When it comes to money, Millennials are no different to anyone else. Except when they are. October 04, 2016

When it comes to money, Millennials are no different to anyone else. Except when they are.

It's no secret that Millennials get a bad rap. The stereotypical image of this group is that they are lazy, unmotivated, materialistic, demanding, and entitled in the workplace. But how true is this?

To find out the truth, Edentify recently ran a "pop-up" online research community to talk to Millennials on their own terms, and in a research environment that is ideally suited to them. We invited over 70 people aged in their 20s from Sydney and Melbourne to participate in a qualitative discussion about money and careers over 3 days. This research has unearthed some insights that expose some of the myths about Millennials in Australia.

This is a group often criticised for their attitudes towards their careers and money. However the research reveals that in many ways the fundamental attitudes of young people in Australia are greatly misunderstood.

Common financial goals
It's clear that the financial goals and ambitions of the Millennials are not so different after all: they want to have a successful and stable career, and long for the financial security that this brings.

Far from feeling entitled, they know they need to work hard to get there, so going to university and working hard is a priority. They are willing to dedicate time and money towards setting themselves up for their career.

What's different?
So why are these Millennials seen as entitled and materialistic? Perhaps it stems from the unique set of circumstances they find themselves in.

The most notable of these is the cost of housing, and in particular the high cost of buying a house. Whereas their parents' generation were able to buy houses in their 20s, today that is an unrealistic dream in the major cities, despite their strong desire to do so.

For some, this is motivating, and sets them on a course of saving and sacrificing to reach their goal. For others, it pushes this goal further into the future or even prompts them to forego the idea of home ownership altogether.

With the burden of home ownership looming large, the effect of this is seen in attitudes towards purchase decisions generally. With limited resources, they are discerning with how they spend their money.

So what?
It's important to remember that whatever differences there are among the Millennials, they are less to do with who they are, and more to do with their experiences and circumstances.

For marketers, there are several implications.

Experiences are valuable
The material things that older generations see as important aren't always important to Millennials. Buying a house or a car is a serious commitment that could get in the way of them travelling or working overseas. You need more than just a product – a story or a cause will appeal to their emotional needs.

Utility is paramount
Their decisions aren't as materialistic or superficial as they seem. That new phone? It has a dozen different apps to help their lives run more smoothly. Your product needs a purpose to give them a reason to justify choosing it.

They're not kids
Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that the Millennials aren't kids any more. They are working hard and building serious careers. They have their own priorities now and even though they might be different to older generations, they are every bit as important and legitimate. Treat them with respect.

They aren't all the same
As convenient as it is to generalise about an entire generation, there is still a great deal of difference among Millennials. These broad trends and insights can vary significantly – stereotype at your peril!

To find out more about Edentify's pop-up research communities contact us.

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