A smart and capable Millennial smells then chooses to refuse a once perfect wine, now vinegar-ed. Aghast, the older generations swear that nothing has tainted its delectable profile, but the change is obvious to the newbie – she’s not as naive as everyone thinks.
When the words “wealth accumulation” and “Millennial” pop up in the same conversation there will be one or two contradictory narratives that run through your mind. The common beliefs don’t portray the truth, they were just created so the older generations can feel better about themselves for creating the financial shit-show we’re experiencing right now. Moreover, the Millennial generation is being forced into an old model that does not represent the current financial opportunities that exist in today’s marketplace. Because of this, the up-and-coming Millennial generation is about to break the mold and turn more than a few heads.
Narrative #1 – Blame Millennials
It’s your fault for choosing to carry the Blue Ribbon Mindset that was instilled in you from birth. Silly child, dreams don’t actually come true – no one gets to have purpose and balance. Wake up…
Narrative #2 – Bad Timing
It wasn’t your fault, you matured around the same time the financial crisis hit its stride in 2008. You poor baby, you were thrust into the world when the economy fell further than the collapse in the 1920’s. It was just bad timing, I guess you won’t get to have purpose and balance in this lifetime. Sorry…
These bullshit narratives stem from a system that was created during the Boomer’s journey by corrupt lobbyists, selfish policy makers, and greedy corporations (if you dare, watch Requiem of the American Dream by Noam Chomsky, available on Netflix). This house of cards is being passed like a torch to the newest generation with a welcome sign: Figure It Out.
The Boomers’ Model – A Once Perfect Wine
Get an education, land a job with a large company, move up the ladder, stay there for the benefits and pension, and retire after 30 years of service. If you do it right, you’ll only have one or two companies on your lifetime resume.
The Boomers’ Model forced on Millennials – Vinegar-ed Wine
Highly educated graduates with mountains of student loans lack experience to compete in the job market. Instead, they find empty promises, hit glass ceilings, and discover no ladders or options except to jump from company to company every 18 months to gain experience. Living at home is acceptable to help pay down the burden of student loans, while racking up credit card debt because no one ever taught them how money actually works. These Millennials are crossing their fingers, hoping everything doesn’t blow up in their faces and that they can actually have a life filled with meaning, balance and purpose.
Millennials see the truths and the lies they’re being force-fed, they see the cesspool of bullshit waiting for them so they’re learning to break the mold of past generations. These ‘Kids’ don’t just believe they can have it all, they’re actively switching directions to make something of themselves, their families, their businesses and their futures, even if others don’t understand their path or think they can’t make it.
The Narratives Start To Crack
A recent survey from Bankrate.com stated that Millennials are saving more of their income for retirement in comparison to other generations (6-10%), the New York Times stated Millennials are taking on less credit card debt, all the while using a minimalist approach with their purchases (homes, cars, clothes, etc), leading to overall heightened satisfaction with life and ultimately more happiness. Wait What – More happiness…?
Creating Happiness Before Obtaining Financial Success
This is how they’re truly breaking the mold, Millennials are Creating happiness first instead of waiting for it after they’ve reached financial success. This “happiness first” approach not only leads to financial success, but it also generates more well-rounded emotional, physical, and spiritual success. (Google The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor for more info on the topic of positive psychology)
The Millennial generation have the financial jump, they’ve seen the results of the Boomers path, they’re learning from synthetic experience, they realize the corporate trail is not safe, and they see that life is about living while you grow, focusing on happiness, and profiting as you express your life’s passions.
The end result is pretty telling – 35 million Boomers have nothing saved for their more than 25-year retirement, yet it’s the Millennials who are lazy, entitled, and lacking ambition.
So what should the Millennial narrative be? It’s hard to say at this point, but the mold surely needs breaking. So let’s toast to these misfits and imbibe in the fruits of their labor, I am confident this vintage will be better than the Boomers remember theirs to be.
About the Author
Trevor is a Vice President of Five Rings Financial and the Founder of Tortoise & Hare Financial Affairs. He has spent his career in the arena of risk mitigation and financial education — topics you never learned in school — and chances are you didn’t learn from your parents, either.
He has a passion for breaking down complex information in a simple fashion so others can experience life-changing ‘AH-HA!’ moments over and over again. He is a frequent speaker for accounting firms, payroll organizations, HR functions, Future Lunch-in-Learns in your office, and other local and regional events.
Trevor’s mission is to help every organization, employee, and their clients realize daily opportunities to build wealth, protect their livelihood, safeguard their future and business for generations to come, but most importantly, help others strive to do what they love.
Trevor can be reached at 720-588-8447 or MickelsonTrevor@gmail.com