One of the biggest myths of this age and day is that millennials are bad with money. It’s as big of a myth as Christopher Columbus discovering Americas (he didn’t!).
It’s a general perception about the young bunch between 22 and 35 years that they waste their money on unnecessary, frivolous things; that they trade money with time poorly and they generally have no plan whatsoever for their retirement. While a part of it may fit the real picture ideally, it’s not true entirely.
Millennials are one of the most ambitious generations in the history of the human race. (To the extent, actually, that the majority of them want success overnight. But that’s a whole different discussion altogether.)
(Courtesy: Business Insider)
In what previous decade or century did we hear a 25-year old young lad create a billion dollar-worth entity? At what time did we see young people in their twenties playing CEO to millions of million-dollar companies? Today, we have a greater number of entrepreneurs alive than at any other time. Were young people less ambitious, a lot of them would have steered to the traditional 9-5 job, wouldn’t they?
It is in this day and age have we come to know about the “side hustle”. A lot of them work in the regular day job and then they return back home to work on their side business. Is that not ambitious enough?
No doubt, the internet has come to play a major role inhelping millennials in their endeavors that people back in the days never had. But then, in 1500s, they had the print, didn’t they? In 1900s, they got the cinema, didn’t they? In 1910 and 1950, they were given the radio and television, did they not? If people in those generations were as ambitious, how many of them leveraged the human evolution and the new inventions? How many of them created thousands and million dollar companies? How many of their legacies do we remember today?!
So, it’s kind of absurd to say that millennials today are not ambitious. And this links directly with the way they manage money. They are ambitious. And to fulfill those ambitions, they manage money very well. Perhaps, a lot of them do not care about the traditional meaning of “money management”, which includes saving for the kids and wifey, preparing for the rainy days and retirements. For many, the refined definition of effective money management is doing what they love and what makes them happy. It could be traveling the world, creating NGOs, angel investing in other businesses and more.
I am not going to overlook the aspect that many, indeed, waste money on completely irrelevant things. Buying Gucci’s that’s not needed, getting cars that they will never ride, and dining in 5-star hotels every night. And, of course, the image we have in mind—getting to pubs every night, doing shots, and throwing money anywhere and everywhere. But it’s important to realize that this isn’t entirely true. It’s a perception that was shaped by the film industry and mainstream media. Not everyone does these things. A large part of their population doesn’t in fact!
(Courtesy: Elite Daily)
You hear about a 30-year old crashing his car into a tree in a drunken state. You see a 25-year girl dancing in a club half-naked. But did you hear about Evan Spiegel and Reggie Brown when they were building a revolutionary social app called Snapchat when they were in college in 2011? Did you hear about Ritesh Agarwal who dropped out of college and created a billion dollar hospitality company in India that wenow know as OYO? Or, for that matter, did the media tell you about 26-year old Lauren Bush who co-founded a non-profit organization FEED that has provided over 100 million meal till date worldwide?
These are young people who have achieved great feats with no Zuckerberg-like hype. They have done that out of their ambitions. They could have stayed at college, do the traditional job, earned money, save enough and enjoy a convenient retirement. But they instead chose to DO SOMETHING that isn’t centered on “money tomorrow” but rather “dreams today”. And even then, it’s easily given that the majority of them have thought about their future and financial health. They must have enrolled in retirement plans, they have the health insurance, and all the traditional stuff that we usually include in “good money management”.
When talking about the millennials working in traditional jobs, a large part of their population works extremely hard to make money, to secure their future, to deliver on their responsibilities. They save money, they invest, they participate in 401(k)s, they build their side business. They, too, want to buy house and properties. And most importantly, many of them dare to spend money on themselves, which, at times, is very important.
(Courtesy: Zopa Blog)
Be it NerdWallet’s research finding that 82 percent of millennials have buying a home as a priority OR concludingthat they spend less than other generations on things like clothing, entertainment, and alcohol—every indicator pointsthat those in their 20s and 30s are more ambitious and exceptionally better in money management than the previous generations.
So, stop falling into the mainstream perception. Rise beyond the pictures of them dancing, drinking and partying. Majority of them are doing an incredible and responsible work with their money. Yes, they struggle. But when compared to previous generations, they trade much better.