In April 2016, the millennial generation surpassed the baby boomers as the largest generation in the United States, according to research from Pew. With the rise of every new generation, it’s important to know how young people’s perceptions differ from previous generations. The size and notable differences of the millennials, defined as those between the ages of 18 and 34 in 2015, makes this especially true.
For example, millennials are an educated generation. The Independent Journal Review reports one in four millennials are enrolled full time at either a college or university and six out of 10 already have a bachelor’s degree. They are also technologically immersed. Case in point, 49% of millennials use their smartphone to bank, according to Facebook research.
With this CreditUnions.com blog, “My Generation,” I hope to offer a sliver of insight into what and why millennials think and act the way they do. And, hopefully, you’ll discover something that resonates with a problem you’re trying to solve at your credit union.
American millennials are as diverse as the nation they inhabit. Myself, I am a 20-year-old senior at the University of South Carolina with a major in history and a minor in print journalism. I write for the opinion section of the Daily Gamecock student newspaper, where I also am involved with the copy desk.
My family and I moved down south to Myrtle Beach, SC, approximately five years ago. I’m interested in politics, and in my “spare” time, I enjoy playing guitar, having a good day at the shooting range, or relaxing on a quiet hunting trip. And I’m never far away from my better half, Alexandra.
All my personal financial experience stems from my parents. Starting at age 10, when I was able to grasp what a budget was, my dad had me sit with him as he paid bills. We covered things such as financial planning, how to effectively budget, and a lot about investing money.
I got my first credit card when I was 16. My parents know the value of good credit — their FICO scores exceed 800 — so they got me started early. Without a solid financial foundation, I wouldn’t have the opportunities now afforded to me.
After my freshman year in college, my parents and I discussed homeownership and decided investing in a house was a smarter financial decision than spending money on college dorm living. So, my dad took out a $100,000 home equity line of credit and bought the house I live in today. When I graduate, I will take out a mortgage and pay off my parents.
So that’s a bit about me. I don’t pretend to represent the entirety of my generation. That's why, in addition to offering my perspective on issues that affect my daily life, I’ll be looking to my peers to offer a different take on financial services.
As my journalism instructor, Doug Fisher, often says, “Don’t tell me what most people think. You have no idea what ‘most’ people think. You have to ask them.”
I’ll be doing a lot of research to educate myself about this industry I am newly exploring. I’m looking forward to the next few months, and I hope to see you along for the ride.
If you have a topic you want me to write about, leave a comment below or email me.
Mark Manicone writes the My Generation blog for CreditUnions.com. He is a student at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC. Contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.