When I read articles like this, I focus on words like “they want.”
And then I look at all the challenges millennials face and I think to myself … hasn’t every generation faced challenges of its own, many far worse than those faced by Millennials.
What they face is life and as far as student loans go, the real focus should be on the fact they got to go to college. What really comes through in this type of article – IMO – is shunning responsibility, entitlement and a shocking inability to anticipate and deal with the ever present vicissitudes of life.
Millennials have come to realize the future is uncertain. Financial markets have followed a similar pattern. Stock and bond prices rose with relative ease in the two decades leading up to the turn of the 21st century, providing a glidepath for baby boomers to invest and see their retirement balances grow uninterrupted for almost 20 years.
The two decades of the new century have been quite different, with two bear markets that approached or exceeded a 50% drawdown, plus another that almost reached 35%. As in life, millennials learned there are no guarantees in the financial markets either. Perhaps it is because of these traumatic events that disrupted early career plans, millennials’ views of the workplace (and their future in it) are unlike those of previous generations. Millennials know what they want and are not afraid to ask for it.
They want a life-work balance. They want their work to be meaningful. They want flexible hours. They want cool workspaces. They want to bring their pets to work. They embrace technology and use it to do their job better and more efficiently.
As millennials try to live by their values, they are still faced with student loan payments, housing/rental costs and other general living expenses. As a result, this group has been slow to start saving for retirement, but they still have a chance to reach their goals if they think long-term and take advantage of the retirement options available to them. Millennials view retirement as a “state of mind.”
Rather than a specific dollar figure, millennials look to retirement as place that provides them flexibility in their lives and allows them to seek out the new experiences this generation craves.