True or false: Will millennials be the wealthiest generation yet?
In the long-run, will this generation be a powerhouse in wealth creation?
Despite the challenges that have uniquely devastated millennial personal finance and entry into the workplace, it’s my expectation that this generation is poised to be a powerhouse in terms of wealth creation over the long-term.
Here are three distinct advantages they hold:
- A powerful incentive to accumulate wealth rapidly
- A thorough and painful introduction to financial education
- An instinctive grasp of 21st-Century business technology
Advantage #1: Incentive to accumulate wealth rapidly
Millennials aren’t interested in the corporate life. In fact, they aren’t interested in “getting rich” or “climbing the corporate ladder,” as was the dream of many in the previous generation. Instead, they want to focus on wishy-washy, lazy, entitled life, also known as “work-life balance.”
They value time far more than money and want to experience life. This is reflected in the changing job market. Yes, money is still the most important decision as a generation in terms of where to work, but flexibility is a close second.
Previous generations were content and even eager to work the same job over a 40-year career, getting up at 8 a.m. every day and returning home at 5 p.m. Millennials won’t put up with that. Not for 40 years. Not when the opportunities and experiences available to us grow exponentially with each passing year and new technological advance.
One of the few ways to avoid a 9-5 for 40 years is by taking control of our finances through the accumulation of personal wealth and passive cash flow. There’s a reason why books like Rich Dad Poor Dad, The 4-Hour Workweek, etc. have exploded in popularity over the last decade. There’s a reason why BiggerPockets has grown so quickly.
Millennials are doing their best as a generation to escape the cubicle fate.
They want to bury the possibility of the cubicle forever, sustainably, by accumulating enough assets to never need to work a 9 to 5 again. That’s the ultimate reason to build wealth, and that’s the value that is so incredibly important to millennials – far more so than it was to prior generations.
Advantage #2: Financial Education
Despite being (in my opinion) shamefully taken advantage of by the American collegiate education system, millennials are paying down their debts by behaving well financially. Folks are setting aside large chunks of their income towards debt reduction, and they are accomplishing the amazing transition from negative net worth to zero net worth. That’s far more of an achievement than starting from zero and accumulating wealth if you’ve started in the black.
With their loans paid down, this large group of educated millennials who already prioritize financial freedom and who have just recovered from a decade-long struggle with crippling debt will emerge. Guess who’s unlikely to go take out a $30,000 car loan or buy the fancy house on the hill for $1 million? And guess who has developed a healthy habit of setting aside large chunks of income to build net worth?
Advantage #3: Business Economy
The world is changing, and rapid changes in technology are the standard. It’s obvious that mobile banking has already won, but yesterday’s generation just can’t keep up like millennials can. Many older folks are unaware of the ability to instantly pay others via apps like Venmo. Parents, aunts, and uncles aren’t using Uber instead of taxis yet, despite the obvious advantages.
I’m not saying that Baby Boomers and Gen Xers can’t adapt. It’s that they aren’t demanding and expecting rapid progress in these areas of business. The older generations see mobile banking as a great new feature to be adopted as a business tool. Meanwhile, millennials can’t understand why money must wait three business days to “settle” in a bank account. What the hell is that about? Are you kidding me? Banks that “settle” funds are already behind. By years.
This mindset is a powerful advantage. Millennials aren’t just happy to have an added convenience. They are frustrated by the fact that things aren’t already better than they are and seek out the superior product constantly. It’s a subtle, yet extraordinarily powerful difference in mindset over time. I think it’s simply better business. And I think that this mentality is to their advantage.