Millennials Are Poised to Be the Wealthiest Generation Yet: Here’s Why

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If you take a look around, there are some mixed reviews of Millennial financial habits all over the web. Some studies suggest that Millennials aren’t saving a dime, while others counter that Millennials are getting surprisingly good at saving.

Personally, I’m sick of hearing my generation (Millennials, or “Gen Y-ers”) get bashed for our lousy money habits. These naysayers are unable to see our accomplishments and potential as a generation, and that we may actually be ahead of the curve as far as money matters are concerned.

Despite the challenges that uniquely devastated Millennial personal finance and entry into the workplace, it’s my expectation that we are poised to be a powerhouse generation in terms of wealth creation over the long-term.

I believe in my generation because I believe that we have three distinct advantages over prior generations that are conducive to long-term wealth accumulation:

  1. A relatively powerful incentive to accumulate wealth rapidly
  2. A thorough, painful, but early financial education
  3. An instinctive grasp of 21st century business technology

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Advantage #1: The Millennial Incentive

I believe that the single most important value for Millennials like myself is freedom — specifically, freedom with respect to when, how, and how much to work.

Millennials aren’t interested in the corporate life. In fact, I’d venture to say that a lot of us aren’t interested in “getting rich” or “climbing the corporate ladder,” as was the dream of many in the previous generation. Instead, we want to focus on wishy-washy, lazy, entitled life. We call it “work-life balance.”


We value our time far more than our money. We want to experience life. That’s reflected in the changing job market, and in our earnings as a generation. Yes, money is obviously still the most important decision to us as a generation in terms of where to work, but flexibility is a close second place. Close enough where a $5,000 salary difference won’t quite cut it for that company that offers just two weeks’ vacation.

Any personal finance nerd will tell you that it’s never about the money. It’s about the freedom. It’s about F.U. Money. Millennials desperately want that freedom, and because that desire is bred so strongly in us as a generation, we have the mindset requisite of great investors.

We don’t want that money for spending on fancy new cars or big new houses; we want it so that we can experience a sunny summer Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. in the afternoon lounging in the park, not in some dusty cubicle cranking out spreadsheets. That’s what we’ll purchase. The cost of that isn’t an expense, it’s in fewer hours worked and resulting lower wages — what we finance nerds call opportunity cost.

Related: Not Too Late: A 20-Something’s Plea to Generation Yers for Financial Change

Previous generations were content and even eager to work the same job for a 40-year career, getting up at 8 a.m. every day and returning home at 5:00 so as to earn the maximum salary possible. Millennials won’t put up with that. Not for 40 years. Not when the opportunities and experiences available to us grow exponentially with each passing year and new technological advance.

I refuse to submit to that fate. I’m afraid of that fate; I think that it’s where dreams go to die. That fate didn’t and doesn’t sound so bad to our parents or the Gen Xers who directly preceded us. But it terrifies and motivates us Millennials.

One of the few ways to lay that fear to rest is by taking control of our finances through the accumulation of personal wealth and passive cash flow. There’s a reason why books like Rich Dad, Poor DadThe 4-Hour Workweek, etc. have exploded in popularity over the last decade. There’s a reason why BiggerPockets has grown so quickly.

We are doing our damndest as a generation to escape the cubicle fate. We want to bury the possibility of the cubicle forever, sustainably, by accumulating enough assets so as to never have to work again. That’s the ultimate reason to build wealth, and that’s the value that is so incredibly important to Millennials — far more so than it was to prior generations.

Advantage #2: The Millennial Education

We Millennials have the distinct “advantage” of entering the workforce in the worst economic circumstances this country has seen since the Great Depression.

To top that off, the single largest financial burden for many Millennials is their student debt. These immense personal debts, with no tangible assets to back them up, force Millennials to set aside vast portions of their paychecks towards loan repayment. The media shallowly ignores this burden with phrases like “Millennials aren’t saving a dime.” That’s atrocious commentary in my opinion.

Many of my peers signed up for their $100,000 in student loan debt at the ripe old age of 17 or 18. I’m sure we can all agree that that’s the right age to take out a loan in that amount, and that they were fully educated with years of study on the financial consequences of that decision…

In spite of being (in my opinion) shamefully taken advantage of by the American collegiate education system, my now 20-something peers are paying down their debts by behaving well financially. Folks are setting aside large chunks of their income towards debt reduction, and they are accomplishing the amazing transition from negative net worth to zero net worth. That’s far more of an achievement than starting from zero and accumulating wealth having started in the black.

With their loans paid down, America will suddenly find a large group of educated Millennials who already prioritize freedom and who have just recovered from a decade long struggle with crippling debt. Guess who’s unlikely to go take out a $30,000 car loan, or buy the fancy house on the hill for $1 million? Guess who never, ever wants to be in that position again? And guess who has developed a healthy decade long habit of setting aside large chunks of income to build net worth (in the form of debt payments)?


Millennials learned painful financial lessons back to back to back. The Financial Crisis. Student Debt. The Great Recession. But we learned those lessons early. We learned them in our 20s, unlike prior generations whose most painful lesson was the tech bubble in the early 2000s, a far less serious slap on the wrist than the more important crash of the late 2000s through the present. We’ve got plenty of time to pay down our debts, to remember how horrible bad debt truly is, and we are prepared for the worst economically; it’s all we’ve ever known.

Advantage #3: The Millennial Business Economy

I have almost no memory of a world without internet. That’s unique to my generation in today’s business world. Financial and business concepts that seem normal to the previous generations are laughably antiquated to Millennials.

I travel via Uber, schedule appointments online, exchange money instantly via my cell phone, learn about any topic that I’m interested in instantly and for free, and I communicate accurately, efficiently, and deeply with my peers through photos, text messages, and other mobile applications.

I don’t read maps, look up words in a dictionary, change my own oil, sew, or drive a stick shift. Some people call this a “struggle with life skills 101,” but I truly couldn’t care less what they think. I see those skills as just as outdated as tending the horses, plowing a field, or hunting game. I’ll keep acing “21st Century 101,” thanks.

The world is changing, and for me, that’s the standard. It’s obvious that mobile banking has already won, but yesterday’s generation just can’t keep up quite as fast as we can. Many older folks are unaware of the ability to instantly pay others via apps like Venmo. Parents, aunts and uncles aren’t using Uber instead of taxis yet, despite the obvious advantages.

It’s simply amazing how far behind powerful businesses, like my mortgage orgination company, are. Dude, paper mail isn’t days slower, it’s decades behind. And so are the companies and businesses that still use it as a primary means of communication.


Related: The Most (and Least) Affordable Counties for Millenials to Buy and Rent

I’m not saying that Baby Boomers and Gen Xers aren’t able to adapt. It’s that they aren’t demanding and expecting rapid progress in these areas of business. The older generations see mobile banking as a great new feature to be adopted as a new business tool. Millennials like myself can’t understand why our money has to wait three business days to “settle” in our bank account. What the hell is that about? Are you kidding me? Banks that “settle” funds are already behind. By years.

This mindset is a powerful advantage. We aren’t just happy to have an added convenience. We’re frustrated by the fact that things aren’t already better than they are and seek out the better product constantly. It’s a subtle, yet extraordinarily powerful difference in mindset over time. I think it’s simply better business. And I think that this mentality is to our advantage.


Millennials are not perfect with money. We struggle in a lot of ways and have buried ourselves in a deep hole financially as a generation. We’ve had a rough start to our adult working lives as far as the economy and our personal net worth are concerned.

But that rough start makes us stronger. It makes us more flexible, and it makes us more conservative financially. Add to that tough start our powerful, deep motivations to accumulate wealth, and you have a generation that is uniquely positioned to change the world. And let’s not forget about our innate ability to understand the changing business landscape.

The opportunities for my generation of Millennials are huge. I think that they are even greater than they were for the generations that preceded us. Far from being financially backwards, irresponsible, and lazy, I think that Millennials are an extremely adaptive group, focused on freedom above all else. And I think that the hole that we’ve dug ourselves into is simply a deep, rock solid foundation for enormous financial success over the long run.

My money is on my generation. But only time will tell.

We’re republishing this article to help out our newer readers.

Looking to set yourself up for life as early as possible and enjoy time on your terms? Scott Trench’s new book Set for Life can be purchased on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and at other fine booksellers! Whether you’d like to “retire” from wage-paying work, become less dependent on your demanding nine-to-five, or simply spend time doing what you love, Set for Life will give you a plan to get there. This isn’t about saving up a nest egg. It’s not about setting aside money for a “rainy day.” Set for Life is an actionable guide that helps readers build the accessible wealth they need to achieve early financial freedom.

What do you think? Are Millennials in a great position to build substantial wealth, or will their financial problems continue to plague them?

Let me know your agreements or disagreements with my assessment below!

About Author

Scott Trench

VP of Operations at, Scott is also a licensed real estate broker/agent, real estate investor managing 8 units in Denver, CO with a partner, a house-hacker, and personal finance nerd. His book, "Set for Life" (published through BiggerPockets Publishing) thoroughly details a step-by-step journey to early financial freedom for full-time workers earning median incomes and starting with little or negative net worth. When he's not helping full-time workers move toward early financial freedom, the 26-year-old can be found playing rugby, biking, or skiing.


  1. Sean Moen

    Dude Scott – you nailed it bro! “They” mentioned millennials are impatient and want it now. I say who doesn’t want there bank to transact instantly! Nailed it completely and, as a participant in the generation, I am actively engaging my kids in these activities as well. Watching how the millennials’ kids and how they handle education, finance and work will be immensely interesting based on what you said. Keep it up Scott!

  2. Matt R.

    Great read Scott. We had Millennials before and they were called Hippies. Same thing this time just a different name for marketing purposes. It sells books I guess. Go for it Millennials, try to start a business or career online or off working four hours a week. Let me know how that works out:)

    Everyone’s money is on the next GEN and the next and so on. Nothing new there. I am not sure how different Millennials will be from the rest. The times are changing with career options but still there will be 40 year careers in many professions. Doctors, lawyers, teachers, truck drivers and the rest will all happen again. This time there are more and better options is the biggest difference. Some will take advantage of that – thus potentially creating more wealth opportunities that never existed before but again no big change there. However, I see anyone trying to start out with a 4 hour work week not getting very far just like before. There are no easy streets and to get anywhere in any line of work you will have to pay your dues just like grandpa did – Millennial or not.

    • Scott Trench

      Thanks for the support Matt. I think that a lot of non-millennials see our infatuation with the 4-hour work week and see “lazy lack of success”. Millennials interpret that book as “working smarter, not harder”. I can pay my dues by performing the same job over and over and over again in very similar form just like grandpa did, OR I can automate that job, and move on to the next thing.

      • Matt R.

        For sure Scott. I have not read the book. I get it still. Todays world you can make things happen remotely and or automatically. At a certain point in theory this could happen and produce worthy returns with just working 4 hours a week. The folks I see promoting this concept usually have something to sell you to enable this fantasy. That is what they are doing with their “4 hours” a week. Is it realistic to start and build something remarkable with 4 hours a week work? Not likely. Just ask your boss:)

        • Scott Trench

          I believe that this is a great point. I’m sure that there are always those looking for the easy way out and that they will forever see their efforts fail. The “4-hour workweek” is not something to be achieved in just a few months, resulting in a lifetime of lounging by the beach. It’s a mindset of working smarter and efficiently optimizing, that is an ongoing process resulting in both more work AND more opportunities to direct your time.

          I think, too, that the differences that are subtle now – like preference for vacation over salary – are likely to compound with the coming years as Millennials creatively find ways to take advantage of their free time, but still produce meaningful work.

        • Maggie Vineyard

          Hi Scott-
          Some very good points you make and I too, am hoping to work more efficiently, have more flexibility and I greatly value my free time. I think the millennial generation is extremely lucky to have the conveniences afforded them today which generations before us built through lots of hard work.

          To play devil’s advocate; I think you are missing something here; if a system becomes automated and can reduce time spent from 40 to 4 hours…your competition can most certainly do the same. Yet, if they are using that system, but also working 40 hours a week, they will be getting ten times as much done as you, (just putting in the four hours).
          So although it’s a nice concept, with technological advances reducing inefficiencies, the need to produce more to be stay competitive will just increase…and you will still be looking at 40 hours a week or go out of business.
          Hard work always wins…and whoever can do it efficiently and still put in the long hours, will be the last one standing.

        • Scott Trench

          Maggie – you make a great point here. One that I like to compare with the entire software as a service industry (it’s exponentially cheaper to replicate software, but even as their software becomes exponentially cheaper to replicate and therefore less valuable, big companies are increasing their price 10X). You are right of course, that if I can build a system to produce 10X the work of someone else with 4 hours of work per week that someone else can then turn around and produce a system that produces 20X by working 10 hours a week and steal my market share.

          However, if you can build up to 25X your expenses, or more, in wealth that is invested in well-run companies, real estate, debt, etc, you will likely not have to return to work to secure your financial position. So the point is to get THERE as soon as possible. Build a 4-hour per week system to get there as rapidly as possible. Then, invest in stable, long-term assets.

    • Scott McReynolds

      You might want to check unemployment rates and inflation when we started the 80s if you’re claiming worst economy. That was my entry to the workforce. There was a time when I had a lot of work/life balance and in the Bay Area we were more concerned about getting out of the rat race and back to nature. A lot of environmental cleanup was done that we benefit from today and it seemed we needed to slow down our Retail/Industrial ways. Unfortunately for me the 90s in the Bay Area required you better start competing and hard if you want to stay. You never now where life takes you but we adapt to our circumstances come what may. I do agree the Internet has been a huge boon to flexible work schedules and it’s much easier to connect with people. My only concern with the young generation is they are not as used to being alone. I’m read where business can’t get new graduates to relocate from their home towns. They want to travel and experience the world as we all do but they are not as comfortable (so far) relocating and leaving their current circle of friends to start a new life in a new location.

    • Scott Trench

      Maybe I like to lay in the sun at 2 pm, and work from 6PM to 2AM, like I did in college. Maybe I prefer that flexibility. Maybe in today’s workplace, when and how I work, and how I handle money matters more than how hard I work. Maybe some folks work their tails off for 60 hours a week over 45 years, and end up with less than $100,000 for their retirement.

      Maybe just by spending less, driving less, and prioritizing happiness over things, those folks would have spent more time in the sun, less time at work, and have more money to boot.

      We’ll have to just wait and see.

      • Greg Rittchen

        I think reality lies somewhere between these two comments. As a millennial I see the hyperactive materialism and work-obsession of the boomer generation as a product of their population growth and the GDP growth that stemmed from it. As a millennial I see the social costs like divorce, lack of family life, and poor mental health that the boomer generation introduced into society as a result of their self-centered lifestyles riding the wave of 20th century economic prosperity. Millennials like me can learn from the mistakes of the past generation of former “hippies” that now run the company and realize that a middle path of financial responsibility and personal well being is the best course – neither lazy nor arrogant.

    • Jesse T.

      I think renting in general – bikes in urban areas, car shares, high fashion, etc. will be on the increase due to the technology to easily enable it.
      That said I am not sure that home ownership will decrease significantly. It will be below the peak during the real estate bubble, but that is a good thing.
      I think the biggest factor is that low wages, high rents and student loans are delaying it for the younger potential home-buyers. There is generally a big cultural bias towards owning in this country. Also the IRS has a very strong bias towards homeowners(actually property owners in general).

      • Scott Trench

        This is a great point Jesse – millennials may be less inclined to be tied down to a home, but the immense financial benefits that come with long term homeownership over renting are too vast to be outweighed by a slight preference towards urban living.

    • Scott Trench


      This is a great point. I think that Millennials are simply less interested in material possessions. The car is a great example of this – for our parents having a nice car in high school and as a young adult was a huge stepping stone. For me, having a car was nice, but I was just as happy without it in college and see mine as more of a burden now than an asset.

      I think that housing is next on that list. It’s by no means going to die out overnight, but I do think that as a generation, fewer of my millennial peers will be interested in the ‘burbs. I think that perhaps condo ownership and urban living that affords flexibility will be important. Again, this will be very gradual though.

  3. Jesse T.

    I think a lot of what is currently said(especially the negatives) about Millennials is more a function of age and stage in life than vast differences between the “generations”. I think a lot of the things said about the Generation Xers were similarly related to life stage more than the generation.

    That said, I think the millennials have had an economic experience that I think will have an impact through out their lives. I do think there will be a larger than expected portion who will be anti-debt.
    There do seem to be some indications that car/suburbs hating millennials is exaggerated – mainly student debt has delayed it. I think a permanent/long term urban existence is easier/more desirable thanks to technology. I think the decreased desire to work a 9 to 5 for 40+ years is due to the lack of supply of attractive options.

    • Scott Trench

      Jesse – these are all great points and I agree with pretty much everything you said. I will say that I think that things like cars and suburbs are laughably inefficient in a modern economy, and that as intelligent new options like self-driving, shared economy transportation, reliable and efficient short term rental options like AirBnb, and other aspects of the shared economy develop, that millennials will be the first to adopt and be comfortable with these new efficiencies.

  4. Qulia Bryant

    Great read!! You definitely nailed it, only us Millenials will understand your sentiments here. It’s great to see that as a Generation we encompass the same struggle and ambition. It is definitely our time to change the wave!!

  5. Daniel Ryu

    Scott –
    Yeah.. I think driverless cars, the desire to be more eco-friendly, etc, could lead to more urban living in smaller spaces with more shared communal areas. The driverless cars also could potentially revolutionize car ownership by bringing transportation cost down far enough that people stop buying. That could open up more urban space formerly set aside for garages and parking spaces to make urban living even more attractive.

    Maybe millennials won’t buy and sell houses in the future – but just trade them! One giant shared economy. ^^

  6. Lauren Lockett

    I loved your insight on our generation & personal finance. I think these are my sentiments exactly! It’s not about the money; it’s about what I can accomplish with it and the bonus of having that freedom to live an extraordinary life. Society’s standards are bleh! Make your own rules!

  7. Ayodeji Kuponiyi

    This is probably my favorite article on BP! Millennials are in a great position to build substantial wealth. I’m not saying this because I fall in that generation category, rather I value my TIME over money and I see this same value instill in many of my peers. I remember my father worked every day and sometimes in weekends and he didn’t look enthusiastic about it. I appreciated the modest middle class life I grew up but seeing my dad work, work, work and not spend time with me and younger brother verified to me that I did not want to be like my dad and worked every day and not spend time with my kids or look miserable and stress over money. I knew from a very young age that I didn’t want to work a corporate job. I wanted to be rich and live life on my terms and travel. Working in a cubicle or office setting scares me. I’m not lazy, I just believed that there was a better way. Our generation is building wealth and it’s apparent with companies like Facebook and Instagram just to name a few. I have already started building wealth thanks to real estate.

  8. Jon Kepler

    Scott, I think you are onto something, but I have one thing to add. You are correct when you say that Millennials are looking for freedom rather than extreme wealth. Fortunately, this puts us in a unique position to out-achieve those with that mindset.

    During my childhood, my mom and I lived on social assistance. Now, as a 29 year old real estate investor, my net worth is *150 times* the national average household net worth for people under 34 years of age. While my Millennial friends have been pursuing this “freedom”, I’ve been working as hard as humanly possible. It is the “Millennial Mindset” adopted by my generation that has enabled me to leave them all so far behind.

    • Scott Trench

      Jon – Your years of hard work will give you the options to do whatever you wish for the rest of your life most likely. Congrats on your successes! You’ve bought your time back far earlier than most in our generation will!

  9. Daniel Hamilton

    Interesting article. The only things I believe you left out were: the National Debt, the terrible world economy (watch out for CHINA and large parts of Europe), and the aging population (yeah, my generation). You guys will be fine if you can figure out what to do with the problems you are inheriting.

    • Scott Trench

      Thanks Daniel! Interesting points on the future problems coming our way. In this article I described some of the larger broader economic problems in terms of our education – I’m sure that education will continue through the next decade or so as we tackle the problems you point out here.

  10. Derek Caffe

    Great article Scott. I think you really hit the nail on the head when it comes to time freedom. Like many I saw my parents get up, go to work, eat, go to sleep. That is their schedule to this very day. I greatly appreciate their hard work, but don’t wish for the same.

    I work a full-time, federal government job, and over the past two and a half years have worked countless hours of overtime just like my parents. The only difference is because I knew what I wanted going in to the job, I planned and just recently purchased my first duplex and bought into a two location car wash.

    I feel because of our need for time freedom, we won’t work less, but we’ll actually work harder to create the lifestyle necessary to achieve our goals. I’m excited to be part of a movement of many talented young people changing the face of what’s normal when it comes to work & life.

    • Scott Trench

      Derek – I share your exact same mindset. I work as hard as possible to achieve my goals as well – which I hope is to both my long-term benefit and BiggerPockets’.

      Congratulations on your first two purchases – those are fantastic, creative, and conservative assets to accumulate so early in your career. I hope they help speed up your accumulation of passive cash flow!

  11. Amit M.

    I think your socio-cultural observations are spot on. But I’m not sure they will translate to more, or less, wealth for millennials than other generations 10-20-30 years from now. The reason being is that the future of the global, and USA economy over that timeframe is probably a more salient factor than cultural differences among generations. How inflation plays out will also be important. Thus you always have to adjust for it when comparing generational wealth. It’s fun to speculate on social, technological and cultural trends, but only time will tell how one generation compares to the next in macro economic terms.

    • Scott Trench

      I agree that only time will tell about Millennial generational wealth. I think that a ton of literature is being produced to psychoanalyze my generation, and much of it reflects negatively on our financial savvy and life outlook in general. In this article, I wanted to point out some of the positives that seem to be ignored, and how these things can be to our long-term financial gain.

      I think that your points here are good ones – that there are still likely to be some pitfalls that will impact our generational wealth – inflation and economic output being key among them.

  12. joe kim

    Lumping millions of people together as Millennials as if they will succeed or failure together is foolish at best and laughable at worst.

    It’s like saying my chinese zodiac (ox) determines what kind of person I will be based on the year of my birth.

    Everyone makes their future based on experience, determination, and education 1000x more than what generation they came from.

    If you are investing in real estate at an early age (before 30) and learning on BP, then I think you have a huge advantage and leg up compare to the general population.

    • Scott Trench

      Obviously not everyone in my generation will be successful, and not everyone will fail financially. The main purpose of this article is to counter the points of mainstream media outlets that routinely bash my generation as irresponsible, lazy, and foolish with money. This piece is in response to that sentiment, and I agree that it is totally ridiculous that Millennials are routinely lumped together and projected to fail in widely known publications.

    • Thomas Smith on

      Very interesting article but couldn’t be more wrong. I am a physician, age 58 who has a very satisfying career and very happy. In your article you talk about not climbing the corporate ladder, avoiding cubicles, never have to work again, work/life balance. There is one thing you never mention and that is service to others. That is what has brought me happiness. I worry that the “millennials” such as yourself will accumulate wealth, avoid the cubicles, have work/life balance but at the end find that it is not very satisfying. I see it all around me in my peers. Don’t be too selfish, happiness comes from helping others.

      • Scott Trench

        Thomas – what you mention here – giving – is a critical component to life. While it can have a tremendous impact on wealth creation as well, I believe that it is more important to getting meaning from life. Millennial’s search for meaning likely still continues.

        As a doctor, I’m sure that you found your calling fairly early in life and admirably serve that higher cause over a lifetime. Many 20-somethings have yet to discover that passion, just as many of your peers failed and got stuck in a vicious cycle of 9-5 at a corporation.

        I too believe I’m fortunate in having found my calling. I believe that there is something immensely powerful and rewarding in helping others take control of their finances – and thereby their choice of which higher calling to serve – here on BiggerPockets. That cause – spreading the knowledge and power of financial freedom, is what I find satisfying with my work.

        That said – I don’t think that working immense hours like previous generations necessarily creates greater impact or generates more meaning. Often, more meaning can be found in small kindnesses, the sort you might encounter at a park on a sunny summer Tuesday afternoon, than can be found in entire careers in the office.

  13. Susan Maneck

    My son is Millennial who fortunately was able to graduate with very little in student debt. But he graduated in 2009 not having done any internships or anything that would help him find a job. His high school counselor, however, persuaded him to try tutoring, at which he earned $60 an hour. Try to persuade a young man to get a ‘real’ job when they are earning that kind of money working part time! His father and I helped him finance his first house, a 3bdrm1ba house at 23K (yes, you read right.) Finally, when he found the “right girl” he took a job that had been offered him by the father of one of the kids he tutored. Since he no longer had unlimited time he attempted to cut back on tutoring by raising his rates to $80 an hour. Didn’t work. He figured out how to schedule his appointments online which cut back on time spent phoning clients tremendously. Now his boss is putting him through graduate school and he bought a house in a better part of town for his new bride. The old house? Now rented for $700 a month which more than covers the mortgage on his new house.
    Yeah, I think they are going to be okay. Did I mention he is putting his new bride through medical school?

  14. Becky Davis

    Efficiency! That’s, in a word, what we crave 🙂
    My very first job out of college was creating a process, then handing it off to someone off-shore and training them to do it while I moved onto the next piece. I grew a team and a department by doing that and was rewarded and valued as an employee.
    I can order almost anything online and have it delivered to me in 2 days for the cost of what I would have paid in gas over the year, not to mention saving time driving to and searching in badly organized stores. (Hooray Amazon!)
    You mentioned banking, I can deposit checks, pay my bills, everything instantly from a phone. Or automate if I want.
    What would have been days of research in a library or government office is now at my fingertips on the computer in a matter of moments.
    I maximize my time listening to podcasts while driving and my books, tasks, and research are always with me via my phone when I’m waiting in line or for an appointment. I barley ever run errands and when I do, I walk my dog to the store since I live in a central area.
    As a generation we are rewarded at every turn for doing things efficiently and decreasing our personal effort, is it any wonder we devour books like the 4 hour work week? I can keep more balls in the air each time I reduce my effort while reaping the same rewards whether it is money, education, securing a future, or nurturing my free time for the things I value most.

  15. Jeanette A.

    Excellent article! I am a gen x but I think I was born in the wrong generation! I love the gen y outlook of working less and enjoying life more. As for being lazy I support your contrarian views on not getting sucked into the soulless lifeless corporate machine. Perhaps companies that are trying to attract talented workers will start to change their work environment and policies to stay competitive. As for the 4 hour work week, I don’t understand why so many of my generation and older bash it. It’s a mindset, not a dogmatic set of instructions. I found it helpful for me to cut my hours from 40 to around 25 and still be productive. I have 2 small kids and know I’ll never get that time back if I squander it working. I’d be too busy making a living instead of making a life.

    • Scott Trench

      I love this comment. There’s lazy, and there’s content. It’s one thing to hustle and dominate a niche, build a business, and produce value for the world. It’s entirely different to get an advanced degree and work 80 hour weeks in a corporate setting that you don’t enjoy so that you can buy a little bit bigger car or house. You can produce just as much value with way less work for less salary and be happier to boot.

  16. Alden Simpson

    Great article, sounded like your have read one too many articles or posts about Millennials. I think this generation has 2 sides the one that you fit in, and the other that are just on the lazy, entitled and irresponsible with their money. You have obviously found your niche, and are great at what you do.

  17. Devin McGowan

    Great article, Scott! I’m a millennial as well and it’s a little scary how applicable this is to me. College debt was a huge mistake that I didn’t completely understand at 18 years old, but I won’t make that mistake again. Also, (financial) freedom is my priority now.

  18. Don Parent

    Dang man! Freakin nailed it! Thank you so much for writing this. Thank you For putting into words the feelings I have as “worthless millennial”. Very well written and in a time when mostly all I hear about my generation is that we suck and that we are worthless, this was very encouraging.

  19. Peter Mckernan

    Hey Scott,

    Good stuff man! This is a great article and I should have caught it when it was first written!

    I would agree with you on the facts that we are learning the new age of life (i.e. no stick shifts but Instagram and Snapchat). The world is changing fast each day then it changed in a year, 50 years ago! We are here to change the world for the better and we will continue to have a solid foundation to build upon!

  20. Glenn F.

    What millennials fail to realize is that when they one day replace the previous generation workers and they *all* demand working minuscule hours and getting tons of benefits such as weeks of vacation, things will self-implode on them. They are building their own ponzi scheme. And what will bail them out? The inheritances from Gen-X & Y that they turned their nose up at.

    • Scott Trench

      Ponzi scheme? Seems to me that spending a few years working your butt off to achieve early financial freedom is WAY less of a ponzi scheme than working for a salary, having nothing to show for it, and being dependent on a single income stream. THAT ponzi scheme is the one about to implode.

  21. Naren Gunasekera

    I’m on the tail end of the millenial generation and think your article hits a lot of points. Globally we need to change our value systems, living rather than accumulating more and more. The only item I would dispute is driving a stick shift. Trust me it’s a lot more fun 🙂 (as long as you don’t have to deal with traffic).

    • Scott Trench

      A lot of whiners in that article. I will show you how I, THIS INDIVIDUAL, along with all of the other folks that I associate with, that have commented on this article, and that are on this site and others, focusing on our wealth and personal production and the creation of scalable assets and private wealth can change this.

      Yep. Income inequality is definitely going to increase. Because I, along with the peers that are commenting on this article and reading here are going to work harder and smarter than our peers in our generation and those in the generations before us. We’re going to work hard so that soon, we won’t have to.

  22. Erik Whiting

    I always appreciate any time someone take time to put pen to paper (or fingers to keys, sorry for the antiquated reference). That said, I’ve heard all this before.

    Every generation has a “this time it’s different” angle. Mine did too, so I don’t fault you for it. We were not fans of climbing the corporate ladder and more than the generation who preceded me. That’s simply the way it was done at that time. Economic realities have changed but that is largely due to innovation and infrastructure: it is now POSSIBLE to work from home in your basement as a Linux admin and make $150K per year. Not possible 20 years ago, or my generation would have one it. We don’t like cubicles as much as one might think. So to be clear: it was not a matter of us choosing the corp life; it was a matter of working with the level of tech we had at the time.

    I think Millenials are no worse or better off than past generations. I have nothing against them, and I see them as the next in a line of generations seeking to outdo their predecessors. Nothing wrong with that. But to say Millenials will be the most wealthy in history? I need to see more hard and fast data, not just “these are three things my buddies and I talked up one night.”

    Each generation has their challenges, and Millenials have had one big one…so far. No offense to you “youngsters” but if you think the housing collapse that happened when you were at such an early age is the only schooling you are going to get, think again. It is likely you will see several more major challenges, some of which may be far worse. To list a few:

    Aging Boomers leaving many work fields that Millenials are not interested in filling. I’m in IT, so I’ll pick on that career field for a bit. There are over 50 BILLION lines of computer code active in the US today alone that run behind the scenes processing of distribution centers, supply chains, shipping fleets, etc. Millenials are all learning Python, C#, JavaScript, etc. but don’t have a clue how to understand and “decode” the business LOGIC that is behind these antique languages I work in (COBOL, RPG, etc). We need about 1 million coders to support these invisible backbone structures, but Millenials all want to work in click,click,tap, tap apps rather than banging out code for these older devices. These tasks cannot simply be automated away…they are ALREADY automated with technologies fewer folks understand each day. IT is just one area where critical skills are being forgotten at an alarming rate.

    Mike Rowe–host of the show “Dirty Jobs”–has another interesting perspective regarding the types of jobs Milennials aren’t interested in filling, which is another critical area that will be shorted. If you are correct that Milennials want to “worker smarter, not harder”….realize that some jobs involved HARD WORK no matter what. Welders, machinists, electric linemen, sewer installers, heavy equipment operators, roughnecks on oil rigs, diesel mechanics, etc. There are literally hundreds of thousands of jobs going unfilled today because they cannot be done out of a basement or relaxing by the duck pond on a sunny day. Good paying jobs too, but no one wants them. Okay, if you want to build the next machine that can lay an electrical main thru a suburb without tearing into a gas line…be my guest. Odds are, though…that tech is still a ways off which is why much aging infrastructure is crumbling across the nation.

    Also, and I mean no disrespect to Millenials again, but what makes them think they are unique in this attitude of wanting to do things easier? My generation wanted/still wants that too. However, we got side-tracked when it came to raising families. Once you’re busy taking care of your kids and aging parents, maybe you won’t have as much time to spend constantly reinventing yourselves and your grasp of technology will start falling behind the next generation who is already barking at your heels. Your generation caught up and surpassed me when I became a Dad. I no longer had time to learn the latest and hottest trends because I was busy changing diapers and teaching sonny boy to walk. Unless you intend on not reproducing yourselves, I look for the big “family-slowdown” to hit the Millenials over the next 5-10 years. Like it hit me about a decade ago. Kids and parents will take up a lot of your time: seriously. And there’s no automating or 4-hour work week to get you out of those tasks.

    So bottom line….I like to read articles like this that are up-beat and positive, and I certainly think there is too much negativity about Millenials. They are a fascinating group and have a lot going for them, I agree. But I don’t think you are as unique as you think you are. Different types of challenges? Sure. But life hasn’t changed much over the past 10,000 years. We’re all still trying to figure it out to the best of our ability given the times during which we live. Wait a decade and see what the “next Gen” has to write about you old-timers and how they are poised to whoop you. (wink) You’re welcome to come back here and borrow any of this post as a response to them…if you can still find it and if we’re still using this old-fashioned Interwebz thingie.

  23. Christopher Neeson

    Being a “Millennial” I can say that for some these words might ring dead on but for others like myself only 10% might ring true.

    Advantage #1 would make it seem that we prefer to kick back and enjoy life more then put in the work. It’s a fact that yes free time is amazing, but your not going to stay on the forefront of progression chilling on a beach behind a laptop a few hours a week. You’ll probably fall behind in just a couple years if that’s the direction a millennial chooses.

    I preferred investing in myself. Constantly expanding not only my information intake mentally through books, school, and training. I also dedicate to the hands on approach of getting into my job. Become a great employee? No not at all, more like learn every aspect of what makes a company money and what looses them money.

    You can look at figures all day long and try to find out what the real money makers are within a corporation, but you can find out much quicker by being apart of the entire project.

    In advantage #2 you reference millennials that went in debt now have the know how to save money after paying back student loan debts. Let me put it this way , a new vehicle can cost between $40,000 to $80,000 for something with all the bells and whistles. Compare that to our parents or grandparents cost for new vehicles growing up or any other cost of living and you can see that a new vehicle in another 20 years could average $80,000 to $120,000 or more.

    That student loan is going to look easy compared to everyday life with new vehicle emissions emerging forcing people to get rid of paid for vehicles. Add into that standard cost of living increases , food, rent, property prices, and many others.

    We as millennials will have to focus very hard on progressive hard working ways to stay ahead of the curve.

    4 to 8 years of college set many behind. Then add to that another 2 to 10 years of paying it off. A large percentage of Millennials who went through higher education will remain 10 to 20 years behind those who were able to jump into a career , and learn the way from the inside.

    Is your way or my way set in stone ? Not at all. Although speaking from experience I am willing to bet if the Millennials and Generation Y do not start heavily focusing on changing their investment focus they will be the worst retirement age in history and could cripple an economy in the next 20 to 35 years.

    Retirement plans aren’t gurenteed, ROTHs and 401ks can be adjusted or disappear at any moment. Property can drop in price below poverty level, and businesses cango upside down with market change.

    Planning for the future has never been this complex or this volatile.

    Any dip in the market or correction we have had over the past 40 years is nothing in comparison to what might happen, and if your not preparing for that then one might find themselves in a world of hurt in retirement.

    I believe in all generations to see the light and make change.

    That change needs to come from our generations as we focus hard on correcting mismanagement of money in every venue and start working hard to create an economy of development again.

  24. Enrique Pisfil

    Scott that was prob one of the best articles I have ever read!! Amazing amazing! I am sharing this with everyone I know to say “hey! THIS is why I am the way I am!!!”

    You hit all the points that needed to be hit, I agree 10000%!

  25. John Murray

    I love the millennials! I rent to them and they make me wealthy, In 10 years I will sell my houses to them and make more money. The millennials have opportunities to succeed just as other generations had. Boomers had to deal with Vietnam and the cold war. Sitting in line to get gas and dealing with double digit inflation as well as the decimation of organized labor. Gen X lost big time in the subprime crash as well as seeing their stock portfolios cut in half. Millennials and Gen Y are yet to be tested, their trials and tribulations are yet to be tested.

    • Christopher Neeson

      I’m a millennial and I can say your right on point John. The price of everything is going up. A single million in retirement won’t cover anything in 20 years. People within Generation Y or Millennials had better plan for 10million plus to enjoy any kind of retirement. Medical deductibles are going up. Overseas medical is always an option but to what level of large medical procedures would you trust a foreign country?

      Being a Millennial I work very hard to make as much money as physically possible in a short career span in hopes my property investments and other investments grow as I project. One can acquire great wealth in a short number of years say 15 or less. I have to stay focused and ahead of the curve though to do this.

      You can’t do that wasting free time away like it’s beneficial to life. What’s beneficial to life is the legacy we build and the mindset and references we leave to the next generation.

      I’m a very hard working millennial, and I’m proud to say I know I will be secure in any economic downturn outside of a national invasion or apocalyptic scenario.

      Invest right , work hard, invest in yourself, expand your knowledge.

      • John Murray

        Hi Chris,
        You are spot on and have great insight to the big picture. Each proceeding generations profit form the incumbent. To gain knowledge is the correct way to wealth, to understand trends and being flexible is an invaluable asset for any generation. Study the 1980s, that is when America changed, the New Deal was over. The tax revision of 1986 and the view of excess democracy was put to the forefront of of government policy. The courts and corporations aligned to provide success for the investment community and sold a bill of goods to the students to barrow unsecured debt. Now we have a $1.3T debacle in our economy. The outcome is still out for the future of millennials, Gen Y, and Gen X. Good luck in your financial future!

    • Scott Trench

      Thanks for the perspectives here John and Christopher. My tenants are all millennials too :). Christopher has it particularly right. Build a lifetime amount of wealth in 15 years… or much less. Why do that however? It’s not to rest on your laurels, most likely, but rather to live life on YOUR terms. That’s what we want, as a generation, I believe.

  26. Having kids is always a game changer- lots of compromise and self-sacrifice is involved. Perhaps the millennials will successfully transform our culture to make urban living more compatible with child rearing and ‘work-life balance’ a reality for all, or else will place less value on backyards, quiet streets and low crime rates. Urban neighborhoods with these characteristics (which must also have great public schools) are very expensive. Having experienced the weight of student loan debt, it’s reasonable to think they wouldn’t want to saddle their own children with this type of burden. Let’s hope that generational wealth transfer works out!

  27. Derek Christian

    I think Millennials are being led to the financial slaughter. They have been sold a bill of goods with the gig economy which means no safety net and benefits. They also are buying into the sharing economy which should be called the rental economy because they own nothing and rent everything. As a guy who makes his money off rentals it is great but the generation thinks they are being anti corporate and big business but they are giving ownership of every aspect of their lives away to fewer and fewer companies that own everything. The consequences of these decisions will not be seen for decades but it will be massive. It is also literally impossible for the average 20 something to understand. Until the age of about 23 your brain is still forming then it just stops. That is why so many older people feel out of place. Their brain is literally wired to work in a different time. This will happen to the Millennials as well but they cannot imagine it now. When it happens and they can no longer adjust and they own nothing it will be brutal for them.

    • Scott Trench

      Interesting perspective. I hope you’re wrong, and would bet against that slaughter. I think the personal finance industry is EXPLODING right now, and it’s not about get rich quick.

      I also fundamentally disagree with the concept of owning ANYTHING other than income producing assets. I don’t even consider the things I own to be really mine. If I were to move away, I could easily unload most of my expensive items on Craigslist… and buy back nearly identical ones a few months or years later if I return. THAT’s the sharing economy. I own income producing real estate, stocks, bonds and some other creative assets. They generate income for me. Why should I want to own more stuff? I’d much rather share it and own it or use it only when I need it.

      • Jon Kepler

        I’m a millennial, and I agree with Derek Christian. I was actively working on creating passive income as I turned 18 years old. I’ve owned property for less than 10 years at this point, yet my net worth is 110 times higher than my peers. Not double. Not “10x,” as Grant Cardone might say. 110x!

        The middle class is being hollowed out. We are going back to a two class system. Fortunately, it’s still early enough for millennials to pick which economic class they want to be in.

        • Jon Kepler

          Oh, and a quick correction. I just noticed that I also posted two years ago. I said 150x at that time, not 110x. I guess I’ll have to go do the math again! I have a deal closing next week; maybe I’ll wait until then before recalculating.

    • John Murray

      Hi Derek,
      This blog is one of the best comments on societal generations and to enjoy the conversation in a constructive manner. The teen brain does get rewired during my rewire was one of the best times of my life. I’m 59 and joined the Army at 18, 2 days after High School and was stationed in Hawaii. I surfed the North Shore and was lucky to be chosen for a lifeguard position at Fort Derussy on Waikiki. Boy did I have fun for 3 years! I was 21 and got out to start my assent into adulthood. One cannot even buy that experience, to be young and good looking male in great physical condition with access to females from all over the world was a privilege. So that was my summer of 42 and I left to find my fortune in a world of double digit inflation and unemployment soaring out of control. Today I’m worth $2.5M and leverage $3M in real estate with the golden years looking very bright. I played when I wanted to and worked when I had to make my future successful. The millennials have a bright future, the secret is to play when you can and work when you have to so your success is guaranteed.

  28. Randal Williams

    As a 58 year old father of four grown children, and friend to many 55+ years old parents who also have grown children, I see the millennials on BP as an exception to the rule. This new generation, just as the last generation, ultimately will have to curb the urge of instant gratification, just as every other generation has had to do, in order to grow enough wealth to be financially independent. That will be the key for wealth generation for every (XYZ) generation to come. Save and invest, or get the short term gratification of the purchase. I once read a book titled ‘The Richest Man In Babylon’ that did a pretty good job of explaining how all of this takes place. Can you guess when it was written?

      • John Murray

        Scott you are spot when it comes to building wealth in today’s tax environment. The tax changes during the Reagan years made it very easy to build wealth with reduction in taxes for passive income. No way could anyone do that in the preceding years when the individual would have lost 50% or more to passive profit. The millennials have a better chance right out of the gate.

        • Susan Maneck

          Was that right, though? Is here a reason that those who work hard for their money should pay more taxes than those who get their wealth passively?

  29. Brian Taylor

    I’m not in disagreement with you, but who wouldn’t want to work less, do less, have more flexibility, etc. Doesn’t that transcend generational dividers? They aren’t exactly revolutionary concepts. Since the dawn of time, people figured out mo’ money equals mo’ choices (a.k.a. freedom). To keep it fair, I think Millennials take a disproportionate beating because they are the most recent target. Sure they do dumb stuff, but so did Gen X, Boomers and even the Greatest Generation. I’m not sure what comes after Millennials, but they will be the next whipping boy now that we are all so much “wiser, mature and can do no wrong.” Everyone on this blog has already figured they need to work smarter. I just haven’t found the substitute for hard work (yet), so we will all grind until that one great day you have so much rental income flooding in that you can say “f— it!” I’m going outside to play. Hang in there Millennials. Just remember, 65,000 Boomers are retiring per day with less than $100K in assets. If anything, it proves that it does not matter the age of a person that dictates financial well being. In fact people as a whole are terrible with planning and discipline. Yet in every single generation, you have the achievers. The ones who think strategically, and find new ways, and can back it up with pure action. (I’m not talking 4-hours a week – that is not action by anyone’s definition). I’m talking about the ones who don’t say stuff like “I’m amazing just because I exist” but they actually get stuff done. Execution is everything. You get an A for accomplishment, not an A for effort. Everyone who has ever been successful over the masses figures that out early on. Now go kick butt, Millennials, and make an old Gen-Xer like me proud.

  30. Adina Edwards

    While this article makes some great points about millennials and how to see our situation from a different perspective, I would take it with a grain of salt, just like I take most articles and comments on this subject with a grain of salt regardless of the perspective.

    The second point, while only partially elaborated upon, is the most powerful and often discussed from a single perspective. The 2008 recession did teach our generation a lot–there’s no way of getting around that. But so did the requirement of using new technologies and advanced degrees to get a job in the first place. As of 2008, all Target managers must have at least a bachelor’s degree. Target doesn’t care in what, but just that you’ve paid your dues to a four year university. Without it, you’re not even considered, despite a possibly perfect track record. The computer industry–one of the few industries left that actually pays a living wage–is very hesitant to hire employees who taught themselves how to code instead of getting a full CS degree. The self-taught are usually contracted out, and the stable, full-time positions are given to the graduates, even from colleges who focus on the theory and not necessarily the application of programming. Our parents weren’t required to submit resumes online to get a retail or restaurant job, nor were they given job offers over text message. (Hell, some housing markets are so competitive that a house can be sold within four hours of going on the market–Internet-based communication is mandatory to even know the house was for sale at all, let alone coordinate with an agent to get an offer in.) While there is nothing inherently wrong with those situations, it does add a lot of financial burden to the job applicant, even before getting an interview. Arriving at the job market during the era we did, was a double whammy relative to previous eras. Living at home on the parent’s family plan becomes a lot more attractive, given the extra hurdles. And this doesn’t even touch on the changes in how governments have been measuring financial success on both a national and personal level.

    Looking at the third point, there are great benefits from computers and the Internet and the technologies they have enabled. But, like any tool with widespread use, there are also some great negatives, several of which this article, and all generations of our society, marginalize.

    It also greatly frustrates me that, in an era where computers have reigned supreme for decades, it still takes several days for money to transfer from bank to bank, or sometimes even account to account (within the same bank). That being said, money transfer apps, for the most part, are a huge risk. So is much of the personal, small business and even enterprise finance software solutions. I was informed just last week that yet another company from whom I had purchased something had been broken into and that my full name, address and credit card information was likely taken because their database of customers wasn’t set up with risk mitigation in mind. For most businesses, security is an utter joke. Few Internet-based financial solutions, if any, are FDIC insured. The bank itself might be, but giving a third party service or app access to your account greatly compromises the FDIC insurance on your account. The Internet is great, but it is also dangerous. Risk mitigation is a no brainer when it comes to being intelligent with finances, but it doesn’t really exist in our newest technology. What’s worse is us consumers (who may be millennial heavy) don’t demand security from these products or companies. (We could dive even further down the rabbit hole to discuss this at a global financial level.)

    The convenience of never having to change the oil in your car also comes with great expense. Either you don’t own a vehicle, you pay someone to do it for you, or you can afford a car that uses technology that don’t require oil changes. All three of these situations have varying financial and opportunity costs and while no option is “bad” or “good,” pigeon-holing ourselves into a fixed mindset of “I never need to learn or deal with x” limits our options. Just because it’s no longer cost effective to darn my own socks, doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile for me to learn how to change a spark plug or top off transmission fluid. Certainly, the future will bring new things, but I know plenty millennials whose cars (and/or, if they are lucky, homes) are older than they are.

    We may be spoiled, we may be entitled, and we may want convenience and want it right now even at extreme costs. But I am not convinced that this means we are less than or greater than, nor am I convinced these traits affect a single currently living generation. We may be taking more time to reach adult milestones, but that is because our path has been skewed and is not as clear as we were told to believe it would be. We will fumble, we will worry, we will get frustrated, but we will also learn, adapt and, hopefully, we will also be able to look at the thoughts, behaviors and values of previous generations in order to do so. We may be able to reach the finish line alone, but we shouldn’t avoid the hard work (both good and bad) that came before us. Instead, we should embrace it, and use it to enter our future with open minds ready to transform it into something (hopefully) better. This topic shouldn’t be an “us vs. them” mentality. This is our story, our world, our society, our lives. I see no generational (or other) conditionals in that.

  31. Zachary Romaine

    I agree with almost everything you said. However, one thing that annoys me: coming from an agricultural family, plowing a field is not an outdated skill. Technology today has progressed, and we are running state of the art equipment, to grow your food. So if that’s outdated, sorry.

    • Scott Trench

      Thanks Zach. I in no way mean to diminish the value of that skill for those who specialize in the production of our food. Thanks for producing food for our world! I only use plowing a field (which at the time I was more thinking of physically attaching a plow to a horse or ox like in the good ol days) as an example to illustrate that this skill is irrelevant to all but those that specialize in that.

  32. Christian Cascone

    Interesting and valuable perspective Scott–thanks for sharing. Nothing is more valuable than time and nothing more important than freedom. I will point out that most of society, regardless of generation…is still moving too slowly, Millennials included. Rapid and disruptive changes are coming at us faster than ever before…and most folks are clueless or in denial. Bitcoin and Ethereum have already made using banks antiquated, and will eventually eliminate the need for sovereign currency. Tesla killed the combustion engine…and autonomous driving will eliminate the need to drive at all, which will soon make Uber obsolete. Getting too attached to any tech is problematic. Surfing taught me long ago how to ride the waves…and that each one is unique. The quest for freedom requires the ability to read, react and adapt….and that is a matter of entrepreneurial mindset, regardless of generational status.

  33. Bill Gow

    Very enlightening and exciting!

    I’m 63 and building a startup. I’ve had the great pleasure of being around many younger people also in startup enterprises and I love their can-do attitudes. I’m impressed with their openness and willingness to share ideas. I’m also happy they don’t alienate old guys like me. 😉

    If I could make only one suggestion, it would be political. Cast off the disastrous two parties that have driven this country into the ground and create a government that actually represents you, not special interests. There’s nothing really wrong with the framework of our government, just the bozos who have hijacked it. Take it, it’s yours. Make it like you, to fit you, not what someone else thinks should be forced upon you.

  34. Andrew M.

    Wow, wow, wow. This article was so spot-on that I was having flashbacks. Graduated into the Great Recession. Moved to Texas for economic opportunities. Decided $120,000 in student loans was a bad life decision. Paid off loans in 2.5 years. This years goal is minimum 6 but and holds. The one thing I’m most proud of throughout this process as the financial literacy gained and learned.

    You. Nailed. It.

  35. Alison Hidey on

    Great article! As a millennial in the workforce trying to retire early to capture my financial freedom, I can really empathize with how you depict society viewing us: lazy, entitled, different. I love being different. Cheers to working smarter, not harder and having the life we want!

  36. Andrew Syrios

    Maybe this is what every older generation says (even though I’m technically a millennial), but from my interactions with many millennials, I can’t say I’m particularly hopeful. There seems to be a really bad sense of entitlement amongst many of the young.

    • Susan Maneck

      I seemed to remember them saying that about us baby boomers. I think millennials did feel they were entitled to a college education without crushing debt, but remember we got one! I also think most millennials would like a system of government like that of Canada and Western Europe, where things like medical care and education are free. And quite frankly so would I. Thanks to real estate investing I now have enough money to retire but not to buy health care under Trump’s-we-don’t-care plan. (It’s not knowing what will happen with Obamacare that keeps me from retiring now.)

      Two years ago, when this thread originally started, I described my own Millennial and how he already owned two houses. Last fall he bought his third house and his tutoring work has since become an LLC which keeps his wife employed as well.

      Yeah, these are kids who may not know how to mow a lawn (my son doesn’t) but if they understand how money works they’ll be okay.

      • John Murray

        Hi Susan,
        I retired 2 years ago and my health care premium is $1300 per month. It is great insurance but no dental. The $1300 did not stop me, I planned well and enjoy nothing but passive income. No more FICA which is a shade over 7% and for self employment approaching 15%. So if you add up those losses you get pretty close to my health care premium. The added bonus in 2 1/2 years I start to collect $36K per year from Uncle Sam. Life is good, jump the fence you will never regret it. Canada and Western Europe pay crushing taxes and the write offs are limited. Finland the tax rate is just nuts and Denmark is the only country that has mortgage write off. There is no panacea.

        • Susan Maneck

          Finland also has the best public education system in he world. While mortgage write-offs are good for us, how just are they? Why should the middle and upper-classes get to write off their mortgage payments while tenants can’t write off their rent?

  37. John Murray

    Hi Susan,
    The middle class has been narrowed and the working class expanded thanks to The 1980s. I live in Portland Oregon and the demographic is amazing. The majority of people are 25-45 and the percent of renters is 66%. It is still the most affordable city on the west coast. The American dream of the white picket fence and 2.3 children is gone. We used to be a country of builders and manufactures. We needed bodies to run the machine. Now we are nation of minds, Asia and other parts of the world have body nations that are cheap. Welcome to the new world order, to profit from our nation now requires a shift in paradigm. We now call insurance and investment vehicles products.

    • Susan Maneck

      I would agree that the Middle Class narrowed in the 1980’s which indicates to me that Reaganomics just made the rich richer without trickling down to anyone. However, Asia seems to have the best minds as well as well as bodies. Fortunately, those Asian minds come here where the wages are better.

  38. Mike Hanneman

    My generation (millennials) are the worst generation that this country, possibly the world has ever seen. We as a whole are lazy, entitled, intolerant, and think that everything should be handed to them. I am ashamed to be called a millennial! Most can’t think for themselves and just preach what they heard or read on some social website.
    Any millennial that truely believes this is the greatest generation needs to do alot of self reflecting, or better yet leave their parents basement once in a while.

    As far as your article it was well written but and I see where you’re coming from as far as the resources are there for us millenials to become the wealthiest generation but to say that as a whole, well most of us will need to deevlop a work ethic and stop whinning about everything they don’t agree with.

    • Susan Maneck

      I have to disagree. This is the best-educated generation this country has ever seen. And they are much less racist and misogynist than previous ones. As for believing whatever they heard or read on some social website, I don’t know very many that go to Brietbart or listen to Alex Jones. Yes, their upbringing was somewhat sheltered and they can be self-centered and entitled but they are also , team-oriented, conventional, achieving, pressured, tech savvy, open to change, compassionate, inclusive, and politically active. An astounding number (11%) are children of immigrants. Second-generation Hispanics and Asian Americans place more importance than does the general public on hard work and career success. But they are more inclined to call themselves liberal and less likely to identify as Republicans. I’m guessing that this is what really bothers you.

  39. Neil Schlimgen

    Great Read Scott. People always say that millennials are always looking for the easy way out or are lazy because we want things now. Without this attitude many technological advances to society would not exist. I don’t think that I could name someone who doesn’t want things easier for their children’s generation than they had it.

  40. Vance Mattila

    Scott – I know this was an old post but you are true even to this day. I am younger and I am investing with my wife and paying of student debt. I always laugh at older people who meet me because they are always saying how I am ages ahead of my generation which is not true. We are all doing it, of course some more than others. Just wanted to say great post will have to share this one to my socials!

    Thanks again.

  41. John Barrett

    Good article, I never thought about the financial education Millennials are getting from taking on a mountain of student loans. It was a dumb / naive move but making financial mistakes when your young is the right time to make them. Here’s hoping the learning from them and benefiting from it in the long run. I hope the Millennial generation not only keeps pushing for better and better technology but also is willing to put in the work to make technology better and does not just wait expect for someone to make it better for them.

    I also think betting on human ingenuity is always a good bet no matter what generation you born into.

  42. John MacCallum

    As usual it seems the article is just more why you had it so bad, and justification of why you have the right to whine, whine, whine, whatever… Somewhere along the line, Millennials got the idea that other generations give a hoot about them, because why? They were talked about? Sorry to disappoint, but no one really cares. We all have our own set of issues to surpass. There are certain facts of successful existence that you seem to be oblivious to and do need to realize:
    1. It’s great to have a calculator, makes calculations instantaneous, but if you don’t know the algorithm behind the buttons then you are just cattle with a calculator.
    2. Online banking, snapchat, fb, uber and gps directions are great, faster, and more efficient – until the power goes out.
    3. Monthlies, for Netflicks, Hulu, Verizon, the auto lease, condos, apartments, and/or rental houses (because we won’t be caught in debt again says you) are just that – Monthlies – that go out – you own nothing from them, no assets. And assets build wealth, not Monthlies.
    4. At some point, you’ll want to (as you say) sit in that park or on the cliff with the view of the valley or the oceanfront sunset spot – without having to work the next day – because you are too old to work! – that’s called retirement and you better prepare for it.
    ok, nuff said… good luck entitled little children…

  43. John Murray

    I enjoy reading the millennials and their positive attitudes. I’m almost 60 and a multimillionaire. So here is the history lesson. In high school there was gas crunch. Went in the Army 2 days after graduation and served 3 years, upon ETS double digit inflation. Went through an apprenticeship and became an electrician. The 80s were the breaking of labor but married, 2 kids and increased my net worth to about $300K by age 35. Now for the bad news for the millennials the average net worth for the 35 year old today $20K. The 90s were wealth building years thru investment and hard work. Paid for my millennials education and by the year 2000 I was worth about $750K. Now the bad news for the millennials, most of you had to pay for your own education. Puts you further behind. By 2010 my net worth went over $1M and had 5 more years of W-2 time. I sold all my real estate holding in 2003-2004 and braced for the sell down. I did not even look at my stock returns for several years but still my net worth broke $1M. In Dec 2014 I launch my full time real estate biz. Bought shorts and REOs and went from net worth of $1.4M to now $2.5M. I have defined benefit income and portfolio income plus in 2 years social security. Now the bad news for the millennials you will have to double your output to reach that level. More bad news, I worked 60-80 per weak and continue to work at least 40-50 on my RI biz. America is a great place but not for the 40 hour work week. Best of luck and bust your ass.

  44. Nathan G.

    It’s not surprise that Millennials are jumping on the bandwagon. It’s like asking a bunch of professional baseball players to name the best sport.

    You know why Millennials will be better off? Because they’re living in their parents basement rent free or they’re going to inherit money when their parents pass away and leave behind their investments made from a life-time of saving and investing.

    Seriously, there are some great Millennials out there but all evidence points to a general decline in work ethic and ingenuity. Yes, there are some Mark Zuckerbergs in the world but there are far more Michael Rotonodos ( I have a lot of friends that are business owners and they all say the same thing: young people want something for nothing at every opportunity and it’s getting worse.

    I actually invest in real estate because I see two major trends coming: old people selling homes and moving into rentals and young people that stay in rentals because they can’t qualify to buy or don’t want to buy. It’s all fine with me!

  45. Michael McLaughlin


    Not sure if it’s been mentioned but I would highly recommend reading maps and ESPECIALLY learning how to drive stick. You may find yourself in an emergency one day and the only way out may be a manual automobile. Also, banks letting money “settle” has never been necessary, it’s just their way to earn money on your money before they let you have access to it.

  46. Ryan NA

    While I appreciate the optimism and I believe there is merit to the point mentioned I don’t agree with the premise. Now in the world that Scott is enTrenched in (pardon the pun) he is likely surrounded by many motivated entrepreneurial young folks that are closer to the exception than the rule. I am a millennial and perhaps I am overly negative with my generation, but I feel differently. I worked at a pension system while in college and I remember being shocked at how my colleagues were spending money. I believe that instant gratification has become prevalent. From expensive cars to the newest phones, tablets, and big screen tvs, I have seen many take on debt for what they want or believe they deserve instead of saving or building wealth by investing. Maybe it is just my perspective, but I feel that less people are concerned about tomorrow and are only concerned with today. I fully expect the retirement age to continue to grow older by a significant amount. I hope most people of this age are taking care of themselves physically, because I suspect the normal retirement age to be into the 70s with more and more people that can never retire.

    Perhaps this generation will have the biggest gap in reitirement age. With those that are able to retire in their 40s and those that retire 30 years later. I hope I am wrong.

  47. Phillip Crandall

    The richest millennial’s will be the ones that are selling that freedom lifestyle to the ones that crave it so much. There are life laws such as, working hard with purpose and drive, to build that sustainable wealth and freedom you desire. The early bird catches the worm, may be a very old saying, but its still as true today as it always was. You may be able to duck around these laws for a while but they will catch up to you. The best thing millennial’s have is that technology is so fast now that what used to take weeks, months, and even years to accomplish can be done in a fraction of the time. I don’t see a lot of them taking full advantage of that speed to build indestructible wealth, instead they spend half there day playing video games, on social media taking selfies and watching Netflix. I do think that some millennial’s will become super rich maybe the richest in history, but I’m afraid the vast majority will learn a hard life lesson.

  48. Lesley Resnick

    Great article!

    While I am not a millennial, I have one. My daughter is 20 and a college student. As she is fond of saying, “I don’t understand her”. Interestingly enough, as she has aged, I hear it less and less.

    My greatest concern is not the individual members of this generation, but the events that are coming. The level of change is ever increasing and there will be big winners and big loses and no one knows.

    My grandparents and parents largely lived a similar economic existence. I remember traveling to California from Florida with my family, my father had a stack of hundreds an inch thick. We were not drug mules or doing anything illegal, but that was just how things were done. In my lifetime, it has all changed, It is unusual for me to carry more than $100 in cash. I fully expect that in my daughter’s lifetime paper currency will be all but extinct.

    A loss of personal freedom and privacy is very unnerving and going to shape peoples lives more than we give it credit. What would happen if right now you say, “hey Siri”? She is listening to everything you are saying. Is she recording it? We just don’t know. Are keywords and phrases being picked out? Will this come out in your supreme court hearing? Will you be forced to sell your pro basketball team?

    What people do today to generate value and pay is going to be very different than in the coming years. Automation is going to do to workers, what offshore outsourcing did to the US. Why make shoes in the US when they can be made in Srilanka for 1/10 the cost. When artificial intelligence and driverless cars hit, we will see a shakeup like never before. Driving a vehicle is the number one profession of men without a college degree. This is going to punch a huge hole in the economy. What will these people do to make a living? There will be masses of people who simply can not find a job. They will not be able to just acquire a skill and move up as is a popular concept, The next level jobs will be replaced by artificial intelligence.

    The events of a time will drive a generation, it will define who they are more than anything else. There may be a tendency to prefer one approach or another, but outside events will ultimately win out.

  49. Ed Emmons

    Very interesting to see how the different age groups respond to this article. I think every Millennial should read and ponder the comments of the old timers as most of it is spot on. Experience is the best teacher but it doesn’t have to be your own. I have read the 4 Hour Work Week and E-Myth Revisited and I think every business owner and potential business owner should read them and apply the principles. The 4 hour work week is very possible to sustain a business set up through principles in E-Myth but it would be extremely lucky to build a business on a 4 hour work week.

    Scott, you have some very valid points and some that reflect your age which isn’t a bad thing just the fact. I would bet 20 yrs. from now your article will be very different. One of the biggest challenges that will face the younger generation of people reading this, which by the way doesn’t represent the norm, if they eventually build a real estate empire, who is going to do the maintenance and repairs as the older generation dies out? What the other “old” people have said here about the majority of the young seems to be the universal observation of the older generations. The people that are reading this and have the mindset to learn and strive to self improve are a small percentage of the population of any age.

    It has always been that 3% of the population are served by the other 97%. Roughly 10% will be worth what the other 90% are in financial terms. There is and always will be a need for all age groups to work together and learn from each other. Technology can’t replace experience and experience will only go so far without learning the technology. The ideal partnership would be one of each generation who has goals to be in the top 10%.

    All of us should try to educate others who are willing to learn. Many have no idea of the resources out there to improve our lives. Even when shown these things most of all generations will choose to watch tv, play video games or do other types of recreation for many hours a day.

    Let’s all help each other reach our goals whether it means sharing the latest technology or some great hacks on practical experience or common sense. I’m ready to help.

  50. Sofia Sharkey

    So accurate! I love it and identify so much with what you described here. This generation doesn’t care about buying expensive toys, we just want our time back to explore the world. Technology is at our finger tips and it’s the vehicle to speed up learning, opportunities, and connections. Looking to connect with all the millennial investors who are killing it!

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