Everyone’s got an opinion about millennials. What can we say? We are the largest and most diverse population in the United States. As such, we’ve made quite the reputation for ourselves. Several stereotypes have come out of our generation’s professional, personal, and in particular, technological track record. Rather than obsess over whether those are good or bad stereotypes, let’s focus on the advantages that the millennial generation has and how we can use those.
Here are the top 5 advantages of being a millennial and how to take advantage of them.
1. Technologically Savvy
Perhaps the most obvious (and most criticized) aspect of our generation is our development, use, and slight obsession with technology. Technology has soared in the past 20 years and our generation doesn’t know how to function without it, much to our grandparents and potentially employer’s dismay.
Pros + Con
The good news is we will never have to learn how to function without it. We won’t go back in time. Though the effects of technology on our social lives and skills may have some negative effects, efficiency and productivity have exploded with technology.
Far above and beyond the benefit of our digital genius to employers is the potential technology has given us to pursue our own dreams like never before. We can pursue side hustles with ease thanks to the accessibility of digital communication which allows us to freelance, consult, sell products, and so on, like never before. We can use technology to network and self-market around the world. Say goodbye to our days of paper resumes and awkward “networking events”.
2. Intrinsically Motivated
A paycheck alone is not enough to motivate us anymore; another characteristic which comes with both praise and criticism. We are driven by much more than money. Part of this might be that as we’re marrying and having children at an older age, we don’t rely on an income the same way our parents might have at our age when they were already trying to support a family. Nevertheless, our generation has made clear our motivations are dynamic and complex.
Pros + Cons
No matter how much money we might be making or however secure our jobs are, we seek personal satisfaction, and money isn’t enough, which can seem ridiculous to previous generations that would’ve given their arm + leg for a secure job.One the one hand, this can feel like we’re entitled and whiney. On the other hand, it’s that thirst for purpose and passion that has resulted in the entrepreneurial and innovative generation we are.
The benefit of this trait is that it keeps us interested and motivated. Sure, we might not settle, but we have the mover and shaker mentality to truly change things, which this world needs right now. We will be willing to work for change, betterment, influence, and many more reasons than just money. We also are motivated enough to not just work at work, but to also side hustle and try to make other incomes, which help use continually discover and pursue our passions.
We’re an extremely educated generation with around 63% of us having bachelor degrees. College is much more expected, and even pursuing a master’s degree seems to many a necessity.
Pros + Cons
We take education seriously. On the downside, this has put us in quite a bit of debt. And, sadly, millennials are also known as the most educated but worst paid generation. It also has detracted from the important fields that trade schools produce because of the pressure to go to college. But, that debt demonstrates our commitment to education and we are educated, whether critiques think we should be or not. We can use that education to our advantage.
Those millennial college graduates, though perhaps numerous, still earn nearly $18,000 more than those without the degree. Get that cash money. Plus, because so many millennials attended college and college networks are ever growing in strength, those alumni networks should be taken advantage of.
- Network with alumni from your college
- Negotiate your salary! Just because many are educated does not mean your education isn’t valuable
4. Spending Power +Habits
As of 2017, millennials will have the most spending power of any generation in history. Whether we have money from our parents the baby boomers, have become wealthy entrepreneurs at a young age, invested early on, or have been avid savers as a result of growing up during a depression, we have spending power.
Our habits are new, too. We are less likely to buy a house or property and prefer to lease, we obsessively read reviews before purchasing anything, and we expect brands to either give back or be environmentally responsible (more below).
Investing wise, we tend to listen to our gut/self-education more than hiring a financial advisor. We’ve prioritized in sustainable and socially responsible investments on par with or even above profitable investments.
Pros + Cons
Our spending habits reflect much of what’s generalized about the millennial generation. Our lack of purchasing property shows our freelance, nomad, entrepreneurial and overall commitment-less habits. For better or worse, we’ve thrown companies for a loop with their traditional advertising methods failing to connect with us. The Pros for the companies that do get it right is that we are proven to be quite brand loyal.
- Invest using your millennial superpowers + philanthropically
- Apply this psychology to your side hustle +side income.
Though frequently coined as selfish, millennials have prioritized and incorporated philanthropy into their daily lives unlike any other generation. We’ve transformed charity and humanitarian work from simply volunteering and donating into factors of our work, investing, and purchasing. Perhaps it’s because the former metrics are all the older generations are looking at when they claim we aren’t giving and are selfish.
Pros + Cons
The philanthropic and change-oriented nature of millennials is perhaps what I’m proudest of our generation for, so I have difficulty seeing much “con” in this. However, it’s noteworthy that in including humanitarian work in other aspects of our live, as a result, we don’t feel the need to donate or volunteer as much (though, this may all change post Election 2016).
So, where specifically are we seeing this philanthropic boost I’m referring to? Well, we’ve consistently considered social impact when investing, most of us prefer to work for a company that either gives to charity or has a socially impactful mission, and we’re more likely to purchase from a company that demonstrates charitable giving. We’ve found many more ways to do good than simply donating time and money. We’ve incorporated into all our professional, consumer, and investment ideals.
- Make volunteering a habit
- Invest Responsibly