Naysayers underestimate Millennials. We grew up in a world of technology, giving us a unique perspective on ourselves and the world. Other generations may look at us, and shake their heads in confusion. But who are we really?
Considered by some to be the “next greatest generation," the Millennial generation, or Gen Y, are “80 million Americans born roughly between 1980 and 2000," and we have more positive characteristics than not, according to Time. We are problem-solvers, social advocates, and survivors. Millennials are optimistic, open-minded, generous, educated — and believe it or not — financially savvy. We adapt to today’s fast-paced world with ease.
As with the “greatest generation" from The Great Depression, “millennials have experienced their own upheavals and made something out of it: first with 9/11, followed by more than a decade of war," and the “fragile global economy" of The Great Recession. According to the "Journal For Quality & Participation," we “began entering the workforce in large numbers just as the U.S. economy took the biggest nosedive since the great depression." Yet despite lack of employment opportunities, record-high student debt, and high levels of stress, millennials have a flourishing sense of optimism. In fact, 80 percent of millennials are optimistic about their future. This optimism is not delusional; it’s hope combined with education.
Millennials are “the most educated generation in history," and we are “willing to sacrifice a great deal in pursuit of education." We have an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, constantly trying to learn more, making us "acutely aware of the world." With record rates of millennials attending college, most are open-minded on social issues. For example, “70 percent of millennials support same-sex marriage rights," and 75 percent say the LGBT community should be accepted by our society; in addition, “a majority of millennials believe we should do all we can to protect the environment," including using alternate energy sources. Most millennials believe that the world can change in a positive direction if we work together.
We also strive to manage our finances carefully. Although many millennials still live in their parents’ homes, this does not mean they aren’t financially savvy. Millennials are using their money wisely by “saving more money] in deposit accounts," paying off student loans faster, and avoiding other high debts more so than older generations. And, while we build our own finances, some parents rely on our paychecks. In fact, “10 percent of millennials [report] that their parents rely on their salary" according to Pollak in "Benefit Selling." But saving is not the only monetary endeavor. Millennials are often very generous with donations and volunteer work for charities. One survey found that 75 percent of millennials “[donated money to charity in 2011, and 63 percent said they’d spent time volunteering." Thus, not only do we manage our money wisely but we also have altruistic goals.
So, don’t doubt the millennial generation; they just might save us all.
Case, J. (2013). Millennials: meeting them on their playing field. Forbes. Retrieved from Forbes.
Ferri-Reed, J. (2013). Millennials — Generation "Screwed" or Generation "Shrewd?" Journal For Quality & Participation, 36(1), 22-23.
Kingkade, T. (2013). 5 reasons millennials are going to save the world (we hope). The Huffington Post. Retrieved from The Huffington Post.
Pollak, L. (2013). 5 myths about millennials and benefits. Benefit Selling, 48 (11).
Sanburn, J. (2013). Millennials: the next greatest generation. Time. Retrieved from Time.
O'Donnell, P. (2013). Millennials looking like the next “greatest generation." CNBC. Retrieved from CNBC.