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Narcissistic, broke, and 6 other ways to describe the Millennial generation

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This new generation of adults — portrayed most recently in HBO’s Girls — has proved quite difficult to define, but not for lack of trying

Who are the Millennials? Aside from being born in the 1980s and 1990s, they comprise a generation that continues to elude a neat definition. With the popularity of HBO’s Girls, whose main character thinks she’s the voice of this new generation (“Or at least a voice. Of a generation.”), Millennials have come under renewed focus in the media, among the literati, and in the boardrooms of marketers trying to pinpoint what this demographic wants. Here, eight ways that Millennials have been described:

1. They’re spendthrifts… Studies show that Millennials, who have been swamped by ad campaigns since they were in the crib, are more likely than their elders to spend big, “especially on new technologies,” says Julie Halpert at The Fiscal Times. These studies say Millennials are addicted to instant gratification, and view new gadgets as needs, not wants. Millennials are also “the fastest-growing demographic of those who purchase luxury goods,” says Rachel Krause at The Frisky, engaging in the kind of “lavish, indiscriminate consumerism” that will lead to the “death rattle” of their bank accounts.

2. …And they’re broke A new survey shows that 25 percent of Millennials “reported not having enough money to cover their basic needs,” a much higher percentage than older generations, says Corilyn Shropshire at Business Insider. Millennials have been hit hard by the recession, and are weighed down by ever-growing mountains of student debt. They’re also less financially literate than their parents, and “the lack of financial savvy among Millennials could have a trickle-down effect with detrimental consequences for society,” says Hadley Malcom at USA Today.

Full story at The Week.

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