Millennials get a bad rap for a lot of things — from our sense of entitlement to our lack of responsibility when it comes to money. These assumptions may be warranted.
As households become more and more well-to-do, it seems money is the last thing a millennial has to worry about.
Add to the fact that expensive material goods like iPhones and hover boards are now commonplace instead of a luxury, and it would seem most of us can expect a hard time managing our expenses once we leave school to earn our own keep.
Growing up, we’ve all heard stories from our parents and grandparents about how they had to give up their dreams to eke out a living, because for them, raising a family was paramount.
We get it. Much like our elders, we do understand that financial security is important and that it’s wise to start saving while we’re young. But what makes my generation seem so flippant about the way we earn and spend money is our attitude towards it.
We’re of a generation that grew up comfortably. Our parents saw to it that we got what we asked for, from toys to trips to a new pair of shoes.
Perhaps, at the back of our minds, we think this reliance has no expiration date. And thanks to this “safety net”, we are able to put our aspirations, happiness and personal fulfilment first — be it giving up a well-paying job to join a non-profit organisation or blowing hundreds at a club every weekend (whatever floats your boat).
This “me first” approach also means we’re spending much more than generations before us. Twenty-dollar dinners no longer faze us; we speed around in taxis more often than we should; and online shopping has made it so easy to make impulse buys. If my mother knew how much I’m spending on taxis to and from work every week, she’d freak out.
What’s more, a 2015 study by data company Deloitte revealed that a whopping 50 per cent of millennials would take a pay cut to find a job that matches their values. I suppose such a mindset makes the way we deal with money even harder to understand.
However, we’re savvier with our money than you think. Now as information on various topics are readily available on the Internet, we have greater access to guides on how best to save money, and returns-guaranteed saving plans to sign up for.
As my 20-something friends and I get older, managing and investing money have also become common dinner conversation topics — not just what’s on sale at ASOS.
So while we’re not all clueless, I think we need to take a step back and learn how to block out all the white noise from fancy tech items and e-shopping — and learn how to live simply and want less. For me, it starts with taking the bus and MRT rather than cabs. What about you?