Why Millennials’ Personal Financial Future May Be In Trouble

Things are different with every generation. The generation that came before always dreams of the good old days when things were better, more secure, kinder and more moral. The truth is that there is good and bad to the nuances of every generation. The millennials will be the first generation of adults who grew up with the internet, and many are wondering what the effect of technology will have on them.

Being termed as the most self-involved generation in history, is it well deserved, or just us old people being uppity about their own upbringing?

 Millennials appear to be more concerned about creating fake lives on the internet than focusing on their own future. A generation of selfies, Instagram, and Twitter, they have a false illusion that everything they have to say is important and that everyone cares about what they do. There is evidence that the time spent on all the self-imposed fake-ness may be taking from the time that should be spent learning about real things.

All young people have the illusion of immortality, which is why they aren’t that big into investing, but studies are showing that not only are Millennial’s not interested in saving, they may not even know the basics of it. So used to their parents doing everything for them, they haven’t a clue how to plan for, or take care of, their own financing.

Their upbringing was rooted in getting trophies not for accomplishments, but for participation, even if they didn’t participation. Needing instant gratification, they couldn’t wait to get home for a snack after practice, parents had to supply juice and crackers on the field.

If their homework wasn’t completed and done, their parents were shamed with demerits instead of them being held accountable. Is it any surprise that they may have missed out on some things along the way? Given the security to think that they will be taken care of first by their parents and then the government, many don’t feel the need to invest, or even know about investing for their future.

There are generation-specific things that 20 somethings are financially engaging in, which are different than their older cohorts.

No record keeping

Being the first generation to live without a checkbook, most are swiping and not recording. That not only means they are spending beyond their means, but they also may not even know where their finances are at any given time. They also fail to make a budget, with subscriptions being taken from their accounts there is no account being made of them. Automatic debits such as Hulu or Netflix come right off the top, without them recording or even accounting for them.

Overestimating their worth

Being an entitlement generation, most Millennials assume that whatever they had growing up, they are entitled to as adults. Not realizing that their parents had to work hard to get where they are at, Millennials think that their future will be rosy and that they will be making the type of money they are accustomed to right out the gate. Often being too optimistic, they overestimate how much they will earn, and underestimate their budget. That could spell trouble for their future and leave them overextended turning to mom and dad for bailouts.

YOLO!

Many do not have any padding in their accounts. Not keeping track of their spending, they aren’t likely to have a buffer like a savings account should something happen. YOLO mentality has them not ever saving for or anticipating a rainy day. That can leave them always in the red trying to fight their way out.

Entitlement culture catching up

Thinking that the government was created to pay for them, their education and their future, many wrongly assume that they don’t need to worry about their retirement. Leaving it up to social security to care for them later in life, many will postpone their retirement savings accounts, which could have them scrambling later in life when they realize that social security is likely not to cover even their grown-up parents. It is a real potential that they will not only have to care for their own elderly years, the care of their parents, who were relying on social security benefits, will befall them as well.

Instant gratification leads to overextension

Not recognizing the seriousness of credit ratings, many spend at will, overextend themselves, and don’t worry about paying on time. Not being beholden to much growing up, and without consequences for not following through, many don’t stop to think about how what they are doing is affecting their financial future. Your credit is much like your GPA, once you tank it, it becomes nearly impossible to fight your way out.

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Author: Kar

Dr. Kar works in the interface of digital transformation and data science. Professionally a professor in one of the top B-Schools of Asia and an alumni of XLRI, he has extensive experience in teaching, training, consultancy and research in reputed institutes. He is a regular contributor of Business Fundas and a frequent author in research platforms. He is widely cited as a researcher. Note: The articles authored in this blog are his personal views and does not reflect that of his affiliations.