Being referred to as a “Millennial” really triggers me.
Partially because of all the generalisations that are thrown around about my generation (Gen Y), born from 1981 to 1996. And partially because it seems that people think Gen Y is still young, but we’re all adults now (between 22 and 37!), and we’re not Gen Z! Don’t confuse us.
Hence, “Millennials” are those you are young adults at the beginning of the 21st century. I graduated high school in 2001.
But a recent report that was published by The Grattan Institute has made me proud to be a Millennial.
Here are some debunked myths which I’m happy to put aside about Millennials:
Millennials are spend-thrifts
This is a myth that’s been debunked – Millennials are not spend-thrifts that want everything now and just go into debt to get it. The report from the Grattan Institute confirm that Gen Y is spending 5-30% more on essentials than previous generations have, and are spending far less on non-essentials. Hence, the cost of essentials are up, our incomes haven’t risen in a decade, and we don’t have much extra for discretionary spending (alcohol, clothing and personal care)
Millennials have it easy
Raised by the wealthiest generation, the Baby Boomers, it’s assumed that Millennials have been handed everything and that they have it easy. Well, again, the Grattan Institute’s report has confirmed that we actually have it financially harder than the Baby Boomers had.
We are wearing the brunt of the government budget pressures – we will have less government support and less infrastructure spending during our lifetimes. It’s less likely Gen Y’s will be homeowners. And while the older generations’ wealth has doubled in the las 10 years, the wealth of Gen Y’s has not moved at all.
Millennials aren’t interested in paying their dues or don’t have work ethic
There’s a poor work ethic among a percentage of Gen Xers and Baby Boomers, as well as Gen Y’s. Those in the GEn Y category have probably found it harder to find work, and may have given up. BUT, there’s a large percentage of Gen Y who are extremely work-focused.
Again, the Grattan Institure report has shown that more Gen Y are investing in higher education than any generation before, and yet we get less of a return on our investment. We are also having to work longer and longer hours to have a decent wage, and so we are pushing back against the concept of working work, with ‘work smarter, not harder’. But so far it’s not paying off for most Gen Y, since wages have stagnated.