Well, Millennialmoneyman.com turned one this week…that is, one month old.
Although the site has only been up for a short time, it's doing surprisingly well early on and I've been really happy with it's progress so far. I've gained almost 2,000 twitter followers since I started an account last month, and all of the site metrics are making great progress (unique viewers, views, etc.).
Creating a blog and website focused on helping young people learn about finances has been a really fulfilling and fun project, and hopefully some people will come out a little wealthier in the long run! (My humble brag is finished now, thanks for sticking with me through that).
Honestly, the site's early success probably doesn't have much to do with me or my incredibly sarcastic writing ability. The only previous writing I had done was a couple of satirical commissioner letters for my fantasy football league. I needed to be good at something, because my fantasy team sucked this year.
I think that more than anything, Millennialmoneyman.com has done well because of my generation: The Millennials. I've been able to connect with way more people my age that are interested in finances lately, and I have learned a lot in the past few weeks.
If you aren't a member of my generation, you can sleep a little bit better tonight. We're not a complete group of morons that will take over the world in the future, just a semi-complete group of morons.
Here are 5 things that I have learned about Millennials:
1. We are dreamers.
I say “we” because I absolutely include myself in the dreamer category with the people that I have met this month. Millennials are young and hungry for opportunity and success in both our personal lives and careers. We have more access to information and other people's expertise than any other generation that has come before us, and I think it will give those of us who take advantage of that access a definite edge in life.
I've been told fairly often that my goals are dreams are un-realistic, like many Millennials probably have, but fortunately I was born with the gift of selective hearing. Just ask my fiancé – she'll back me up on that one. We are the future millionaires, politicians, and leaders of the world and I think we will do just fine with the responsibility. Or…it could be a complete disaster, either one.
2. We have a chip on our shoulders.
I've been called entitled for my entire life by people older than me, and for the majority of it…I was. I have 15 trophies in the closet at my parents' house that show how great I was at soccer, basketball, and baseball. You would think I was a track all-star with all of my yellow 5th place ribbons. Unfortunately, I was actually really terrible at all of those and was really just good at marching band…which was probably for the best. I scored on my own team in soccer when I was 6 years old, and I'm sure I got a medal or something after the game along with my juice box.
Ever since I graduated from college I have been trying to prove that I am not entitled like critics of my generation believe, and I think that it makes me hustle a little more and work a little harder every day. I see this trait in many of the up and coming entrepreneurs and young people that I have met this month. We want to be successful, and proving that the naysayers (old people) are wrong about us is icing on the cake.
3. We don't know much about money.
I've mentioned this before in other posts, but many people my age have a warped perception of money and what they should do with the small amount that they have. While the financial bloggers and young entrepreneurs that I have met recently are going to be just fine, I'm afraid that the rest of Millennials are going to have some problems in the beginning of their financial lives.
I don't really blame anyone for this, but rather blame a lack of financial education in public schools. Advertising works pretty well on young people, and the ability to finance items with ever-increasing loan terms and low payments isn't helping anything. One of my long term goals with this website is to advocate for more required financial education courses in school curriculum. I firmly believe that it would help combat our general financial vulnerability. This is why I am passionate about financial education:
I've used way more money than algebra since I graduated high school, and I would be willing to bet that I'm not the only one.
4. We don't want to end up like our parents.
Millennials had a front row seat to watch this country go through an epic financial meltdown that destroyed what our parents had worked so hard for while we grew up. Ironically, this was also partially our parents' fault – they financed so much that it became unsustainable.
I've noticed that many of the Millennials I know are focused on saving, except instead of the way our grandparents did it (stuffing cash in the mattress) we do it electronically with our savings accounts. I am as guilty as anyone, I HATE taking money out of savings to do anything. However, I am trying to train myself to invest in addition to save and use the best asset that I have in order to become wealthy: Time.
5. We want to be better.
The best thing I have learned so far is that I am not alone when it comes to financial responsibility during my younger years. After I paid off my student loans, I looked around and felt like nobody my age wanted to listen to the crazy guy that kept talking about sacrifice. A lot my friends had bought houses and cars like they thought they were supposed to, but were also struggling to get by every month on their paycheck.
Luckily it turns out that this website and others like it give those people an opportunity to tell others how to avoid their mistakes. Maybe my friends and other Millennials my age don't like to talk about their money woes all the time, but there are a good amount of people that want to help other people stay out of the same mess that they found themselves in. Millennials want to be good at money, and I want to help get them there.
Question for you:
What do you think about Millennials and their money habits?