As a recent college graduate, these topics have come to my attention numerous times. Savings, homeownership, debt, etc… The “millennials” or “Generation Y”, and all the stereotypes surrounding my generation are lengthy and complicated, but here are a few of my own thoughts and ideas.
Many of my college classes prepared me for interviews where I would need to overcome the stereotypes of my generation. (Generation Y, born between the mid seventies to late nineties.) For me personally, I do not feel that I fit the stereotypical “Generation Y” young adult. Let’s take a look at some of these stereotypes:
1. We are like leeches– “Take everything, give nothing”. We have been given everything, and we didn’t have to work for anything we have. “Entitled” is a good way to explain it.
2. We have helicopter parents-Our parents will do anything to make sure we get good grades. They pay for our living expenses. They bring over groceries and home cooked meals, and we do our laundry in their house. We call, text and email or Facebook our parents DAILY.
3. We are trophy children-We were given trophies as children just for participation. We were always taught that we should be congratulated for everything we do. We need CONSTANT praise.
4. We are lazy-You’ve heard it. “Work smarter, not harder”. This is just one of the Generation Y “statements”, and we specifically use it in the workplace.
5. We have a lot of debt-We don’t save our money. We spend it…on the best and most recent goods of course!
For me personally, and many of my other classmates and friends, these negative stereotypes were a bit discouraging. These stereotypes can be detrimental to you in many different aspects of life: Finding a job, finding a life partner, owning a home, etc…When you are constantly compared in a negative or unfavorable manner, you can start to “take on” these stereotypes.
Luckily for me, I have realized that this broad assumption of my generation does not ring true to me. Some of the ideas surrounding Gen Y are true for me, but in my opinion, they can ring true to any generation.
I grew up in a middle-class family. My sister and I were taught the importance of working for what you have. All of my Christmas and Birthday checks were put in a savings account. (I’m glad for that now…) Before going out to play with friends, we had chores and housework to complete, and no, we didn’t get paid to do it. I played numerous sports as a child, and I did receive participation trophies. I am not quite sure what to think of this whole trophy thing. Personally, I never wanted the participation trophy. 1st place all the way! I was expected to get good grades in school. There was never an option to do poorly. And, I got great grades in school. (This was also due to the high standards I place upon myself.) I graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Business and Marketing degree TWO years early. And, I landed a job right away. I have my own dog, and my own home in Woodbury, MN. I live close to my parents, and they do bring me home cooked meals every once in awhile. They also gladly watch their grandson dog. My parents and I check in and talk on a daily basis, so some may see me as “dependent” upon them. I see it as an important aspect of my life. They won’t be around forever.
So how does this all relate to the topic of real estate?
For many people, the dream of owning a home is exactly that: a dream.
There are many factors that contribute to this: unemployment, debt, the housing crisis, mortgage qualifications, and more. All of these factors hold especially true for Gen Y. Although I feel that many of these negative stereotypes are not true, a lot of them are. And the above reasons make it harder for our generation to own a home.
Homeownership is a priority for many of us. Many of my fellow Gen Y’ers are actually well educated, creative, and innovative. But, we have a few downfalls directly related to homeownership that may put our dreams at bay.
Debt and savings. We have LOTS of debt. BAD debt to be specific. Of course school loans are part of the enormous debt, but, we also have: credit card debt, car loan payments to make, bad spending habits, and poor saving habits. To top it off, we want the latest technologies (laptops, IPhones, tablets). We want to have gym memberships, eat at fancy restaurants, take extravagant vacations, wear pricy clothing… and the list goes on. In my opinion, much of this could be contributed to growing up in well-off families. But, who knows. There are also many different statistics showing the improvement of Gen Y and bad debt, but it is still an issue.
This debt, and our poor saving habits, make it very difficult to even think about owning a home. Like anyone who is interested in purchasing a home, reducing debt is extremely important when qualifying for a mortgage. Cutting back on some of the unnecessary expenses is a very wise decision.
So coming straight from a Gen Y gal, here are some tips I have for you:
- Ditch the cable TV.
- Don’t get the latest technology the minute it comes out. Wait for sales.
- Sell unwanted clothing to make a little extra cash.
- Opt out of Internet and a home phone- use the coffee shop and library if possible.
- Have a roommate.
- Move home with parents to save up for awhile.
- Cook at home. Find meals you can freeze and pack your lunch.
- Buy a car you can afford. Think about your dream car later down the road. You don’t need this extra payment.
- Use what you already have.
- Cut coupons for items you actually need- groceries, toilet paper, medicine, etc… Don’t clip coupons for items you don’t need. You may actually spend MORE money.
- Save your loose change.
- Establish a budget.
- Don’t put it on a credit card, unless you HAVE to. Only buy what you can afford.
- Create small goals and work towards them.
I am still working on many of my own goals. It takes time to create a habit and a lifestyle. I feel that recognition is the first step to achieving a dream. For my fellow Gen Y’ers, some of these tips may help you down a path to homeownership- a very important aspect of life. My team works specifically with first time home buyers, and we love providing information and tools to help out in the home search.