Catch Us if You Can: Part 1

photo 3Co-authored by Maria Colicchio and Courtney Kober from Ogilvy CommonHealth Wellness Marketing – Parsippany, NJ

A stereotypical image that normally comes to mind when someone mentions “Millennials” or “Gen Y” is a young adult (born after 1980) who is up to their ears in debt from student loans; either unemployed, lazy or working a part-time job that doesn’t utilize their expensive college degree; spends most of their time distracted online or on their phone; lives in their parents’ basement; plays video games; and is delaying both marriage and buying their first home.

Now, we’re not going to lie….this is true for a select few Millennials, but let us tell you how it really is– you may think you know Millennials, but trust us, you don’t.  Read on if you’d like to learn more.

Technology

  • I’m plugged in at all times. And by plugged in, I mean I’m connected to a multitude of Internet-enabled devices, and usually using 2 or 3 screens at the same time: my work PC, my personal MacBook®, an iPhone®, an iPad®, or my Kindle®. Not to mention I can access YouTube, among other things, via my Internet-enabled TV. This connectivity satisfied a need for instant gratification and I’ve grown up with this ability to multitask. My parents might ask how I’m able to focus on a TV show and surf the Web, but it’s just engrained in me.
  • My life is online. And it doesn’t creep me out. But, just because my life is online doesn’t mean I’ll grant the world access to it. I have layers of privacy settings in place so that specific groups of people can see specific parts of my online life. If I’ve chosen to share with you, you can find albums from my graduation, to social gatherings, to my wedding online.
  • I don’t have a landline in my house. I had one briefly as part of a 3-for deal, but ditched it when I moved. If I have to provide contact information for, say, a loyalty program, I have an arsenal of fake phone numbers to give out. I maintain a similar level of privacy with email. I have multiple levels of junk email accounts, and rarely give out my primary email – which I use to Gchat, Google hangout, or email close friends and family.

Money & Managing It

  • Are Millennials struggling? While there’s certainly a significant group of young people who are stressed financially, there are also plenty of affluent young professionals who have accumulated a nice net worth. Now, if you ask Baby Boomers, they will tell you that young people often spend their money without thinking about the long-term implications and buy “silly” items like the latest gadgets and shoes that cost only God knows how much!?! But, the reality is 8 in 10 Millennials save a third (32 percent) of their monthly income.
  • Budgeting. Here’s a little secret I’ll let you in on: Millennials like to manage a budget via credit/debit card because it’s easier and everything is trackable through online banking or apps. Plus, nobody carries that much cash on them anymore.
  • I’ll admit it, I don’t know everything. So, I haven’t completely figured out how this whole personal finance thing really works. But I do take full advantage of the free financial tools available–my personal favorite is Mint.com. The question is whether other Millennials have the willpower to take control over their financial situations, and I happen to think we do.

Purchasing

  • I don’t need to touch the items that I buy. Contrary to other generations, I don’t feel the need to touch or try out things that I buy. I’m more than happy to make a purchase online and am more likely to trust the recommendation of strangers, as opposed to my friends. I’m comfortable ordering food, clothing, or homeware from an online merchant, as long as they have a good return policy.
  • I love a good deal. But, doesn’t everybody? The difference between my generation and others is the way we find deals. I research pricing in depth–combing several sites for cost comparisons and cross-checking against product reviews. If I’m at home, I’ve got several browser windows open, checking a variety of factors before settling into a purchase. Or, if I’m at the mall, I’ll trek between several stores to find the best deal. You can bet I’ve also scanned a potential item into my phone to research prices, see if better deals exist online (coupon codes!) or if there are any major negative reviews.
  • Food shopping is a breeze. As a Millennial, I’ve become accustomed to quick food shopping. My grocery list is saved in an app that categorizes food by aisle, making it easy to maneuver around the store without trekking back and forth between aisles. With handheld (or even mobile device) scanning, I scan and bag as I go, which means I don’t have to ever wait in line at the checkout. If I’m in a jam, I can even quickly send the grocery list that I’ve saved in-app to my store, and they’ll deliver the groceries to my door.
  • Don’t ignore me. Millennials have the largest potential for spending–over $200 billion in spending power, according to Kelton Research. So, while I do like to be thrifty, if I set my mind to it, I can absolutely purchase large or luxury items.

Stay tuned for Catch Us if You Can: Part 2

Other great articles on Millennials to check out:

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