Ah, young people. What an intriguing life they’re living.
According to Marketing Charts, millennials account for about 23 percent of the American population -- or about 73 million people. If you’re including 12 to 17 year olds in the definition of “young people,” then that’s roughly 100 million people, or about one-third of the nation.
With one-third of the country being young, there’s plenty of life ahead of America’s millenials, but the road to success and happiness has changed greatly for today’s youth. The Washington Post’s Catherine Rampell wrote a piece this week describing how milestones for millennials are not the same as they were in the past (get married, buy a house, own a dog, those kind of things). Much of that is because of the adjustments youngsters have had to make after the economic downturn to save a couple bucks.
But amid the doom and gloom of a downtrodden economy, there are plenty of things to look forward to for a young person in today’s America. Here are the new milestones for young people.
Getting the newest smartphone
Smartphones are more important than smelling good for young people.
According to The New York Post, millennials favor the smartphone over deodorant. A study cited by The Post found that 93 percent of millennials found their iPhones and Android smartphones to be “very” or “somewhat” important.
So, yeah, young people are clearly caring about smartphones. Buying the next one -- whether it be the new iPhone 6 or any other device -- should be placed in high regard for a young person.
Moving into your parents’ house
First comes college, then comes marriage, then comes a house in the suburbs. Right? Well, not for today’s collective of young people. The Pew Research Center found that 21.6 million people in 2012 were living with their parents as a way to cut back on costs and contribute to their student loan payments.
“Younger millennials (ages 18 to 24) are much more likely than older ones (ages 25 to 31) to be living with their parents -- 56 percent versus 16 percent,” Pew reported.
But don’t think of this as a bad thing. It may actually be a sign that you’re taking responsibility for your finances. You want to save some money and pay back some of your debts.
The first time you rent from a retail store
Young people aren’t even buying their own clothes or items. According to Business Insider, a lot of young people are renting things from retail stories, which has flipped the industry on its head.
“Never mind buying a second home when you can rent a Chateau in France on Airbnb for $200. Why hire a chauffeur when they don’t come with an app that tracks their relative location to yours, like Uber?” Grace Ehler wrote, according to Business Insider. “Even owning the latest album of your favorite band feels a lot less appealing when you can stream it immediately on and offline with a Spotify pro membership, without taking up any space on your hard drive.”
It seems millennials are interested in renting their items, so it may make sense for them to cherish the moment when they first start renting an outfit from one of the many stores out there that allow it.
The first time you give back to the community
Don’t want that extra slice of pizza? Well, there are plenty of people out there who will take it off your hands. LeftoverSwap is just one app that gives young people the chance to give back to their community without breaking the bank.
“You also care about reducing waste, eating locally, and want to build relationships within your community. We also understand those things,” the app’s website said.
Young people may be strapped for cash, but they also believe in helping others.
Getting hitched ... for two years
More than half of the United States is single, according to new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But for the young people who are bucking that trend and getting married, there’s an entirely new type of marriage they want to experience -- the two-year beta marriage.
While there are disadvantages to this kind of marriage, it is something that young people are heavily interested in -- going as far as creating contracts that married couples can sign beforehand for when/if the marriage ends after those two years.
Buying your first car
This seems like a traditional milestone in life, right? Well, it’s a little different for a young person.
Buying a car is a different process for millennials today. According to Auto Trader, young people are less interested in the specific facts of a car and are more intrigued by the image of a vehicle.
“Millennials are image-conscious and aspirational in their preferences but that, as they age, they’re likely to become more practical in their automotive tastes,” according to Auto Trader.
Auto Trader also reported that millennials are waiting longer to buy their first car. So buying it may come later, but anticipation does make things a little better for buyers. New research shows experience matters more than the material possession itself.
Receiving your first credit card
A credit card can be valuable for a young person.
According to Bank Rate, about two-thirds of millennials don’t have a piece of plastic, with 23 percent reporting that they have one card, showing that credit isn’t really that big of a deal for millennials.
But should it be? Writer Erin Lowry of Daily Finance explained that getting a credit card and managing the accounts in a timely manner can increase a person’s credit score and set millennials on the right path for the future.
“Owning and responsibly using a credit is a simple way to build and maintain a strong credit score and report,” Lowry wrote. “And a strong credit score makes your financial life much easier.”
Finishing student debt payments
Millennials plan to pay back their student debt over the next few decades.
NPR reported earlier this year that young adults are watching their debt rise and aren’t too nervous about it, given that they already feel it’s going to take a whopping amount of years to pay it off.
But there are some who have paid off their student loans in a quick amount of time, and they’ve been the better for it. Brian McBride of CNN Money finished paying his $26,500 student loan in two years, and he’s never regretted the financial sacrifices and cutbacks he made to get there.
“It’s been well over a month since I have received a notification from my bank that an automatic payment for a student loan was due,” McBride wrote. “Now that I’m not tied down to any debt, I have the freedom to make decisions I couldn’t before. I can make a purchase without worrying about overdrawing my bank account or falling behind on my bills.”
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