There’s lots of talk about millennials lately. In fact, a few weeks ago CBC shared an article on How a 30-something Couple Got Rich and Retired by not Joining the Home Ownership Cult. It featured a young couple (in their 30’s of course) who were computer engineers and amassed a million dollar investing portfolio by renting instead of buying- They were able to retire in their early 30’s and travel the world. They have a website called the Millennial Revolution. Their logo is a raised fist, which gives me a bit of a funny feeling and reminds me of communism, but who am I to judge, we have a green apple as a logo for Young and Thrifty haha. Their post generated tons of comments from the Interwebs, including lots of controversy and haters drinking haterade. Perhaps it is jealousy or people getting angry that they are not following the social norms of buying a house and attaching yourself to a lifelong commitment such as 25 or even 35 year mortgage debt.
People just like to hate millennials.
Who are the Millennials?
Millennials, also known as Generation Y, are between Generation Z and Generation X. Confused yet? Who’s Generation A and B?
Well, Millennials are born in the 1980’s and are argued to be considered Generation Z after 1994, according to Wikipedia. I am considered an older millennial. We have some specific generalizations or stereotypes (as do other generations). We have the memories of growing up without the Internet and also got to see the power of the Internet and technology boom, such as signing up for Facebook when it first came out, or using dial up Internet and urging your parents to get two phone lines so that you can go on the Internet.
Millennials may be ‘generally’ considered:
- Me, me, me oriented
- Efficient but Lazy
- Open minded
- Trophy Kids- Apparently we were given too many trophies for Sports Day for not really accomplishing anything except for participating
- Can’t stay in one job
Of course, we, like other generations, have our pros and cons.
Apparently in April, we overtook the Baby Boomers as America’s largest generation. So I guess millennials are really in the lime light, now!
Financial Independence and Retirement
I think the word “retirement” is a word that has lots of association and lots of meaning behind it. When most people think of retirement, people think of no work, lounging, relaxing, and traveling around the world on cruises. I think for the millennial generation, retirement has a different meaning. For millennials, retirement is more financial independence and can even be associated with entrepreneurial work (though most people don’t think of it like that).
Millennials Redefine Retirement
[clickToTweet tweet=”Millennials are redefining retirement.” quote=”Millennials are redefining retirement.”] I think that it would get less people’s backs up and create less haterade generation if it was renamed “financial independence”. Being able to do what you want to do when you want to do it, and not being tied down by a 9-5 job. Even with passive income from investments or real estate, many ‘retired’ people who are not the typical 65 year old, have other ways to earn money, whether it be writing children’s books, or freelancing, like the Millennial Revolution couple.
Millennials Rejecting Conformity with Social Norms
Although the Millennial Revolution couple says that you should just rent to be able to retire, personally I don’t necessarily think that renting is the best answer to be able to retire early. I think that the answer to rent versus buy really depends on your situation. For example, if you really can’t afford something and you’re really outstretched in order to pay for a massive mortgage, that’s not going to out well for you even if you make $500,000 annually.
I think being able to save and invest is essential and one of the commonalities between Sean Cooper and the couple from Millennial revolution was their high savings rate and spending less than they earned (whether that be funnelled into investments or into paying off the mortgage) and ability to reject the norm and conformity of buying a car (a depreciating asset) and placating their low mood with material goods. It involved sacrifice, and that takes a lot of effort and intention, something that many of us going through the ‘daily grind’ (our lifestyle has already been designed) don’t often have, because we are too exhausted at the end of the day to plan our future and really understand what we want out of life to live life with a purpose. When you think of life being fragile and finite (as discussed by Seneca and shared by Tim Ferris on the Four Hour Work Week, you really start to examine what is important to you.
Readers, what do you think about millennials and rejecting conformity?