Let's be honest, Millennials have gotten a raw deal ever since someone coined the 'millennial' moniker for those born between 1981 and 1996. If people aren't blaming them for killing off industries like fast casual dining chains, cereal or golf, Millennials are negatively stereotyped for being entitled, dependent on their parents, and emotionally fragile.
Now, these early-20-to-mid-30-somethings are set to become the largest generation in 2019, which means they will begin having a huge influence on American culture and consumption thanks to their trillion-dollar purchasing power. Experts say that because Millennials are far more likely to purchase services/experiences over goods like housing, furniture or cars, the economy will likely shift in unexpected ways.
After all, Millennials have already faced a lot of challenges. They came of age while two wars raged overseas and the Great Recession hollowed out the American economy just as they were getting ready to join it. One recent estimate shows Millennials even earn 20 percent less than their Baby Boomer parents did at their age. Combine that with housing shortages in cities across the U.S., poor market performance, and the lack of quality jobs, Millennials are facing some huge challenges over the next decade.
Fortunately, it doesn't have to be that hard. WalletHub gathered data on all 50 states to determine where Millennials can maximize their earning and social potentials. From how many Millennials live in the state, to the millennial voter-turnout rate, the personal finance website has helped narrow down where you can best save or spend your money on fun experiences.
If you're looking for a lot of like-minded people around your age, you should start by searching for a place in Washington D.C. The District of Columbia not only boasts the highest percentage of Millennials in the U.S., they also have some of the highest salaries. California is another good option as many Millennials living there earn good money.
However, finding cheap housing can be a big challenge for many - especially for those in high-rent areas like California and the District of Columbia. If you're looking to save money on rent, places like West Virgina, Iowa and Arkansas are much easier on the wallet. If you want to purchase a home, many Millennials were able to buy one in Delaware, Iowa and West Virginia. Oregon, California and New York had the lowest share of millennial homeownership.
Because Millennials came of age during the Great Recession, financial challenges can be one of the biggest things holding someone back. Dr. Kendall Bronk, from Claremont Graduate University, points out that Millennials have needed to take out student loans for their education, which can create greater economic uncertainty.
Dr. Bronk says that poor financial literacy has led many Millennials to use "alternative financial services."
"Rather than relying on traditional banks, they are more likely to use rent-to-own products, payday loans, and tax refund advances. They are also more likely to participate in the sharing economy (e.g. Uber, Airbnb, etc.) than previous generations, and they tend to spend on experiences more than on products," Dr. Bronk said.
But, as Millennials have already discovered, money isn't everything. In fact, Dr. Bronk says many in that generation put a high priority on doing work that matters to them.
"Compared to earlier generations, they are more likely to seek purpose-driven work roles. This means employers need to convey to millennials the larger purpose behind what they do," Dr. Bronk said. Rather than emphasizing benefits and work-life balance, for instance, a hospital system interested in attracting millennials would want to highlight the hospital’s larger purpose of caring for sick and injured people.
But, Millennials aren't infallible as Professor Charles Fay from Rutgers University points out. Professor Fay says one of the most common mistakes Millennials make, is them not wanting to pay their dues when they first embark on their career.
"They seem to expect that they should be making major decisions for and contributions to the organization and feel short-changed in a minor, supporting role. I see very bright students who have little clue about how much they have to learn about the real world before they will be real contributors and worth the money they get."