Why being a so-called “Millennial” is actually pretty AWESOME for YOUR MONEY

I don’t know about you, but, I find identifying myself as a millennial pretty hard to do. I was born in 1985, and technically, the millennial time-span is from 1982-2004 depending on what you read. According to the all-knowing Wikipedia, we’re the children of the baby boomers of the post war era.

Our generation is often berated in the media for being “lazy” and “presumptuous” – like the world owes us and we always want something for nothing. Apparently, we all eat avocado on toast, dress like hipsters, drink cocktails out of jam-jars and can’t afford to pay our rent, let alone save for a house.

Oh, and apparently we love to moan about it too.

We’re the generation that has grown up with technology, social media and smart phones. We’re “obsessed” with selfies and Facebook. If, like me, you’re in your 30s now, you’ll also remember living without all this stuff (and we have another name – Xennials: somewhere between generation X and millennial, but that’s another story!)

Now to an extent, this may well be true (I hope you can tell I’m being facetious though). The media portrayals definitely don’t feel like me as a person, so I can totally understand why the name (and its associations) piss us all off.

My post today however is to stick up for us – to show that actually being a millennial is amazing, particularly for your money….

5 Reasons Why I Think Being a Millenial ROCKS!

N.B. This list is not exhaustive – I can think of many more things, but if I go through them all we’ll be here forever. Feel free to add your suggestions into the comments below!!

1. Technology

You’ve probably heard this argument before, but you’re going to read my take on it now! In the last 20 years, we’ve see absolutely amazing leaps in technology. From the old Nokia handsets to the new iPhone X, we’ve come a very long way, in a very short space of time.

What does this mean for us?

For a start, we pick these things up far quicker than the generations before us. Navigating around a laptop or an iPhone is second nature. Emails are so ingrained in our society that we now get excited when we get real letters in the post!

We can talk to anyone on the planet from the comfort of our own homes, and we can conference call in our jim-jams if we so choose to. Our working lives have a whole new potential flexibility now – some of us are just waiting patiently for our employers to catch up.

Our mobile phones are an entrepreneur’s dream. Many online business owners would say that they wouldn’t be able to function without a decent phone (myself included). We can do everything needed to keep a business ticking over and use cloud technologies to effortlessly switch to our desktop computers whenever we need to.

Crypto-related technologies are making our money faster than ever. We have contactless payments and online banking. We even now have robots that can deliver our pizzas (I live in Milton Keynes, and I’ve seen them roaming the streets!) Soon we’ll have taxis that drive themselves (safely hopefully).

In short, technology is making it an exciting time to be alive, and any smart millennial will be able to see this and take advantage and earn far more than our parents ever did!

2. Changing job markets

With all this new technology, unfortunately there are going to be job-losses. Just recently, it was announced that the owners of Littlewoods and Very were upgrading their business structure to include more robots and less humans in order to keep up with “rising customer expectations”. The move will generate less than half the jobs that are being culled.

So being a millennial in times like this is actually good news. More of us than many previous generations have gone to university. We have the energy and capacity to learn and redevelop ourselves. We are nowhere near retirement yet, and with some savvy thinking and planning, we can use lay-offs and redundancies to our advantage.

“Grown up” gap year anyone?

Gone are the days where you joined a firm at 16 and stopped working there in your 60s. We now have the ability to move jobs and explore what we’d like to do. In fact, many careers could take you abroad now too. These are exciting times!

3. Opportunities

In much the same way that technology and the job market has changed, so have opportunities. Colleges and Universities have ever expanding options to choose from, as well as part-time learning, apprenticeship learning, and learning online. Flexibility is becoming something we can take full advantage of, and we can pick education that suits our desired lifestyle.

New technology and social media networks mean that jobs in other countries are easily advertised and accessible to everyone.

With new technology comes new ideas and creations. We can learn to build apps, websites and software to make life easier. Look at people like Mark Zuckerberg (founder of Facebook), Brian Chesky (founder of Airbnb) and Jessica Alba (founder of The Honest Company) – all Millennials, all changing the face of the world as we know it.

We can go anywhere we want, for a fraction of the cost that our parents paid. We are also at an age where we have more disposable income, so we can enjoy our trips more (unless you already have kids, then I’m sorry…think of the freedom you’ll have when I’ll still be running after a 16 year old!!).

We now have a flight that goes direct to Perth from London in 17 hours. Richard Branson is working on trips into space. Who knows what Elon Musk is up to nowadays. We might be taking Saga-retirement trips to Mars for all I know.

If they can do it, why not you too? You don’t have to copy the old-fashioned life model that your parents followed. As a millennial, you can choose your own path and take advantage of all the exciting opportunities out there!

4. Rising house prices

I know that rising house prices can seem like a bad thing but hear me out. Often we crave to buy our own home. We stress about saving up for a big enough deposit and feel frustrated by our lack of progress towards it. Yes, some people have managed it, and that’s brilliant, but ask yourself, is this really what you want? Is the timing right? Does it suit your lifestyle?

I bought my first flat when I was 29. I moved into my flat the same year I turned 30. For me, it was a huge accomplishment. I felt “grown up”.

The problem is, it has probably been the biggest financial mistake I have ever made.

Soon after buying the flat, I turned 30, and had a late quarter-life crisis. I couldn’t understand how I’d let myself reach this age without having done any of the fun things yet that I’d wanted to do – like travel. I’d pretty much studied and worked through my 20s as a doctor and woke up to the fact that I felt like I hadn’t really lived.

Instead, I’d gone from school to uni to job without taking a breath or a pause. Turning 30 for me was a defining year, and I decided I had to do something. So I quit my job. Then I went travelling for 5 months.

In that time, I still had (London=expensive) bills to pay, and I somehow needed to fund my trip as well. Needless to say, I massively overspent and got into debt. I have not been able to take a break from work again since, due to paying bills, debt and a mortgage.

To make issues more complicated, I met my current boyfriend just before I went travelling, and I decided to move in with him when I returned. I’ve owned my flat for less than 3 years, and in that time, my life is now unrecognisable to what it was back when I purchased the flat.

If I had known what I know now, I wouldn’t even have bothered. I would have just saved and rented. Then I could have ridden off into the sunset without a care.

So if you’re worrying about not having a “place of your own” or “throwing money down the drain”. Stop. Save your money, build an emergency fund and a f***-off fund. Wait to buy, and when you eventually buy, keep it in budget and don’t overstretch your finances. It just isn’t worth it.

Being free enough to go off and travel for 6 months – now that is living (plus, you’ll appreciate it so much more than the current generation of 18 year olds on a gap year before they go to uni, not to mention that you’ll have more money than them too to enjoy your trip!!).

Oh, and the baby-boomers bought up all the houses when they were cheap right? So who do you think will be inheriting them? That’s right, millennials.

 

5. Investing and planning for retirement

The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second-best time is now. This is apparently an old Chinese proverb, and whoever wrote it was a genius. This applies to investing and being in your 20s and 30s is a brilliant time to start.

Often we think that retirement is something we’ll do “one day”. That day never comes, and before you know it, you’re in your 50s and 60s wondering what the hell happened.

With youth on our side, we can take advantage of stock market investing NOW in preparation for a fabulous retirement. We have another 30-40 years yet before we retire, and our pensions are now so costly and expensive for companies to maintain, their value is dwindling all the time.

Spoiler alert- you will not enjoy the same kind of retirement as a baby-boomer. This model of cruising into the sunset in your golden years is now a thing of the past. That is, unless you learn how to sort out your own retirement fund.

While you have time on your side, learn how to invest and take responsibility for your own retirement. Compound interest works best with time, so do yourself a favour and start learning NOW!

Bonus reason – girl power

From the Spice Girls to Beyoncé, we’re the generation who have been heavily influenced by the girl power movement. We can have what we want, when we want. More men are choosing to become house husbands (which is awesome for them too!), and it’s becoming more and more common for a woman to be the bread winner of the household.

Yes, there is still a lot of work to be done, but times are changing for women; the movement is palpable. I love the fact I’m in my 30s during this time so I can do my bit in this wave of awesomeness.

And besides, not to brag or anything, but I remember the Spice Girls the first-time round…

I hope you enjoyed my reasons for loving being a millennial right now. Feel free to comment below and tell us why you love being a millennial too.

With Love,

Dr Nikki x

The Female Money Doctor

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My name is Dr Nikki Ramskill and I’m a real life hospital doctor based in the UK. I decided a few years back to make some big changes in my money life, because I was sick to death (ha ha no pun intended!) of not feeling like I ever had any. I come from a working class background, and worked hard to get a good job so I could have the lifestyle of my dreams. I wanted it all – clothes, shoes, a house, a car, travel around the world, and above all, to retire in style “some day”, living life one cruise to the next. The problem is, this is NOT the reality we currently live in - pensions are worth less and less, more of us are in debt, and the cost of living always seems to outpace our incomes. Sigh.So I decided to take matters into my own hands and educate myself. I was so excited about what I was learning, that I wanted to give back and teach it too. I see so many people with money problems in my day job, that its too big a problem to ignore any longer. Money problems = stress, and this is something we definitely could all do with less of.

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