What Boomers Can Learn from Millennials About Living Well on a Budget
We Boomers boomed. We had our day, dictating styles, trends, music, food. And debt.
In keeping with my series on living like a millionaire on a retirement budget, I want to share the techniques I’ve learned from my Millennial kids and their friends about living well when you don’t have money.
Retired or Starting Out Means: Budgeting
Whilst we Boomers have ended or are in the closing years of our careers, Millennials are at the beginning of their work life.
We need to budget our retirement, and they don’t have money as they navigate a challenging economy and a changing workplace. But we have one important thing in common: we all want to live well.
New Ways to Live and Work
Millennials have had to create new lifestyles and new attitudes toward working and earning money. Their financial distress is responsible for the creation of many innovative solutions we Boomers now use and enjoy. Also, the anti-consumerist movement can be traced to Millennials.
I know I speak in generalities, but bear with me as we review how Millennials have responded to reduced circumstances in their search for high quality living.
Millennials Are Allergic to Loans
They are suffering under the burden of paying off their college loans. They don’t want the responsibility of another loan. Being loan-averse affects many aspects of their lives.
Don’t Charge It
Millennials don’t like credit cards. Why charge something if you don’t have the money to pay for it? Sounds logical, right?
It’s not the Millennials who have an average of $15,000 in credit card debt in the U.S. – it’s Boomers and others. My kids use credit cards only for serious emergencies, or if they can pay off their purchase in full at the end of the month.
The Ride Sharing Economy
The auto industry is in a tiff because many Millennials don’t want to own cars or they can’t afford them. They don’t want a car loan and they can’t afford the maintenance, the gas, the insurance, and the parking.
How did they solve this situation? They created the brilliant concept of ride sharing. Enter Uber, Lyft and other ride sharing services we love to use for their technological ease and economy. That, in turn, gave birth to car sharing.
Enter Zip Car, RelayRide and Car2Go and other car sharing services. Or, Millennials will buy a car together and share use and expenses. The Millennials’ love of bicycles gave rise to the phenomenon of rentable bikes in cities around the world.
Millennials Pare Down Monthly Home Expenses
Go into any Millennial home and chances are there’s no landline and probably no cable box. Companies have bundled their services into packages that can cost $200-300 per month! There probably isn’t even a TV.
Millennials use their cell phone as their lifeline – not only for calls, but for everything. They watch movies and get their news on their laptop. If they do buy a Smart TV, they hook it up to the internet and watch things selectively online.
If they want to watch a big sporting event or the Oscars, they go to a bar with a big screen.
Millennials Don’t Buy, They Rent
Money isn’t cheap like it used to be before the real estate bust of 2008. Mortgages are not easy to come by, and most often, Millennials simply don’t have the chunk of change for a down payment.
Another reason Millennials rent is because they don’t want the responsibility, upkeep and expense of owning a home. They want ease and mobility. Sounds kind of like what I want at my age!
Millennials Don’t Want a Lot of Stuff
Because they rent, or because they may have to move for a job, they don’t want to be carting around a lot of stuff. They also don’t buy new stuff. And they certainly don’t want our stuff!
They make use of Craig’s List where they find excellent deals for a fraction of the price. They buy what they need not what they want, and they live simply. That’s my new lifestyle too.
Millennials Don’t Stay in Hotels
Like everyone, Millennials want to travel, but they can’t afford hotels. So what happened as a result? Airbnb was born. When Airbnb first began, it meant getting a couch in someone’s living room in a strange city.
It’s now evolved into a terrific service with offerings from frugal to luxury. VRBO and many house exchange services were born. Now, we all want to get more for our money and be comfortable, too.
Millennials Are Resourceful Entrepreneurs
If you’re a retired or about-to-retire Boomer, you know the workplace has totally morphed into something ‘new.’ Job hunting is a whole different ball game, and corporate life has new style strife and stresses we couldn’t have imagined.
Millennials are not so inclined to rush into corporate life. If they can’t find a job, they start a business. Millennials would prefer to be their own boss anyway. Hence, the concept of the co-working module of office space was invented. The digital nomad life began.
Millennials start businesses online because that’s where the business is. And if they do start a bricks and mortar business, their business model is more oriented towards a nice workplace.
They want lifestyle perks, like free coffee, ping pong table, weekly happy hour, dog friendly workspace, flex hours. Quality of life is very important to Millennials in a different way than it was for Boomers.
Millennials Let the Internet Enhance Their Lives in Every Way
Millennials don’t buy a dictionary – they go online to look up the meaning of a word. They don’t make an expensive long distance phone call – they use What’s App and Facebook Messenger for live video calling. They don’t buy a cookbook – they get the recipe online.
They don’t go to expensive movies in a theatre – they watch the much cheaper Netflix, or stream movies free from YouTube. They don’t buy CDs and CD players – they stream music online. They don’t buy a camera – they use their mobiles. They let the Internet find them cheap(er) airfares and last minute deals.
We’re all on a budget no matter what stage of life we’re in. Having a nice lifestyle whilst on a budget requires some fierce, innovative thinking. We can thank Millennials for many of the things we now enjoy.
What things have you learned from the Millennials in your life? Are you enjoying living a simpler life and feeling all the richer for it? Please share your thoughts on the topic and let’s have a chat!
Elizabeth Dunkel is a writer and novelist who has lived in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico for 25 years. She is the Creative Director of Camp Liza www.campliza.com, a personal blog about stylish and creative living. “A thoughtful life is a luxe life.” Elizabeth is the proud founder of the Merida English Library. She discovered a second career as a CELTA certified teacher of ESL and is Merida’s first, only and best college coach www.superenglishmerida.com.