Maybe Millennials Are Not That Bad After All by Brian Califano

We all know they get a bad rap. Millennials expect things to come easily; they want everything for free; they don’t want to buy homes or cars; they don’t want to get married. So yeah, millennials appear culturally different from previous generations.

However, when you take a closer look, there is a really interesting economic picture behind the scenes that uniquely impacts the millennials — unlike any other generation prior. Perhaps this seemingly erratic behavior is rooted in the economic challenges that they face.

Let’s look at the numbers:

  1. For starters, millennials are carrying over a trillion dollars of student loan debt according to the US Census bureau.
  2. 63% of millennials have more than 10,000 in student debt, over half of millennials carry balances on their credit cards every month, and over 50% are concerned about defaulting on a loan in the next 12 months (
  3. Moreover, 50% of millennials (a) do not have a retirement account and (b) say they live paycheck to paycheck.

So what does all that mean?

Looking behind the curtain can shed some light on behavior. Perhaps the millennial generation is not buying cars or starting families because they simply cannot afford to! Debt can have a huge impact on consumer behavior. It’s important that this is heavily considered before we judge this generation.

Implications for Businesses

Before shrugging off the millennials as an irresponsible generation, it is important to widen the scope of reference. Don’t be so quick to judge without knowing the facts. All considerations should be weighed equally before coming to a conclusion — both from a marketing and a hiring perspective.

On a broader scale, don’t seek facts that only support your opinions or viewpoint. Sometimes, when we don’t understand why a certain market trend or positive/negative impact occurs, it’s quick to take preconceived thoughts and validate them through a narrow lens. It’s important as a business owner/leader to analytically look at a situation and weigh all facts from multiple perspectives in order to fully evaluate a situation without emotion or prejudice.

Take-away: If you have a business that is marketing to millennials, examine pricing structures in the context of decreased discretionary income due to the burden of debt. When hiring millennials it is helpful to understand their needs form an economic perspective in order to recruit successfully. The strongest leaders take an impartial and analytical look at a situation before embarking on strategic steps that impact their business.

Brian Califano & Scott MargolinBrian Califano

Scott Margolin

Co-founders & Managing Partners


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