I’ve spotted a couple of interesting discussions about millennials and money in the last week, both of which say that the views on them are wrong. Stereotyped as avocado-crunching, cappuccino drinking, needies, the general media view is that this is a generation spoilt by helicopter parents to grow up to be the most earnest losers ever. Not true.
Most millennials want the same thing their parents want: security, a nice home, a good job and so on. Unfortunately, their parents took them off them. The parents’ generation – the baby boomers – brought all the houses and now rent them to the kids; the parents had good jobs, but the jobs of today are in the gig economy and are short, risky and unreliable; and the parents gained financial security because their mortgage was just three times income, whereas the kids can only get a mortgage if they live with five other people.
Or so it seems.
I was particularly taken with two articles last week. One was from Starling Bank. It was actually from a while back – November 2017 – but caught my attention as it found that 1 in 4 millennials are saving for their first home. The dream lives on. The other is from the Financial Times and I thought the quote: a lot of us see saving as pretty futile hit the mark.
Millennials go to university and leave with a massive burden of debt in the form of a student loan; they leave university and often have to go back home and live with mum and dad until their 30s, due to that debt; they finally get to move out, only to live with a bunch of other thirty-somethings because they can’t afford a place on their own; and they may finally want to try and buy a house, but the likelihood of that is unlikely for most, so saving is pretty futile.
A different world.
When I was growing up, I went to university and left with no debt; I got my first job and within a few years, my parents helped me to get with a deposit to get a mortgage on my first house; I’ve lived a fairly secure financial life ever since and yes, worried about money on occasions, but generally not had it too bad.
But then I find a new survey from TD Bank that 75% of millennials in relationships talk about money on a weekly basis. That’s 9% more than Gen X couples, and 31% higher than baby boomer couples who say they have weekly discussions about their finances.
“We’re in a better place than we used to be because younger couples are more willing and open to talk about their money — and to address it directly, right out of the gate”, Dr. Jane Greer, a psychotherapist and relationship expert, tells CNBC. Around 80% of couples who talk about money at least once a week report being happy in their relationships, TD Bank found.
In other words, because money is so much more integral to their lives, millennials talk about it more and don’t treat it as some taboo subject. I wonder also fi this is more down to equality. Baby boomers, for example, grew up with the idea that the head of the household was a man who would finance the family; millennials live in an era of much greater equality, where both lead the family and earn the bacon. Or so it seems.
Perhaps one of the more interesting aspects of millennials and money came out of Wells Fargo’s annual survey of this group. They’re interested in them because there almost 80 million US millennials who will soon see $30 trillion of wealth inherited. 70% of them are sceptical when it comes to stock markets and finance and, if given $1,000, 86% say they would invest it in companies that make the world a better place.