I’ve had conversations about millennials with a handful of people over the past few weeks, most recently when it comes to politics. To be sure you and I on the same page, a millennial is the generational name given to individuals entering young adulthood around the year 2000. Another name for the Millennial Generation is Generation Y. As such, it sits in between Generation X and Generation Z.
Nearly every day you hear the term millennial on talkshows, news stations and in politics. Stereotypes say millennials are the social media generation, the lazy generation, the entitled generation, and the generation that can’t put their phones down and are addicted to technology, video games and the internet.
All of this is garbage. I’m a millennial. I love technology, yes, but my favorite toy growing up was my mother’s old typewriter. My first recollection of the internet was dial-up at 56k per second, I had a walkman, and I called my friends using both corded and wireless landline phones. I didn’t get a wireless flip phone until sophomore year of high school, and I was one of the first people on Facebook when it was opened up to the general public. Clearly your typical late 80s / early 90s kid.
But really, I’m not much different than the generations before me when they were my age. Generations are just an awfully simple way to segregate folks into different categories. In fact, nobody can even agree on the specific starts and ends to each generation. It’s a convenient way to group people, but in today’s politically correct world where everyone’s offended at everything, I’m surprised generations still exist in the fashions they do today.
How does this all relate to money, you may ask? I just read an article that quoted some expert claiming that millennials don’t understand money, they aren’t setting aside money for retirement, and on and on. There’s a talk by Adam Conover of truTV’s Adam Ruins Everything titled Millennials Don’t Exist. I suggest you watch it, he’s saying a lot of the same things I am. In short, young people are much more open to change, and the older you are, the more set in your ways and bitter you become. It’s as simple as that.
“Kids these days” has been a saying for many generations. The 18-25 year old hippies of the 70s were just as reckless and careless as millennials are. And we’re not necessarily any more glued to technology than the Baby Boomers. Nearly everyone consumes social media, watches YouTube, can navigate the web and spends their work day on a computer. Our generation just came of age while everything exploded. Our generation’s children will be more receptive to change and adapt quicker than our generation will by that point, and the cycle will just continue.
If you’re a millennial, or even Gen Z, and you’re frustrated and roll your eyes whenever someone stereotypes your generation, just show them they’re wrong, rather than fit into the stereotype. We’re all living on this planet at the same time. We’re all presented with the same technology, the same politics, the same economy, and on and on. We’re just experiencing them at different times in our lives.