3 Millennials Characteristics That Make Them Different from Other Generations

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Millennials characteristics are things that fascinate everyone. But what makes them so different from other generations?

Those born between 1980 and 2000 – or millennials – are generally more tech-savvy and extremely self-confident. They are probably university-educated so they have a clear plan for career development. But, they are also seen to be “addicted” to the online world. In a study by fund management house, Legg Mason, 65% of millennials state losing their phone or computer as a greater negative impact on their daily routine than losing their car.

Millennials characteristics also stretches to the usual money worries of those before, but with a difference. Millennials are the ones struggling to buy housing. Plus, they are the ones who found the job hunt a struggle after university thanks to the recession.

However, whether we like it or not, millennials are the future and currently account for the largest section of America’s workforce.

But, what is it that makes them so different? Here are 3 ways millennials characteristics differ from their predecessors:

1. Millennials characteristics start with different money goals

Of course, the best place to start with this kind of statement is Facebook. After all, a majority of its users fall into the millennial bracket! Plus, it seems fitting that earlier this year, Facebook published some research based on the conversations of US-based millennials.

Facebook’s findings revealed the following:

  • Nearly 50% of Millennials say the main indicator of financial success is being debt-free.
  • Only 1-in-10 said being able to retire as an indicator of financial success.
  • Millennials tend to think short-term. They do save but tend to save for things like a holiday rather than an investment for the future.
  • They don’t know much about investment either – a quarter said they didn’t know how to invest at all.

This attitude to money has meant most millennials plan to work for longer. However, they only plan to work for longer doing what they like and in an environment that suits them.

Given millennials are also more likely to live longer, it is hardly surprising they are looking for compromise somewhere along the line!

2. They have university fees and hefty rents

Linking to the above point about attitudes towards money, millennials have also been hit by sky-high rents and property prices. They have also doubled this up with hugely high university tuition fees.

In the UK, university tuition fees were brought in shortly before the millennium. Costing as much as £9,000 a year, and set to rise further for students in England, these fees are added to by expensive maintenance loans.

So much so, that the Institute for Fiscal Studies estimates that UK students will leave university with nearly £20,000 more debt following changes announced in 2012. When compared to previous generations who paid no university fees at all, the difference is noticeable.

And then there is renting. Many millennials, unable to gather together the deposit needed for a mortgage, are turning to rent. But it isn’t cheap. In London in particular, rents are notoriously extortionately high and wages are simply not keeping pace.

3. Their financial priorities are different

Despite these financial worries, one of the strongest of millennials characteristics is their attitudes towards financial priorities.

According to the same survey by Legg Mason, mentioned above, the rising popularity of smartphones among younger generations means ways of engaging with financial services are changing rapidly. A total of 46% of UK millennials are keen to use their smartphones to do all their financial planning – which is the highest in Europe, according to Legg Mason. By contrast, just 13% of baby boomers feel comfortable with such an approach.

Mobile phones and computers have become to our lives – we use them to ‘get around’ more than we use a vehicle to do so. In September last year, a study by professional services firm Deloitte states that young UK adults are smartphone addicts. Around half of the 18-24-year-olds admit to checking their phones in the middle of the night.

It also shows that financial priorities have changed. Typically, big-ticket items, such as a car or a property. It looks as though this is changing, with value moving to smaller items, like phones, that are lower in value but extremely important, even essential.

Plus, it would appear that millennials are moving away from traditional high street banks. According to the Millennial Disruption Index, 53% of millennials don’t think their bank offers anything another bank offers. What’s more, millennials are much more likely to switch banks than older generations.

The report also illustrates the role of technology in millennials’ lives. More than two-thirds of millennial respondents believe that in just five years the way we access our money and make payments will be completely different.

In the end, it’s just a difference!

Mobile banking, digital currencies, payment apps like Google Wallet and a whole host of other platforms are rapidly changing the way millennials use the money, as well as how they save and spend their cash. As a result, they are also given more freedom to decide what they want to do with their finances.

It’s perhaps easy to see how the world of the millennial differs from previous generations! The technological world they have been brought up in has allowed them to be more technologically savvy, which has seen a change in attitudes towards relationships and finances.


By Becky L.


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