Why don’t millennials invest?


Back to the young and upcoming guys: The Millennials. I have this feeling that we don’t really understand their thought process so let me speak up on their behalf to bridge this “understanding” gap. Certainly helps if you are looking to tailor a product to target them. And if you are wondering why you should? It’s one of the hottest segments now that almost every marketer is looking to target.

My friend Allen does a pretty good job in this area of analysis. He is a millennial and he caters to an audience that consists primarily of millennials (anyone between the age of 18 and 34 in the year 2015). I am pretty sure you folks have seen a video making the rounds on Facebook about how millennials are just a bunch of entitled folks. It is quite easy to see why millennials are perceived that way. Allow me to elaborate. But for this to work, first remove all your biases and think like a young person again (yes, coming from me).

Now throwing in all millennials under one blanket would be simplified generalisation. I am not saying that every millennial wants the same things or lives the same way but there are characteristics traits of this generation that are quite easy to see. They are a generation that grew with the influx of the internet and evolution of mobile technology. They expect people to keep their word. They expect our employers to be true to their mission statement. They would like flexibility in work hours because when the need of the hour arises, we will stretch shifts. They want breaks and vacations because when we are at work, they are absolutely committed to getting the job done. Flipping that around to make them sound like they think of ourselves as royalty, couldn’t be further away from the truth.

Owning a house or buying a car used to be a measure of achievement, but not to the millennials. Research has proven that millennials prefer renting to ownership. Mobility is key to them. They would like to live someplace central and also close to work. And for that, some of them will continue to rent a house.

On the other hand the millennials own a car, sure, which they bought when they were adhering to societal norms of success. And the reason for this is simple. they would rather invest my money on experiences than ownership. There always is an Uber if the millennials wanted to get someplace in a car. As for the house, millennials wonder where they will be 2 year from now. The last thing they want is a structure tying me down or giving me anxiety of who will they rent it out to and how will it be maintained. The concept of ownership is no longer significant.

And then you see every single person bitten by the travel bug. Everybody has #wanderlust on their Tinder and Instagram bios. But there is a logic to it. The more you travel, the wider your horizon of thinking, the more the diverse experiences you collect, the more stories you have to tell and the more happier you are. It has been proven (through research of course) that travel and collecting experiences leave you with a lot more joy than material possessions.

Because possessions age and you lose interest in that new iPhone or Yeezy sneakers as soon as the next one is out. But your vacations, you treasure forever. And these experiences make you a happier, well-rounded individual. Your life feels fuller, your perspectives are not narrow. Millennials value time spent with their friends and family, experiencing things although it may not be typical of earlier generations.

Maybe a part of this behaviour came about from the fact that millennials took student loans to complete their education. But you see how that impacts you and you no longer want to have financial burdens to worry about.

Flexibility is also key so if you were a millennial and if you wanna quit and do something on your own, the last thing you need is the worry of a car instalment or a property mortgage. At the end of the day, your car can always be stolen/damaged and your house can always deteriorate/be burgled. But those experiences and learning will always stay and keep enriching your life.

Another point about millennials people throw about is how they are entitled. It is a misnomer. Millennials don’t think that they are entitled, they just expect everything to work like it is supposed to and at the right time. Put in X amount of effort and expect X amount of reward. Order a pizza and expect it to come piping hot.  That is not entitlement, that is expecting things to work like they are supposed to. So companies have to meet their needs. You simply can’t tell a millennial customer that “I never wanna hear you say that I want it that way”. It’s their way because they’re the customer.

Don’t alienate or generalize these guys. They grew up in a different generation and hence the viewpoint is vastly different. Seek to understand instead. Or you might end up to be a dinosaur.

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  1. Interesting. I’m not sure about that last part though. Aren’t they an employee at a job, not a customer expecting something more than a paycheck from a job? They provide a service and the job pays them. I’ll have to think about it more.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well mindsets have changed… Career development and growth and runway were also some reasons tossed up as requirements to keep them engaged in a job. Guess it’s not really the paycheck solely that excites millennials at the moment.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderful post with lots of great analysis and insight. For any millennials trying to navigate their way around the investing world, feel free to check out our blog “iStartinvesting.” It’s a brand new page with lots of potential and different ways to take the blog!


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