How To Know If You're Killing It As A Millennial

How To Know If You’re Killing It As A Millennial

I was standing in a news studio recently in San Antonio right before I went on to do a live segment about my student loan story. I was SUPER excited for the opportunity (it was my second time on live TV), and was trying to be still for the people that were running the microphone up my shirt.

On a side note – that is the weirdest part of being on TV! The tech people obviously have a job to do, so you kinda have to just stand there while they run wires all over you. I’m sure that’s just one of those things that TV “regulars” get used to.

While I was waiting for the segment before mine to end, the host was reading a list of ways for millennials to know that they were “killing it” in life.

They basically went like this:

“You’re killing it if you have health insurance!”

“You’re killing it if you have a job!”

“You’re killing it if you have your own place!”

I didn’t really have too much of a problem with any of them, and to be honest even if I did, it didn’t matter. The host of the daytime show was basically just filling time with content that would segue well into a story of some random millennial that paid off his student loans and started an online business.

It did get me to start thinking though. What does qualify as killing it?

I absolutely don’t think it’s as simple as having your own place or health insurance. You could make arguments either way on both of those subjects. I actually mentioned in my live segment that I disagreed with just having your own place as “killing it”.

Couldn’t just agree with everything, right? 🙂

My wife and I lived with her parents for a LONG time, and I’m freaking proud of it. I paid off a lot of debt, my wife saved for our wedding, and we were able to help her family through an extremely hard time when her father’s health was fading.

Stuff or possessions aren’t much of a sign of success to me. It’s easy as hell to finance (or over-finance for houses) almost everything.

Here’s what I think defines “killing it” for Millennials:

You have perspective

Unfortunately, this one generally comes from experiencing loss. I write about death pretty often on this site – but it’s not to bum people out. It’s actually the opposite. When my wife’s father did pass away earlier this year, it gave me a focus and clarity that I’ve never had before.

I don’t waste as much time caring what people think. I certainly won’t work at a job that I hate. I appreciate every moment I have with my wife and family more than I ever did for the first 27 years of my life.

Life is fleeting, and if you understand and respect that fact you’ll be happier and enjoy this crazy ride more.

You are going after the things you want in life

I don’t care if you have life insurance, a nice house, a boat, or even a full wardrobe. If you’re working towards a goal and doing it with passion and hard work, you’re killing it.

The amount and kind of stuff that you accumulate through life doesn’t matter nearly as much as having a mission. For me, it’s helping people figure out their personal finances while providing a good life for my wife and future family.

You understand that you don’t have it figured out

I deal with this daily. I stumble in business, generally don’t have answers, and usually have no idea WTF I’m doing.

However, I think understanding that I don’t know very much has been my largest intellectual asset. I want to learn more about everything because I know I need to.

Too many people get caught up in trying to be the expert of everything while actually mastering nothing. You become an expert by keeping your eyes and ears open with your mouth shut, and then applying the information you’ve learned over and over.

You put your stock into people and relationships

I’m not just talking about family and friends. I think those are a given (or at least should be), but when it comes to becoming successful it’s about the people outside of your circle.

If I’ve learned anything about entrepreneurship and life so far, it’s that people are the key to progress. It’s not about more sales, higher salaries, or advancements in a career.

Those are the product of developing relationships with the right people. For someone that is introverted like me…it sucks. But once I realized that I needed to force myself to connect with both more and the right people – my income, career, etc. have grown quickly.

Don’t let stuff define what “killing it” means for you.

Question for you:

Do you agree with any of this?


Live differently. Your bank accounts will thank me later. ~M$M

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23 comments… add one
  • Ms. Montana Nov 25, 2016, 7:53 am

    I totally agree. The one I would add would be: try a few things, and being willing to “waste” that work. It takes a lot of hard work, drive and some failure to figure things out. I’ve had some really successful life goals, and a bunch of things I did the hard work and they flopped. But each of those gave me more skills and knowledge. Most things aren’t quick, easy or guaranteed. At 33 I have been able to custom create the life I always wanted. But the road here has not been smooth or straight.

    • Millennial Money Man Nov 25, 2016, 8:13 am

      Love that one! So true too. I’ve had plenty of failures so far, and I’m sure I’ll have plenty more in the coming years.

  • Mrs. Picky Pincher Nov 25, 2016, 9:41 am

    I’m convinced that few people feel like they really Know What They’re Doing. 😉 But I agree! Success is different for everybody. It can’t always be defined by tangible things–it’s also about becoming an adult and developing a healthy mindset towards your life, relationships, and finances.

    • Millennial Money Man Nov 25, 2016, 9:52 am

      Absolutely! Success is totally different for everyone – definitely have encountered that a ton over the past two years.

  • Christa Szabo Nov 25, 2016, 3:05 pm

    I 100% agree! I actually had a moment at work the other day where I had think remind myself what my goals were. Everybody else “seemed” to have it together where I feel like I was lagging behind. But when I speak about paying off debt and investing, and they have never even thought of it, I remember why I’m doing what I’m doing and that I do have a plan that’s actually working! T-7 days till my next credit card is paid off! Thanks for the great article and congrats on being on television!!!

    • Millennial Money Man Nov 25, 2016, 5:25 pm

      Thanks Christa! It was definitely a fun experience. The taped segment I did after the live one turned out a little better, but still happy with both!

  • Matt Nov 25, 2016, 3:46 pm

    Hey Bobby, I really like you site. I’ve commented before, but you really pushed me to build my own personal finance website geared towards questions college students have. If you or any of your readers would be interested in checking it out, that would be awesome.

  • Jim Nov 25, 2016, 5:16 pm

    Let’s face it, most Americans young or old do not have two dimes to rub together.
    So let’s set the net worth bar low for the millennials, say at zero. If you are a millennial and you have a net worth, you are “killing It”. And if you have a negative net worth you are normal.
    I agree with everything you said above,except one thing. You do know WTF you are doing and it shows here, Three times a week…

  • Nancy Hoyt Nov 25, 2016, 5:57 pm

    Great article! The only thing I would disagree with is you are not an introvert. You are an extrovert and a leader, not a follower. Those are your strengths and have helped you in everything you have pursued in life!

  • Jon @ Be Net Worthy Nov 26, 2016, 7:30 am

    Great list Bobby and I like Jim’s point above. If your net worth is greater than zero at this point you are killing it – lol! The only other thing I would add is something related to maintaining your health. Maybe if you are at your ideal weight or if you are working 3x per week then you would be killing it too.

    • Millennial Money Man Nov 26, 2016, 8:53 am

      Thanks Jon! I agree on maintaining your health – getting more exercise is definitely something I’ve been trying to focus on lately. Medical bills aren’t cheap later on!

  • Ten Factorial Rocks Nov 26, 2016, 8:03 am

    Interesting. I guess superlatives define today’s millienial vocabulary. As part of the sandwich generation (I liked Gen X better!), much of what is considered ‘killing it’ was basic stuff we were simply expected to do. I have had parents and early career bosses set continually high bar, and while I didn’t like it at that time, I thank them now. Whatever happened to hunkering down and getting stuff done without announcing that you are ‘killng it’?

    • Millennial Money Man Nov 26, 2016, 8:52 am

      There wasn’t a millennial referenced in this post who personally announced that they were killing it. In was in reaction to a non-millennial newscaster reading a list of ways that millennials are doing well in life.

      • Ten Factorial Rocks Nov 26, 2016, 11:27 pm

        But the broadcaster was clearly talking to his audience. You know as well as I do that ‘killing it’ is a common phrase among the millenials. Nothing wrong with it but excessive use of it to small things cheapens the real hustle required to get to FIRE. What will we say ‘killing it’ next to? Getting up in the morning and showing up on time to work?

        • Millennial Money Man Nov 27, 2016, 8:13 am

          Don’t get me wrong – I understand your point, but I truly haven’t ever heard a millennial tell me they were killing it because they had health insurance or a house. In addition, I’ve learned from running this site that average millennials aren’t really trying to reach financial independence or retire early. They’re just trying to figure out how to pay their bills/student loans on a crappy salary, so maybe little victories like the ones the broadcaster mentioned feel pretty damn good haha!

          • Mystery Money Man Nov 27, 2016, 11:48 pm

            Great post, MMM! I didn’t see your TV segment, but my thought when I read the part about the TV host listing ways Millennials are “killing it” was that at times, older generations really do seem to set a pretty low bar for millennials, to a point where it seems almost condescending. Not saying that was the situation there, but it reminded me that it does happen.
            It’s too bad, because while Millennials have some real challenges that their parents didn’t have, they also have amazing knowledge and drive, and should never be sold short!

            • Millennial Money Man Nov 28, 2016, 12:40 am

              Haha no problem – the first one wasn’t that great, but the second one went well! You’re right about the bar being set low. This was some kind of survey or list from a different source that defined what “killing it” is for millennials.

              I don’t think millennials really feel like trivial stuff is the be-all-end-all or signs of success. Older generations tend to minimize the struggles that millennials face because things were always “harder” for them (when they really weren’t). I’m sure people my age will do it to the next generation as well.

              • Mystery Money Man Nov 29, 2016, 11:22 pm

                Of course. I’m a Gen Xer, missed the Millennial boat by a few years, but my son is 16 years old and I can see that in many ways, he faces a tougher road ahead getting established.

  • Edita Nov 26, 2016, 12:07 pm

    I do Agree that it is very hard for the introvert to get out there and socialize but i realized that it might be necessary as you mentioned to find the right people. I am on my journey to find those people. Any advice how to cut to the right for me crowd ?

    • Millennial Money Man Nov 26, 2016, 3:17 pm

      It really depends on who you are trying to find honestly, but for me it was asking my marketing clients to introduce me to other potential clients. Entrepreneurs generally like helping people like me that are just starting out to become successful!

  • Brian - Rental Mindset Nov 27, 2016, 7:39 pm

    I think perspective is the key to growing up. College students usually lack perspective, but everyone matures at their own pace so it isn’t like this is just gained when you enter the working world.

    • Millennial Money Man Nov 28, 2016, 12:41 am

      Great thought and you’re totally right. College students lack perspective, but it’s OK! I think older people tend to think a little more highly of their college-aged selves than is probably accurate.

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