I’m going to let the cat out of the bag…
… I’m a millennial.
I don’t live with my parents…or on my cellphone. I forget to document every single thing I do, and my selfie skills are weak at best.
Does it sound like I fit the bill? ☺
A selfie attempt to get the Jensen gang.
Millennials have a notorious reputation for being lazy, entitled, and non-committal. But they are also the largest living generation today in the U.S., overtaking the baby boomers back in 2016. If you’ve heard the term “millennial” and aren’t sure what we’re referring to, let’s give you a quick overview. The millennial generation encompasses anyone born between 1982 and 2004, according to Neil Howe and William Strauss, authors of the book Generations: The History of America’s Future, 1584 to 2069. They are the demographic that is confusing the heck out of traditional, corporate bosses and completely flipping the conventional sales and marketing paradigms upside down.
Because of this drastic shift in behavioral patterns and tendencies between millennials and previous generations, the race has been on to understand the millennial mindset. Over the past decade, tons of marketing agencies have been putting an exorbitant amount of resources into the studies of millennials. And the results are intriguing. Below are a few stats I found interesting while looking through various reports. I’d be happy to pass the reports along if you’d like.
- 70% of millennials report a desire to visit every continent, versus 48% of non-millennials.
- 75% of millennials use travel apps (Amazon.com, Google Maps, Yelp, Hotels.com, Expedia, Kayak, Orbitz) versus 47% of non-millennials.
- 72% of millennials believe investing in real estate other than their primary residence is a good way to make money.
- 50% consider themselves politically unaffiliated.
- By 2025, millennials will make up 75% of the global workforce.
In addition, millennials are the most educated generation in the U.S., with 61% of adult millennials having attended college compared to 46% of baby boomers. Their biggest problem right now?
And not necessarily the “frivolous credit card” kind of debt. Education debt. Median loan balance for millennials is $25,000, compared to $30,000 for buyers aged 37-51.
College graduation with my Spanish advisor, Wilfredo.
So what does this all mean? Whether you’re a millennial, you have a millennial child, or you’re in the market of serving consumers who surely will be millennials at some point, it’s important to understand what you’re up against.
There are many different ways to interpret how to market or connect with a millennial, but there are two considerations we’re going to focus on today:
Understand that this is a general look at millennials based on research produced today. If you’re reading this as a millennial and don’t know what the heck I’m talking about, you may be an old soul. It’s OK…I am, too.
Work: Studies show millennials have very different values when it comes to their work compared to non-millennials. One such trend is their strong advocacy for work-life balance. Another is their concern with finding happiness and fulfillment at the office compared to workers of past generations (Forbes). Between 86%-88% listed a “positive culture” and “finding their work interesting” as an essential component to their dream job (even their willingness to stomach a 15% pay cut to work for an organization “with values like their own”). Increasing job automation, remote work, and other technological advancements have made job-hopping and geographic freedom a much more common occurrence (think graphic designers, online-only publication journalists, or computer programmers).
Retirement: Companies offering pensions have fallen from 112,000 in 1985 to 23,000 in 2012. Having grown up, gone to school, and began the job search/entered the workforce in the recession, millennials are acutely aware of economic uncertainty. Only 6% expect to receive the kinds of Social Security benefits that today’s retirees enjoy, 50% don’t believe there will be any money remaining in the Social Security system, and 39% think these benefits will be significantly reduced (Pew Research Center).
Wow. For the baby boomers out there, can you imagine not having a pension? Not expecting Social Security? How scary has retirement become?
Every now and again you’ll catch me “in the office!”
Millennials are living a different reality than their predecessors. And as a result, their lifestyle is vastly different. They’re looking for freedom in all aspects of life and, as a result, their behavioral patterns may seem foreign:
- Work freedom in the sense that they aren’t tethered to their chair in a monotonous office job.
- Financial freedom of not being pulled down by the ball & chain of debt.
- Lifestyle freedom to get up and move around as they please.
As a millennial in the international sector, it has been significant to see the increase in global movement of my generation south of the border. Truthfully, it’s no surprise that baby boomers have already been enjoying a much more affordable, relaxing retirement in countries like Belize and Panama. They have been for years and will continue to do so, as they realize their Social Security isn’t going to cut it.
Millennials are similar to baby boomers in the sense that they are trying to cut back on expenses. They look abroad because of the adventure and also because of the affordability.
“The housing market now seems so unaffordable that many millennials
are setting their sights overseas when it comes to buying a property.”
—Stuart Marsh for 9Finance, 2017
Watching an incredible sunset over Secret Beach, Ambergris Caye, with my friends who visited from NY.
In addition to growing numbers of youngsters in Latin America, I’m also seeing the shift in my own circle. My good friend in New Orleans just put her primary house on the market and is looking to buy a rental property in Belize. My New York-born-and-bred cousin expressed to me his genuine concern for his toddler’s future and inquired about generational wealth teak in Nicaragua. My childhood friend is beginning her research of investment property on Ambergris, although first she is in the process of buying a townhouse in Connecticut. My buddy from college just moved to Portugal because he works from his phone and computer. All millennials. And I don’t preach the global lifestyle to them. They understand the reality and are making moves.
The trend is real. And it’s exciting.
Sunset over Contadora Island, Panama.
If you’re a millennial, or know a millennial who is thinking about making moves abroad, feel free to reach out. I’d be happy to chat with you about opportunities and experiences. It’s an exciting world out there and it doesn’t have to be complicated. The best part? You’re in the driver’s seat.
When you have an international mindset and like-minded friends, you can do cool things like fly over the Blue Hole together in Belize! Watch the video and you may notice another familiar Escape Artist face!