Millennials don’t care about money.
That’s what I’ve been hearing over and over again. This is either a misunderstanding of millennials or millennials misunderstanding reality. If millennials do care about money then why has this idea become so pervasive with “generational experts” and blogs everywhere? Are they lying, or are millennials?
Here are 4 reasons millennials say they don’t care about money.
1. Delusional Theory
When someone tells you that they love to travel, taste exotic foods, provide for their family, or live in the house of their dreams, you notice all of these things have one thing in common, MONEY.
Millennials don’t seem to understand that all those life fulfilling activities they want to do need to be funded, and I’m not talking about saving up just enough for a backpacking trip around Ireland the summer after you graduate. You need to be able to fund all of your expensive adventures and brunches for the next 30-50 years!
Even stopping here is short sighted. Being able to fund bottomless mimosas and nailing that Instagram pic from on top of an elephant in Thailand doesn’t mean that you’re going to be able to pay for your medical bills from that failing liver or screen glazed eyes years down the road.
Full disclosure on this one, I do go to brunch every Sunday, I love bottomless mimosas, and I can’t wait to take my first elephant selfie. I do these things and plan to do more, but I also appropriately plan to fit this into a responsible budget.
“Sure, let’s not have brunch…like animals.” -Ingrid de Forest, Parks and Recreation
2. Futility Theory
Can you blame a 26 year old waiter/tress with 40k in student loans and an art history degree for convincing themselves money really doesn’t matter? Everyone wants to feel good about the life that they’re living.
If someone feels as though they will never climb the corporate ladder into a good job to make money, then they aren’t going to pin their happiness on making money. We often tell ourselves “things worked out for the best” in order to cope with reality.
You see examples of millennials giving up on making money and focusing on avoiding expensive debt all over the place. Does anyone really want to live in a tiny house? Hell no, they just do it because they don’t think they could ever make enough money to afford a real house without going even more into debt.
3. Perception Theory
Millennials love to be special more than anything. The “everyone is a celebrity” culture really pushes the notion that whatever the hipster trend of the day happens to be is what you should focus on.
Money builds compound interest over the years, month long backpacking trips don’t.
I can’t count the number of articles about encouraging millennials to quit their jobs and go backpacking in the European countryside instead of a “shallow pursuit of money”. They probably don’t understand one simple thing. Money builds compound interest over the years, month long backpacking trips don’t. The money saved now will go much further towards funding your nest egg or paying off debt.
Life is about balance. If your focus is on financial security, then in your early years you need to focus on paying off debt, maximizing income, and fitting in your experiences around that. With some creativity you could even mix these. No one is stopping you from creating the next Angry Birds or enthralling blog from a mountain in Japan.
4. Conspiracy Theory
Allow me to go a little Alex Jones on this for a minute.
Who really wants millennials to not care about money? Lowering wages in one way or another goes straight to benefiting The New World Order and their harem of corporate slaves. If people don’t care about what their paid it’s easier to pay them less, increase the debt they take on, and control their lives.
Is it likely? No. Is it possible, still probably no. Did I just need an extra point, maybe, but I’m just asking questions.
The idea that millennials don’t care about money is a combination of millennials not understanding the long term impacts of their financial apathy, “experts” taking millennials words and actions at face value, and a generation that seems to have a very pessimistic view of what they can accomplish.
We live in a time that will be remembered as the renaissance of the United States, driven by Silicon Valley. It’s not easy to “make it” financially, but it’s certainly worth working for. The opportunity is out there.
Are you a millennial that doesn’t care about money? Tell me why I’m wrong in the comments below.