I’m sure you’re tired of it because I am too.
By ‘it’, I mean everyone always having something to say about millennials.
‘Millennials are too sensitive”, “millennials don’t work hard”, ‘millennials have no ambition”, “millennials don’t save.”
You name it we’ve heard it.
Unlike our baby boomer parents, as millennials we are experiencing a completely different economic atmosphere than previous generations. Millennials are considered to be the most educated generation in history but why is it that we’re on track to less prosperity and financial security than our parents?
Well, life was vastly different back then compared to now. Today, millennials are operating in a significantly more competitive market than our predecessors. With increased access to education, information and decreased access to resources, millennials have to work much harder to access the same prosperity as their parents.
While this might be a more complex conversation about economics, technology and generational cultures, we’re gonna keep it simple today and talk about how some aspects of millennial culture, such as peer pressure is causing millennials to lose money.
Since its launch in 2010, Instagram has gained o ver 1 billion users worldwide. Facebook launched in 2005 and since then has acquired over 1.69 billion users. The social platforms that allow users to share aspects of their lives in as much or as little as they want. However, with sharing also comes comparison.
In a 2019 survey done by Allianz Life Insurance, 57% of millennials reported making unplanned purchases because of what they saw on social media. Which is not a farfetched statistic. If I’m sharing photos of my fancy life, my big car and all my international vacations to people who maybe may not have nearly as much, this is bound to cause a lot of social and financial comparison. This kind of comparison can incite feelings of inadequacy, self-questioning and failure.
It’s important to remember that financial comparison can also mean financial ruin. Just because someone else can afford it and is sharing it doesn’t mean that you can and you should.
With the rise of social media, social and financial comparisons have been intensely heightened which means that demographics growing up in this time, aka, millennials are confronted with financial peer pressure much more intimately and frequently than previous generations.
Seeing how people spend versus how they save
One unique thing about social media is you see what people want you to see.
From a financial perspective, what you see is how people spend, not how people save.
When you see your friend going on multiple vacations, always dressed in the best clothes and always eating at the nicest restaurants, it’s important to remember that you’re not seeing what’s in their account. All you’re seeing is what’s being taken out of the account in the form of a ‘lifestyle’.
How many posts on social media do you see about how big someone’s savings account is vs. how many posts do you about how food, fun and travel?
Unlike previous generations, millennials are able to see how their age mates use and spend money much more than their parents did. While this could be considered beneficial in some instances, curated narratives on social media can also skew millennials’ idea of how they should be spending their money? Or influence where they should be financially?
From a financial viewpoint, as we flip through our various social media platforms it’s important to remember that what we see isn’t the full picture and shouldn’t necessarily dictate how we use or don’t use our money.