Millennial Perspective: The Most Important Investment

Millennials, many of us are nearing the end of our 20s and we will all be 30 or older in a short five years. If you haven’t done so already, be sure to make time to invest in yourself as we enter this new era of our lives. There are plenty of ways to do this and I will list them shortly, but they all center around self-care. Self-care is not something that our generation is unfamiliar with, so it should be easy, right? Let’s find out.

First things first, remember to value your loved ones. This can be biological family or a family that you chose. Lean on them when you need to and listen to what they have to say about life and growing older. There is a chance that they have gone through similar experiences as you and they may be able to help guide you through them. After all, they have helped us get to this point, so if it’s working why change it?

Next, learn something new. Have you ever wanted to learn a new language or start making pottery? Do it! What is stopping you? There’s nothing better than exploring new things and learning new skills. Now is the time to take advantage of the things we either didn’t have time for before or were too afraid to try.

Make smarter money choices. This doesn’t mean that you can’t spend your money on things that you enjoy, like avocado toast and iced coffee. This just means you should start looking at getting serious about that 401(k) you hear HR talk about all the time and working on a budget. This can be a big task to tackle, so do not be afraid to seek professional help. This isn’t something that your friends and family can always help with because we are all in different financial situations. You need to find something that works specifically for you and seeking the advice of a fiduciary and/or CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ can help.

Go wardrobe shopping. This is my favorite one, of course. However, don’t get carried away, remember the last tip? I mean invest in functional pieces that still express who you are and will last for years to come. My rule of thumb for this is to make sure to buy things that can be worn in multiple settings. Can you wear this shirt to work and to brunch and still feel like yourself? If so, get it! I used to only buy “work clothes” and “casual clothes”, but I quickly ran out of space in my closet, and I found that I rarely got to wear my casual clothes because I worked most of the time. 

Declutter your space. This one ties into the last one for me, but I don’t just mean clothing. Sometimes we can accumulate so many things that we don’t even use, so why keep them around? If it still has a good use, just not a good use for you, donate it. It may be just the thing someone else has been looking for. Take some time at least every couple of years to go through your things and free up some space. This task can be very cathartic. 

Talk to someone if you need to. Millennials are probably the first generation that openly discuss and support mental health care. If life starts to feel like it is weighing on you, do not hold those feelings in and just hope that things get better, and don’t be ashamed to ask for help. Everyone struggles every now and then and it is okay to not be okay. Talk to someone. A mentor, a therapist, your best friend, it doesn’t matter as long as you are comfortable opening up around them.

Spend time with yourself. Some people love alone time and others can’t stand it, but a little alone time can go a long way. Sit down and read a good book, write in a journal, binge watch a series on Netflix in one weekend. If you are really daring, go see a movie by yourself or eat alone at a restaurant. Take this time to really find yourself. We can often get caught up in the day to day and lose ourselves. It is important to take some time to yourself to decompress occasionally.

Last, but certainly not least, do not be afraid to fail. The word failure has been stained with negative connotations, but sometimes it can be a great thing. Sometimes our failures help us learn something new and, often, better. It presents an opportunity to rise from the ashes and take flight. Learn to embrace your failures and grow from them. Also remember that you can’t compare yourself to others. We are all on our own journey and we may fail where others succeed, but that does not mean they haven’t failed before or that you will not succeed.

As you can see, self-care doesn’t always mean developing a good skin care regimen or getting a massage. Though those things are still important. The main point to take away from this is to really invest in yourself. Our time to grow and have fun doesn’t just stop when you turn 30. Life would be pretty miserable if that were the case. So, as much as we would all love to be a twenty-something forever, life carries on. Besides, I heard that 30 is the new 20.

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Millennial Perspective: Walking the Tightrope of Life

Do you ever feel like you are teetering too close to one side when trying to balance your life? For many millennials, this may include work, family, social life, and school. It can be a lot to handle sometimes. So, what can we do to help ourselves get balanced? Well, there are a lot of things to consider and to try. The process of finding balance may include a lot of trial and error. However, when you find the right match, it will have been worth it.

Planning the activities in your life may be the most common way to balance life. When it is all on paper, or on a virtual calendar, you can see the balance more clearly. Let’s say you have to work from 8 am – 5 pm every Monday through Friday. Pencil that in your calendar, long term. Now you can work around it and add family time, social time, or school, whatever is relevant to you. Remember, just because you have empty spaces around that set block, does not mean it has to be filled with something. Prioritize your time in a way that allows you to get through your to-do list and makes you happy and comfortable. Be sure to leave yourself some down time too because we all need to take a breather occasionally. Don’t forget that life has a tendency to take an unexpected turn. In this case, you may need to move things around, but this way you can look at your calendar and make time for everything in advance with a little less stress.

Boundaries can also be helpful when trying to balance life. It can be rather difficult for some people to “unplug” these days, especially with the growing number of work-from-home jobs. When you are working at home it feels strange to take a day off or even just clock out at closing time. Some people even have this struggle in a traditional office setting. This is where your boundaries come into play. You must draw that line of when you stop working and pick up the next part of the day, which for many is family time. This can also be flipped. Many people may run into their family life interfering with your work life. For example, when I was a little girl, I would walk home from school, and I would often call my mom as soon as I walked in the door. I would tell her that I made it home okay, but being the chatty person I am, I would usually carry on a conversation for several minutes. This is where I crossed the boundary into my mom’s work life and brought her family time to her job. My mom is a very kind woman and, of course, never told me to stop calling. However, as an adult that now works full time, I understand how that could have been frustrating at times.

It is okay to tell people “No” sometimes. You cannot make everyone happy. Learning to say no gives you the power to manage your life in a way that works best for you. If you are planning to work on schoolwork, but your friends asked you to go out for the night, say no. You can meet up with them at a time that is better for you. If you are in the middle of something and a co-worker asks you a small favor, say no. Even if feels uncomfortable to say at times, it is okay. Once you give “no” a chance, it will feel more natural over time, and it can be key for reducing stress and balancing life. It also means that when you say “yes,” it will hold more power!

Remember that there will always be something to do as long as life goes on. So, next time you feel yourself getting off-balance, try some of these methods. We, fortunately, get to dictate our own lives, so why not make it a little easier on ourselves? No matter what strategy works for you, finding that balance can lead to less stress and a better quality of life. 

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The Millennial Perspective: Financial Literacy

As I get older and the more I work in finance, I find that many younger clients around my age are in the dark on many practices and basics of money management, such as investing, creating a budget that works specifically for them, and saving money. This all boils down to a concern about the education we may or may not have received about financial literacy in our school days. This also brings up the concern for the generations that will follow us and the advice they are receiving around this subject. 

Without this knowledge of how money works in the real world and how it should be managed can set a lot of people up for failure. There are plenty of programs available to purchase that will teach you different ways to pay off your debts and manage your money. However, those programs can be expensive and are often sought after when it is too late. Currently in the United States, only 17 states require financial literacy courses in their curriculums. While Oklahoma happens to be one the states that requires this course, depending on who may teach the course and what their background in finance may be, the information may not be conveyed in a manner that is thorough and engaging. 

These are the kinds of courses that need to be taught by someone with experience in economics and finance with a curriculum that is designed to allow students to make their own choices based on real life situations. They need to be able to get a glimpse of what real money management and decisions are like, so that they can learn from the lessons and apply it later in life. For example, my senior year of high school, my school offered its first ever “Financial Literacy” course. The course was 16 weeks long, was considered an elective and was not required, and was taught by the World History teacher. He did not have any kind of professional financial background and the most I learned in that class was how to write a check and that 10% of what we make is ours to keep. We did not learn about the importance of saving money, we did not learn about the stock market or how to invest, we did not learn about retirement, and the list goes on. The thing is, I already knew how to write a check because that was still a fairly common practice at the time. Also, telling a room full of teenagers that 10% of what we make is ours to keep without any kind of real context or any kind of knowledge about building a budget that works for us is dangerous word play, especially in today’s economic state.

I cannot speak for every student in that class or in the classes that followed, but I can tell you that I definitely gained a confidence in that class and just knew that I had it all figured out. Well, I did not, and it is something that I have struggled with for all of my adult life. Who is to say that if I had a better, more qualified, teacher or if I had learned lessons that would really benefit me in the real world that my situation would have turned out differently? This is something we will never know, but it doesn’t negate the fact that these lessons are a cornerstone and should be handled as such. These are the types of lessons that should not come at a cost to anyone, especially at a point in life when the cost could break you. These lessons should also not be solely placed on the parents to teach. In a lot of cases the parents are also not professionals and while they might have some great advice, they may not be able to paint the bigger picture outside of their own personal experience. 

Of course, the wise thing to do for those in my generation that did not receive the ideal financial education, is to seek the advice of a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ who is also a fiduciary. A lot of times, these professionals will offer complimentary consultations to help you get on the right page to managing your money in a way that is designed for you and your specific needs. This can be far more beneficial that buying into a cookie cutter, for-profit program that may or may not work in the end.

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Millennial Perspective: Planting Roots in a Pandemic

As a millennial, buying a home is already hard enough. Trying to save up enough money for an average 6% down payment, trying to determine how much home we can afford, trying to find the time to house hunt, and battling debt to income ratio. Now we are dealing with a seller’s market with some of the lowest interest rates we have seen in years and a pandemic. Many of my fellow millennials are trying to take advantage of these low rates, but it has been a bumpy ride for a lot of us. Throughout this article I will recount my personal experience buying a home as well as the experiences of others in my generation in the past year.

Let us rewind to March of 2020. I know, this is not the best month that we have all had, but it was certainly looking like it was going to be for my husband and me. We had found a home that we both loved at a price point that was perfect in a buyer’s market and we were prepared to take this giant step towards this milestone. We settled on an offer with the seller, signed a contract, and we were on our way. Then the pandemic hit. 

Our situation completely changed. We were no longer in a place where we could get the home. Thankfully, our sellers, lender, and realtor worked with us and we were able to essentially pause the whole process. It was only supposed to be two weeks, right? Then two weeks turned into a month, then two months, and so on. When we finally got back to a place where we could proceed, my husband and I ultimately decided that the time was not right and we needed to wait until COVID-19 blew over, so we ended our contract. 

Ending our contract and losing the opportunity turned out to be a blessing in disguise because we also decided to move closer to family. Not being able to see anyone and not knowing if we may ever see them again due to a deadly virus makes you think about where your heart is meant to be. We packed everything up a few months later, moved across the state, and devised our new plan. We would rent for another year and look at plans to build our dream starter home the following summer. Then the market flipped, and construction costs rose nearly 130%! It was back to the drawing board for us. 

The small community we are now living in is growing and many houses on the market are new construction. Since this was no longer a viable option for us, we would need to find a completed home, but any homes that were listed were typically off the market within 24 hours, were pocket listings, or they entered bidding wars which drove the price up tens of thousands of dollars. This made our search a little tricky. Thankfully, an opportunity to buy a perfect home fell into our laps. We are now back on track to buying our first home. It feels that we got lucky.

I have seen many of my friends post on social media or reach out with the news that they have also found a home. It is great news, and it makes me happy to see so many people in my generation finally able to reach this milestone. I have discussed experiences with several of them and their stories sound very familiar. They spent countless hours searching for homes on sites like Zillow and Realtor.com with little luck. When a home is found and an appointment is secured to view it, it is off the market. You do not get a lot of time to think about the investment you are about to make and practically must sign an offer within hours of viewing the home. The whole task can be very daunting compared to last year’s market. However, with today’s low rates it is something that we simply cannot pass up.

All this to say, hang in there millennials. The timing for buying a house is perfectly imperfect right now. Do not get yourself down if a home falls through. It just means that something better is waiting for you around the corner. Buying a house is a huge step and you do not want to get roped into something that you will regret. Keep searching and the right opportunity will come to you!

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The Millennial Perspective: Climbing Everest

Do you ever feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders? Do you wonder how much of that weight may be lifted without the stress of growing debt? Me too! I’ve always said, “We live in America so we will always carry debt. That’s just the way it is.” But should it be? It doesn’t feel like the mindset I or anyone should have when looking at our lives. A vast majority of our country has some sort of debt. With all of the factors of life that affect Millennials differently than other generations, this can feel especially defeating.

If you combine the average student loan debt, credit card debt, mortgage debt, and car loan debt among millennials you’re looking at about $285,000 total. That’s a big, and kind of scary number. This isn’t to say that every millennial has debt in each of these categories. So, let’s break that number down. On average, millennials have about $30,000 in student loan debt, $5,000 of credit card debt, $232,000 in mortgage debt, and $18,000 of car loan debt. 

Let’s imagine you have debt in each of these categories. If you had a car loan with a balance of $2,000 with a low interest rate, the average amount of student loans, a credit card balance of $7,000 with a high interest rate, and you just bought a new home. Which of these debts would you want to pay down the fastest? Your first thought may be to pay the credit card off first because it has the highest interest. However, let’s imagine you have enough in your bank account to pay off your car immediately. Even though it has a lower interest rate, you are most likely paying more each month on your car payment versus your credit card payment. One of the best ways to handle this situation is to pay off the car and rather than adding the additional money you now have each month to your cash flow, stick to your budget and stack the extra funds on top of what you are already paying on your credit cards. Now you have eliminated one debt and you will be paying more on your principal balance of your credit cards and will be able to eliminate that debt much faster than you would have originally.

If you can continue to stack your debt, AKA snowball your debt, then you may find that a mountain that once felt like an endless Mount Everest now feels more manageable. Setting a plan to help you start that exhibition and properly manage your money is the key to success. There’s no need to change your entire budget and live off Ramen until your debts are paid. This is just one of the philosophies when it comes to paying off debt. Several others exist, but the important thing is to pick a plan and go. 

Living slightly below your means is a good way to pay off debts, but living very far below your means just because of debt may tarnish your quality of life and your relationship with money. Money is a means to an end, not the end all, be all. It is always wise to seek the advice of professionals, such as a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ to help you create a plan that works for you and ensures you maintain your quality of life. You don’t have to be uncomfortable to be comfortable. 

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The Millennial Perspective: Who To Trust?

Millennials have been through the ringer in their short time on this Earth. Many of these events have had big effects on the financial system and institutions in our country. There also happens to be an extremely large gap in financial literacy in U.S. schools. As a result, we find that a good portion of millennials lack trust in said system, institutions, and even the educated professionals working in them. So, what reasons do we have to distrust these professionals and is there any chance of gaining or regaining that trust?

Think about how you handle your finances. Do you take advice from family and friends, or do you use a service, such as wealth management? When it comes to managing finances, a lot of millennials will turn to their friends and family for advice. This could be for a number of reasons, the most common reason you may come across is the cost of using a professional service. I’ve already discussed in previous articles why millennials can’t afford many of the things older generations could at our age. We make less money and things cost significantly more. So, would this be considered an “essential” cost for our generation? Probably Not.

The way we see it is, we simply don’t have enough money to manage, so why would a large portion of us spend money to manage what’s not there to begin with? We likely know that it may be helpful to work out a personalized budget with someone who is certified to do so. Knowing this, why would millennials still stick to family and friend advice versus a professional? The stigma.

There is a stigma working against financial professionals and it’s been determined that they are all in it for the money. They’re just salesmen that are out to make a buck and who cares about your personal finances. This just simply is not true in many, if not most, cases. It’s also why financial literacy is so important. With proper education, trust in the professionals can be built from a young age. You can learn what to look for when searching for a certified professional to know you are getting help from someone trustworthy. A good place to start, is looking at credentials. Are they a “CERTIFIED FINANICAL PLANNERô”, someone certified to have knowledge to help navigate finances? Are they a “fiduciary”, someone legally obligated to do what is best for the client? If so, these professionals would be a good option to help you with your finances and get on the right path.

Another reason millennials may not trust the financial systems in our country has become particularly relevant this past week. You may have heard about the chaos ensuing on Wall Street with a social media platform called Reddit, various stocks, such as Game Stop, and a trading platform called Robinhood. From what I have seen personally, not many of my fellow millennials know a lot about how the stock markets work, but they all seem to agree that Wall Street gets richer while the poor get poorer. So, a crew of Reddit users wanted to fight back and raise the stock of some soon-to-be shorted companies. As a result, these stocks went up in record numbers. Game Stop rose almost 2,500%! In the midst of all of this, Robinhood shut down trading shares for these particular stocks on January 28, 2021. If you had already invested in them, you could no longer invest more and if you had not invested in them yet, you may have missed your chance. The whole point of the Robinhood app is to allow the “common man” to participate in the stock market freely. As you can imagine, this made a lot of people angry. They felt as though the app created to help them was now working for the other side. There is a lot more that goes into this whole story, but to sum it up, the action that Robinhood took to stop people from trading these stocks is a solid reason why millennials don’t trust the financial system in our country and feel like the system works against those who do not already have a large sum of wealth.

I’m not saying that millennials should change their view of the financial world completely, but it’s worth educating yourself on certain things so that you can have a better understanding of how it all works. We all have different financial journeys. What works for your family and friends may not work for you. Do not be afraid to ask for help to build a plan that is designed for and works for you. There are professionals out there that want to help you and it is absolutely worth setting up a consultation just to talk things through and find the right fit for you. 

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The Millennial Perspective: Ending New Year’s Resolutions for Good

“My New Year’s resolution is…” I cannot tell you how many times I have said that phrase and I do not think I have ever really fulfilled those resolutions. Goal setting is a fundamental part of life, but it can also be a source of great disappointment and anxiety due to the restrictions we often place on ourselves to achieve these goals. Because of this, myself and many others are switching things up this year. Sure, we all have baggage that we carry with us into the new year that we would like to resolve, but sometimes the way it is stated is not helpful or healthy. Rather than setting resolutions we are setting intentions.

Instead of saying, “I need tolose 20 pounds,” or, “I need to go to the gym every day,” try saying, “I will do my best to lose 20 pounds,” and, “I will do my best to go to the gym every day.” We are not robots. We cannot be perfect. Setting such grand expectations for ourselves can lead to undue stress and with everything else going on day-to-day, why should we cause stress for ourselves? Remember my article about stress last year? Worry about the things you have control over and do the best you can do when you can. Besides, stress can often disrupt our day-to-day actions and the make your goals even harder to achieve. I am not saying you should not set goals at all because you must have something to work towards. Goals are the end game, the bigger picture. Intentions are the day-to-day actions you take to work towards that goal, like mini goals.

I have found that writing my intentions down every day, or however often, helps to serve as a reminder. Again, you must keep in mind that nothing is perfect. Your day may not go exactly how you want, and those intentions might change as the day progresses, and that is okay. If I wake up and intend to take a walk outside, but the forecast suddenly changes, as it often does in Oklahoma, I am not going to beat myself up about it because I cannot control the weather. I will just scratch that off my list and do laps in my living room! Or I can take it as a sign that it just was not meant to happen today, and I will use that opportunity to do something else on my list instead.

It is okay to slip up sometimes. It is okay to skip a workout and eat the cookies at the work luncheon. You can do these things and still reach your goal. There is no need to beat ourselves up when we give into to a few temptations here and there or just simply have a dreadful day. Changing the way our minds think of the things we wish to achieve is huge. It can turn your whole attitude towards an action around. If I say I need to do something that makes it feel like it is a chore and a burden which, in turn, makes me not want to do that thing. When I recognize that I cannot be perfect and messing up from time to time is inevitable, then it feels more like motivation. I am more motivated to do the things I intend to do to achieve my goal when I take a positive and realistic approach. That is what setting intentions to achieve a goal is all about. So, give setting intentions a try this year. Change it up and see how it works for you. You might surprise yourself and be thankful you did it in the end.

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The Millennial Perspective: The Spirit of Giving

The holidays can be stressful for anyone, and being a millennial already comes with its own stressful baggage like expensive student loan payments and lower-paying jobs. Holidays can be a little tricky with these constraints. Gift exchanges, a tradition for a lot of people, may be nearly impossible for some. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to invoke your inner “Scrooge” and fail to participate in the giving spirit of the holidays. Below are my top five tips to alleviate stress and enjoy the act of giving when money is tight.

  1. BE the present* – Sometimes just being with family and friends for the holidays is enough, especially if you live far away from home. I can’t tell you how many times I heard, “you don’t have to get anything for us. Having you here is all we really wanted.” So, if it is fiscally, and physically, possible, try to make it home for the holidays and spend time with your loved ones and friends.
  2. Give the gift of time* – If giving makes you feel good, but your budget doesn’t allow you to buy gifts for everyone, try volunteering your time to give back in other ways. Work at your local soup kitchen and help serve those in need, volunteer to work with a toy drive or a food pantry to provide meals and toys for Christmas day.
  3. Get crafty – If you want to give your loved ones something special during the holidays, try making them something! Think back to your school age days when you would make cards and masterpieces for your family in class. You don’t have to make a macaroni noodle self-portrait, unless you want to, but there are plenty of easy crafts out there that even the most artistically challenged can handle. Pinterest is a great tool for finding fun and easy crafts that your loved ones are sure to cherish for years to come.
  4. Be kind – Some people may be less fortunate than others and you never know what your neighbors are experiencing. Because of this, it is important to be kind. A little bit of kindness can cost $0 and it can go a long way. Give someone a compliment, hold the door for a stranger, or ask someone how their day has been. Anything will do and sometimes the kind, little things can make someone’s whole day. You might be surprised by their appreciation!
  5. Get focused – If the year has not quite gone the way you had hoped, sit down and make a plan for next year. No one said you must shop for the holidays in November and December. Why not shop all year? This way you can give the gifts you want to those you love and you don’t have to drop a fortune all at once doing so. Make a budget and/or set a goal. If you set a budget and want to take advantage of the savings that “holiday shopping” can have, then make a savings goal and plan so you can be prepared when you hit the stores in the Fall.

No matter how you choose to give during the holiday season, there is no sense in adding stress to your life when it already has enough. To many people, the holidays are not about the gifts, but rather spending time with your loved ones. The holidays are meant to be enjoyed and those closest to you will appreciate you and understand your situation. Remember, kindness is the only gift that is worthless until it’s given away. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

*When making plans for the 2020 holiday season, please refer to the CDC guidelines pertaining to social distancing, PPE, and large gatherings with people outside of your immediate household.

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The Millennial Perspective: Workplace Woes

We all face several issues in the workplace at one point or another, but sometimes it feels like millennials get the shortest end of the stick. Lazy. Know-it-all. Entitled. Inexperienced. Job-hopper. These are some of the stereotypes that you may hear uttered about millennials in the workplace. We cannot say for sure why these are the stereotypes assigned to our generation, but we have certainly grown resilient and can roll with the punches. Some may call out those that use their stereotypes and receive, “well, you’re different than other millennials,” but is that really the case?

No two millennials have the same experience, so I reached out to others in my generation to gain their perspective of this ongoing issue. I had many respond with similar, unsurprising answers including a lack of respect from colleagues and being the person that everyone seeks for technology challenges. The lack of respect can stem from many reasons. The most common reason that I have seen is because of our “young age.” Yes, we are young, but I think that the fact that much of our generation is heading into their forties often gets forgotten. Because of this issue, we find ourselves fighting to prove our worth even though we already hold the job. The lack of respect can also come from this idea that millennials are lazy and entitled. However, in reality, many millennials work one or more jobs just to make ends meet due to lower wages, or worked while in school just to pay for school due to higher tuition than the generations before us, two subjects I have covered in previous articles.

When job searching, many millennials come across as inexperienced and unfit on job applications because they recently joined the workforce or they have changed jobs many times. Although, the bulk of our generation has most likely been in the workforce for at least a decade. Some may even argue that recently graduating from college should be sufficient experience to gain entry considering they have the most up-to-date education in terms of technology, techniques, and possibly laws or regulations. This is where we start to get into the know-it-all and job-hopper stereotypes though. As a young girl, I was taught to believe in myself and work hard for what I deserved. If someone feels that they are being treated unfairly because of their young age, despite their true work ethic, why should they continue working for that company? This is where many millennials see stagnation in current work situations and feel that they are being forced to change jobs to improve their standing. The era of companies being loyal to workers and offering pensions, benefits, and achieving middle class status has largely disappeared. It can be a difficult choice to stay with a company when you barely earn enough money to live. This of course, does not apply to all companies. Occasionally millennials will find themselves working with an employer that pays decently, respects their employees, and provides a good working environment, in other words, they put their employees first. This is type of position is practically a “needle in a haystack” in today’s society. Most hard-working millennials will move around because they know that companies would let them go if needed and it is our own responsibility to do what is best for ourselves, especially in today’s turbulent economy.

Millennials feel that the stigma placed upon us, just because of the years in which we were born, should not hold us back from the same opportunities the generations before us experienced. Stereotypes are rarely true for an entire group of people and should certainly not be something that affects someone’s livelihood. Give your millennial employees and job candidates a chance to show you that they can work just as hard as anyone and can bring real value to your teams. You will be glad you did.

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The Millennial Perspective: A Family to Call Their Own

Many millennials, wrongly. get a bad reputation for “ruining” everything. One of the acts we have been blamed for is ruining the traditions and norms for starting a family. However, there are many reasons why millennials are starting families later in life than previous generations. In a previous article, I wrote about the cost of higher education and how it compares to wages in the United States. In that article I discussed how tuition and the cost of goods rise nearly every year, but average wages stay the same and, in most cases, don’t keep up with inflation. One factor that weighs mightily, as one of the primary reasons my generation delays starting a family until later in their twenties, or even their thirties, is money. 

Starting a family can be difficult from the start. In this age where everything is digital, dating can be difficult for some. It seems to become more difficult to meet people unless you are matching on a dating app, but dating apps aren’t ideal for everyone. This is one reason that millennials are finding significant others and starting from point A later in life than previous generations. Weddings can be really cheap, but they can also be really expensive and for those that wish to have a big wedding, the money can be a set back and delay the process. This can delay everything that follows, including having children. Children are also very expensive and many millennials will opt to find the perfect time, though everyone will tell you the timing is never perfect, when they have a stable cash flow which can come later in life because of low wages in starting jobs with or without a college degree

Another reason that millennials may wait to start a family is school. Juggling a child and attending college can be difficult for many people, but the money factor also ties back into this equation. Oftentimes you will note that millennials will wait until they have finished school to even consider having a child and starting a family. You may also find that millennials may not hold a desire to have children. This can also be for many reasons which are personal to those individuals, but in passing, I have met couples that wish to travel more in life which could be difficult with children. Some have concerns about the state of the world and do not wish to bring a child into it. 

On top of everything, we are now dealing with COVID-19. Pregnant women are on the high-risk list and have been from the start because scientists and doctors are not sure what the long-term effects could be on an expectant mother and the child. This can be scary when starting a family or even adding to one, so out of an abundance of caution for their future many people are opting to hold off on having children at this time. 

At the end of the day, it is important to remember that everyone, no matter their generation, has their own reasons for why they do the things they do or don’t do. Times change as do ethics and even if something isn’t done exactly the way it used to be that doesn’t mean that the younger generations are ruining anything. Regardless of the reason they have, that choice is their own and there is nothing wrong with that. The liberties exhibited by millennials are those they learned from their ancestors – you. I would say, with great modesty, the millennial generation will build the future of this country and make their lineage proud.

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