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Millennials Are Broke And In Debt - Except When They Aren’t

Oh, another headline bashing entitled, debt-ridden Millennials. How original. The thing is, this isn’t one of those articles, and though we are loathe to paint the diverse Millennial generation with one brush, there is a lot to be optimistic about when it comes to the world’s youngest working generation.

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There is something to be said for Millennials and debt. Many of us have it, either through school loans, credit, medical bills, mortgages, and whatever else. Study after study has proven that Millennials have less money than their parents did, at the same age. But this doesn’t mean that this generation will always be playing catch up.

There are a number of factors which actually advantage Millennials when it comes to future financial success, and most of them have something to do with coming up in an economy that is less than advantageous.

Millennials were born between 1985 and 2000, giving them all a front row seat for the global financial crisis of 2007 and 2008. While this was a terrible time to enter the job market for student loan-laden college grads, the difficulties of this era have caused many Millennials to think differently about money than their parents.

Millennials and Financial Independence

Despite progressive leanings and stereotypes of college grads living in parents’ basements, Millennials are surprisingly independent-minded when it comes to finances. A recent Bankrate survey found that Millennials feel that people should be financially independent from their parents earlier than Generation X and the Baby Boomers do. It may seem to contradict common knowledge, but Millennials actually advocate for pulling their own weight more than their parents do.

Millennials also display more financial sophistication than their parents did at the same age. This is partly due to financial survival instincts, which Millennials had to learn in order to avoid debt and build wealth. For this reason, this generation avoids credit more than any other adult generation, and many are vocally in favor of saving, home buying, and investment.

This brings us to another aspect of financial independence. There is a segment of the Millennial population who are saving and investing at a degree not seen in the young people of previous generations. Equity through homeownership, investment in stocks and funds, rental properties, frugality, and extreme savings rates are starting to typify a certain segment of the Millennial financial conversation.

This is partly due to the same technological advancements that have improved the lives of all generations. Twenty years ago, the barriers to entry for investors were much higher than they are today. Index funds and ETFs were not yet common. Today, a Millennial can invest on her phone, while her father would have had to phone up a broker, pay high fees, and do a lot of waiting for the same transaction to complete just ten or fifteen years ago.

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