Move over, Generation X. Millennials - or Gen Y, as some would have it - are the most misunderstood generation to date. Born between 1980 and the turn of the millenium (though the exact birth years are a matter of pedantic controversy), millennials have the reputation of sipping a latte at your local Starbucks while working remotely on the latest MacBook Pro.
However, this image is all part of a wider misunderstanding of the first generation raised as part of a changed world of advanced communication and leaps in technology. Millennials are flawed, sure. And yes, perhaps they should put their smartphones down a little more often. However, that doesn't mean all they're worried about is the latest beard style or "eco-friendly" vegan diet. Millennials are misunderstood; here are just a few reasons why.
Millennials May Not Retire. Ever.
Millennials are often accused of living for today and not thinking about tomorrow. But many people don't realize that the purchase of that latest smartphone may just be a soothing mechanism for a very uncomfortable truth: millennials may never be able to retire.
Baby Boomers and their retirements are a justifiable cause of jealousy. Many have bought a second home, most can live comfortably off their retirement packages. Millennials, on the other hand, experienced the worst recession in living memory and as a result have crippling debt and little savings. Those that do save have terrible company plans available to them. Millennials will be lucky to reap the rewards of their labor by age 67, if at all.
Do Millennials Believe in Love?
Tinder has exposed (or perhaps even encouraged and defined) a millennial's view on dating, marriage, and love. Millennials are seen to date casually and, to be honest, this point can't really be argued against. The truth is that this generation just doesn't put a ring on it as often as Baby Boomers.
But is the fact that Millennials don't seem to be tying the knot at the same rate a bad thing? Or does it just mean that marriage for the sake of it just isn't worth it. We've all seen examples of unhappy marriages slogging along for financial reasons or "for the children". Millennials don't seem to want to do that, with divorce rates being far lower compared to the supposedly more moral Baby Boomers.
Social Media Drives a Millennial's Self Esteem (and their Spending Habits)
Yes, millennials seem to be more in tune with what's important when it comes to making a lifelong commitment in the form of marriage. However, that doesn't mean they're always better than their elders. In fact, while Baby Boomers often don't even have an Instagram account, Millennials often use it as the guiding light for their own lives.
On the other hand, Millennials seem to know about it. According to a recent study, 63% claim they would be happy if social media disappeared tomorrow. 71% admit to having had a complete break from social media at some point in the recent past. This is all because of the gripping power social media has over its users. It not only often leads to depression and jealousy, many users even let it guide their financial decisions. Companies are even coming up with solutions to help the average millennial from inadvertently spending all of their savings based on trends set by the latest influencer.
So yes, while Millennials are victims to the modern infomercial by the latest Instagram influencer, it doesn't mean they don't know about it or aren't actively trying to fight against it. The backlash is real.
Don't Judge a Millennial by his Latte
Millennials are unfair victims of their circumstance. Yes, monstrosities such as reality TV and apps such as Snapchat don't do much to help a millennial's reputation, yet it's nevertheless true that Baby Boomers had it a little different. While that trendy haircut and upturned chinos may suggest an individual driven by appearances and the number of Likes rather than friends, harbored underneath is someone seriously worried about the future.