes, we all like nice things, but we’re not stupid. We buy things smartly, always looking for sales or using student discount codes to get some excellent reductions! If you gave a millennial $100 and someone in an older demographic $100, I guarantee the millennial would get more out of that money.
This is a claim that’s most likely spewed from the mouths of journalists in their 40’s/50’s. For whatever reason, it’s frowned upon that millennials aren’t buying homes. At least, that’s what it seems like from my point of view. Otherwise, why are there so many articles out there about us not owning homes and choosing to rent instead? This is when you see your typical ‘think piece’ about why we can’t afford to buy homes. They’ll reel off a list of stats about how much money we spend on other things, basically trying to make millennials look bad.
The thing is, it’s not so much about us being unable to afford homes as it is that we just don’t want to buy them. Do you get what I mean? Sure, it’s tough to buy a home, and we have other priorities – like paying off our student debt. But, there are plenty of millennials out there that earn enough money to comfortably afford a down payment on a house. We’d just rather rent because it’s more convenient for where we are in life. If you’ve got a job where you work five days a week, and you don’t have a family yet, then renting an apartment in the city you work in is just the smart option. We like to keep everything close together, so it’s only a short commute away from our home. We love living in areas where there are convenience stores a short walk away, bars around the corner, and our office just down the street.
Realistically, the myth that millennials can’t afford to buy homes isn’t entirely accurate. Instead, we just choose to rent apartments as they’re cheaper, suit our lifestyle more, and offer greater freedom.
Finally, there’s a popular myth that we millennials only care about the here and now. When you put this in a financial perspective, it basically means we only think about short-term money goals. So, if we go back and look at the point I made about millennials saving loads of money, some may argue we only save for the short-term. We save money to buy things in a couple of months, rather than thinking ahead. Needless to say, I think this is a load of bull. I have absolutely no idea where this myth comes from, it’s just a random statement people seem to make with no knowledge at all.
You see, millennials are clearly thinking ahead way more than any other generation. This is backed up by the fact that the majority of us go to college and invest in our education. The money we spent on tuition doesn’t help us immediately, but we do it with our entire career in mind. We go to college while thinking about what we want to do in twenty years time. The fact that we’re not homeowners also shows how much we think about the future. We don’t want to enter into an agreement with a bank for a massive mortgage that stays with us for decades. Instead, we rent homes and save up until we’re actually ready to own something in the distant future.
It goes beyond this as well, most millennials have financial plans, and most of us like to think about our future money goals. People seem to forget we’re the internet generation. We’re growing up as young adults in an age where we don’t need to hire financial advisors to get financial guidance. Most of us Google tips and advice on how to manage our finances and be stable. This inevitably leads to us knowing the importance of planning for retirement and thinking ahead. If you compare our generation to the baby boomers or generation X, we’re way more in control of our finances compared to them at our age!
There you go; some of the biggest millennial money myths; debunked. I think the overriding theme of these myths is just that we don’t care about our finances or have no financial control. Clearly, this isn’t true, and we may even take better care of our finances than any other demographic. In some ways, I think these myths stem out of jealousy for our generation. Older people hate seeing younger people do well and enjoy success; it’s just the way of life. Hopefully, you enjoyed this piece, and feel free to leave a comment detailing any other myths that grind your gears too!