Saving is not something that the millennial cool cats are talking about. Instagram feeds are awash with envy-inducing photos of exotic locations around the world or picture-perfect plates of food from the hottest restaurant in town, all more likely to induce young people to splurge on a plane ticket to paradise or a memorable Michelin star-worthy meal than to ‘boringly’ put some money aside for the future.
There has been a notable shift between my generation and the millennials when it comes to aspirations. Whereas the deciding factor for many of us Generation Xers when choosing a career was the amount we would get in our bank account at the end of the month, millennials are far more focussed on job satisfaction. Meaning has become more important than money with one US thinktank (the Brookings Institute) finding that 64% of millennials would rather make $40,000 a year at a job they love than $100,000 a year at a job they think is boring.
Millennials tend to view wealth differently – work-life balance, freedom, flexibility and enriching experiences are as, if not more, important than material possessions, a steady, well-paid job and a mortgage. And as for saving for a pension? Well retirement is just too far off to bother about for now when there is travelling to be done and fun to be had. The downside to this ‘have it now’ attitude to life is that this generation is the first who are predicted to end up less well off than their parents.
As a parent of millennial children, and someone who is much closer to retirement than I would like to be, I can see both sides of the coin. I understand the desire to create a life which offers more excitement than the steady job/mortgage/two kids/two cars in the garage lifestyle epitomised by the American Dream but I am also now able to appreciate that saving, which I too once considered boring, is what will enable me to enjoy an active and fulfilling retirement when I stop working in the not-so-distant future.
And I believe that there is a middle way which offers the best of both worlds to millennials and it can be achieved through financial planning. It is possible to follow your dreams, have amazing experiences, travel and work overseas in the now and also plan for bigger future dreams such as owning your own home and a fabulous retirement but it won’t happen without some forward planning.
I see many millennials who work hard for their money but reckless spending means that they don’t have anything to show for it. Cutting out some of the frivolous expenditure and spending mindfully will free up money for saving. While that might seem boring, the fact that it gives you choices is anything but. Having savings is ultimately liberating and enables you to make plans to do the things you really love both now and in the future.
Are you keen to create the lifestyle that you want now and in the future by putting some short, medium and long term goals in place and defining some savings and investment targets to achieve them? I’d love to help. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have decades of experience in the financial services industry in South Africa. I worked for Discovery, the country’s largest insurer, for 16 years as a Specialist Consultant/Franchise Director, heading up many of their franchises, before moving to Regal, a leading financial advisory firm.
I decided to relocate and join Infinity in Ho Chi Minh City which would give myself offshore experience in the industry and satisfy my craving to explore a different culture.