Millennials have come of age. The oldest of them will turn 40 this year, and that means they’re the ones in charge at the moment, while the Baby Boomers are approaching retirement. The Millennial generation is certainly doing some things differently from not just the Boomers but also the generations that came before them.
Let’s discuss the many ways that Millennials are diverging from previous norms.
Not as Many of Them Are Buying Houses
There are some things that Americans once took for granted. Buying a house was one of them. It seems as though a much higher percentage of Baby Boomers could afford a home at some point than Millennials are able to.
In certain situations, a Millennial might get a deer-in-the-headlights look. Many of them may not know what post-accident statements to tell an insurance company, while others won’t know the first thing about house hunting. Millennials might feel like they don’t need to know how to buy a home because they will never be able to.
Banks are reluctant to give the average Millennial a mortgage because they don’t feel like they’re making enough money at their job to justify the risk. Meanwhile, the Millennial does not make enough money to make a down payment on a home. Scraping together ten thousand dollars isn’t going to do much when a house costs $350,000.
That’s disillusioning, but most Millennials have resigned themselves to apartment living. The only way some of them might ever buy a home is if their Baby Boomer parents die eventually and leave them money in their wills.
Not As Many Are Getting Married
Fewer Millennials are marrying each other as well. That number keeps going further and further down with each passing year.
The biggest reason seems to be that most Millennials don’t think marriage matters as much as it did in the past. These days, it is much more permissible to live with someone and raise a family without marrying them.
In a bygone era, such an action would have been unthinkable. Imagine the scandal if you were “living in sin” with someone, and you had children with them out of wedlock. Society considered such children to be outcasts, and their peers would often ridicule these kids.
Some of that still goes on in more traditional or old-fashioned families, but for the most part, that way of thinking is dying out. The main reason why some Millennial couples choose to marry each other is either because they feel like they can get some wedding gifts out of the whole deal, or else for the tax benefits.
Not As Many Are Having Children
Fewer Millennials are having children than the previous generations did as well. These days, it is not that uncommon for a man to have a vasectomy when he marries. The woman might also be the one to decide she wants to take action to make sure she never has children.
Different Millennials have their reasons for making this choice, but in many instances, these individuals simply don’t want the pressure and responsibility that goes along with being a parent. Many Millennials express some variation of the theme that they can barely take care of themselves, let alone a living, breathing, miniature human being.
The species isn’t exactly in danger of dying out, though. There are still plenty of Millennials who have children. It is just becoming more permissible to say to enquiring parents that they’re not going to become grandparents anytime soon, or perhaps not ever.
They Describe Every Aspect of Their Lives on Social Media
In the past, social media didn’t exist, which meant that it was much harder to keep up with what people were doing. If Baby Boomers and the generations before them wanted a family member update, they would either have to write letters or call them on the phone.
The internet’s advent brought about emailing, and then social media hit the scene. The Millennials are the first generation who feel like it’s normal and natural to keep a constant, running update on what’s happening in their lives.
In the era when Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat, Pinterest, and dozens of other social media forums exist, you can find out all about what a person is up to just by following them on the platform of their choice. It’s true there are some Millennials who shun social media, but the vast majority embrace it.
Their kids are growing up in the same world, where social media is everywhere, and everyone is a star. That’s also why Millennials are the first generation to experience nonstop online trolling. It’s certainly debatable whether social media has helped the world or hindered it.
They Are More Cynical
It also does seem to be true that Millennials exhibit more cynicism than some of the other generations who came before them. Millennials understand that privatized healthcare in this country often means they’re buried in medical bills that they can’t easily pay with the coverage they have. They know they’re not likely to be able to afford to buy their own homes, and many of them don’t much like that aspect of modern living.
Some feel like politicians don’t represent them as well as they would like, as they bow to special interests more time than not. Most Millennials also look with growing horror at the environmental changes that are getting harder and harder to deny.
The pandemic didn’t exactly help matters. It leaves a mental health crisis in its wake, and Millennials comprise much of the struggling group. Many of them are on anti-anxiety and depression medication, in much higher numbers than previous generations.
In short, Millennials are trying to forge their own way, and it’s not the easiest thing in the world for most of them. As they get older and Gen Z comes into prominence behind them, it will be interesting to see how content Millennials become with their place in the world.