Millennial Problems: Myth-busting

Here are some words not often paired with “millennial”: wise, dedicated, investment-savvy. And you thought all those kids were just complainers.

Credit Karma, the San Francisco company that provides free credit scores and financial advice, recently released results of its survey of 18- to 34-year-olds on everything it means to be a grownup who contributes positively to society. The results destroyed many of the generalizations about millennials, giving us a lot of hope for the future. Per Credit Karma:

“They are getting married and buying homes and cars in large numbers. Urban, suburban and rural 18-34 year-olds are starting families and using credit cards. They collectively carry more student debt than any generation before, but that is not stopping them from moving forward with their lives and saving for the future.”

That’s pretty interesting, but let’s take a closer look at the results.

Not only do millennials view marriage favorably — 83 percent of respondents plan to tie the knot, while nearly 50 percent were already married or living with a partner — they think little ones are cool too. A whopping 74 percent either plan to have children or already make diaper runs and attend parent-teacher conferences. The marriage findings were similar for urban, suburban, and rural millennials.

And when those kids are growing up, millennials want it to be in their own home. There was no difference between millennials who currently own versus rent their home (44 percent each), but of those who rent, 88 percent eventually want to buy something. How they will do that depends largely on where they live (sorry, Bay Area millennials), because increasing their debt is a nonstarter. Lessons learned from 2008, when the world sorta imploded.

We always hear that millennials are afraid to leave the comforts of their parents’ home, but apparently we were listening to the wrong people. Of those surveyed, 58 percent had purchased a home before age 26. Dang, that’s smart.

So what about jobs? That’s where millennials let their emotions dominate, right? Idealism and a mission to make the world a better place get in the way of sensible career-building. And that whole “I just graduated from college so I’m the bestest at everything”? Just another stereotype.

Sure, only one-quarter of those surveyed wanted to have the same job for eight or more years, but a full 70 percent of older millennials (29 to 34) spent four or more years with the same employer. That’s impressive when considering how few total working years they’ve had. And among younger millennials, 63 percent want to stay in their jobs for more than four years. Experience counts.

As for their twilight years, when Social Security will have become a Smithsonian Museum exhibit, millennials are not messing around. Over half are saving for retirement, and 89 percent of them started doing so before age 28. And why are they doing this? Because their parents’ and grandparents’ generations screwed them royally and they know it — 62 percent believe Social Security insurance will be gone by the time they need it, and nearly 75 percent said the Great Recession had a moderate to extreme influence on their financial outlook.

There you have it: millennials are smarter than you. That must account for why they’re leaving the traditional tech job centers like the Bay Area for the Silicon Valleys of the future. We hear Nashville has a good music scene. 

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