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The Millennial Moment: Why Everyone is Paying Attention

Online • November 3, 2015

Join Reuters journalist and author Bobbi Rebell as she tells us what the current millennial moment is all about.

Summary

00:01 Bobbi Rebell: Alright, thank you so much Maricella, and now how did I say your name?

00:04 Maricella: Pretty good!

00:04 Bobbi Rebell: Little better. We're working on it. Anyways, thank you for that wonderful introduction. I'm really honored to be here with all of you. Thank you for taking time out of your day. I know everyone has a lot of things to do so let's get jamming. Alright, welcome to the Millennial Moment. Why everyone seems to be paying attention to millennials these days. I myself started paying attention more and more because these young people kept coming up in my reporting. There were a lot of assumptions out there about how this generation was going to be as they grew up and got into the workplace. A lot of them are previously untrue as they get older and more into adult society. And because of this year's size of the Millennial Generation, we have no choice but to pay attention, and that's actually a good thing because there's a lot that we can all learn from this generation. And hopefully that if you are a Millennial on this call you can teach us.

00:57 Bobbi Rebell: Ironically, while they came into adulthood in a very unique time with social media and technology and 9/11, the recession and so on, millennials are actually a lot like the Baby Boomers and we will talk more about that, too. But first, let's talk about who are the millennials?

01:15 Bobbi Rebell: So for many years they were simply known as Generation Y because they followed Generation X. The exact date range for millennials vary depending on who you ask, but generally they were born between 1980 and 2000. A lot of data and studies that are coming out focus on adult millennials and the range they give there is 18 to 34. It's kind of a sweet spot for advertisers and for marketers, so that is sort of the range that we see a lot and a lot of the surveys that I get as a reporter are focusing on the 18 to 34-year-old millennials.

01:49 Bobbi Rebell: You might notice that a lot of movies seem to be suspiciously geared towards this age group that is obviously no accident. Now as they grow into adulthood, millennials are actually proving to have a lot of the same values as the Baby Boom generation and if anything they are actually very different from the Gen X'ers that preceded them and that flows into a lot of aspects of their life whether it's how they raise their children, how they focus on charity, the way that they act in the workplace. And speaking of the workplace, they are currently, recently this happened, just a few are the largest generation in terms of workforces. Pew Research found there are 53-and-a-half million millennials in the workforce. That works up to about a third of all workers as of the first quarter of this year. By comparison, there are 52.7 million Gen X'ers and 44.6 million Baby Boomers. I know that's a lot of numbers, I'm not gonna do that many numbers through the presentation, but it is significant, and of course I have to talk about them and their love of documenting their lives.

02:51 Bobbi Rebell: One thing about millennials, you can see from the photo that I chose here, they love taking selfies and they love sharing selfies. They are, according to Pew Research, going to be the most documented generation in history. Most self-documented, I should say. Millennials turn more than twice as many selfies as Gen X'ers, 55% versus 24%, Baby Boomers pretty far behind at just 9%. Alright, let's talk about financial grown-ups in the Millennial Generation. I'm not gonna talk too much about my book, hopefully I'll come back in the spring and talk more about that, but as you guys know the book is about coming into adulthood and learning to make adult financial decisions. So I thought that might be interesting to point out a few fabulous Millennial women who are making their mark as financial grown-ups. The first one, sort of a poster child for this generation and being mighty smart is Taylor Swift. She made a big impression in her battle and how brief it was frankly with Apple because she won pretty quickly.

03:52 Bobbi Rebell: When Apple launched their Apple Music, they offered customers three months free which sounded pretty good to the customers, but they didn't consult the artists before agreeing to give away the artists' music for free. Well, Taylor did not like that at all and as you know she stood up before taking her music off Spotify, for example. Being a Millennial, Taylor did not pick up the phone or request a meeting or threatened a lawsuit. She simply turned to social media and wrote on her Tumblr page to Apple Executives saying "We don't ask you for free iPhones, so don't ask us to provide our music with no compensation." So needless to say, Taylor had the last laugh there. Another one, Amy Schumer, also a great example of a Millennial financial grown-up. She was a rising star and that was, I think was a really great book deal, book publishing deal for $500,000.

04:44 Bobbi Rebell: I am not getting that much for my book, to say the least. But her star kept rising and she got another offer subsequently boosted it to a million dollars. Then Amy said she was gonna be even bigger and she was gonna have a huge breakout on a show with a hit on Comedy Central and she had a big movie coming up so she cancelled that deal, gave back the money, and waited. And if you've been reading the papers you would know that recently she signed a deal for a reported $8 million. She may not have a lot of friends up in the publishing industry, but I think she's okay with that and laughing all the way to the bank.

05:18 Bobbi Rebell: And then finally I wanna talk about actress Jessica Alba who at 34 is at the older end of the Millennial age range. She created The Honest Company. It is now a billion-dollar brand. They sell a lot of organic, socially-responsible, baby and healthcare products. Perfect for the Millennial crowd. Really shrewd, shrewd business mind there, I think, to tap into this market. Right as it was looking for these kind of products and right as they are kind of moving into setting up a new household, starting to get married, have families. And she recently expanded it to a beauty line called Honest Beauty. I would not be surprised as a financial reporter if the Honest Company went public at some point and I found myself covering Jessica Alba's IPL. We'd be on to something. I should say not her personal life; it'd be on the company.

06:06 Bobbi Rebell: Let's talk a little bit about growing up Millennial. The reality is most millennials are not famous singers, comedians, or actresses turned mobile. Most, in fact, have had their own financial grown-up life delayed for a variety of reasons, many of them having nothing to do with things that are in their control. So let's look a little bit at how the Millennial grew up.

06:29 Bobbi Rebell: First of all, helicopter parents. So helicopter parents were all the rage during their childhood. The kids got a lot of attention. It was the age of over-parenting. You know the scenario: Everybody gets a trophy; no one moves away a loser; and everyone is the most special person on the planet. What happens now that they're adults is we are seeing the results. Millennials have gotten and continue to get more emotional and financial assistance from their parents than previous generations. About 74% receive financial support from their parents that's according to a 2013 car poll. In fact, they even often wanna bring their parents to work. We've heard stories about young people bringing their parents on job interviews; having their parents intervene if they don't like the job offer that they're getting. Google is a huge employer of millennials. They even have Take Your Parents to Work day.

07:27 Bobbi Rebell: So there's irony there. Irony here as well. And it also points to what many believe is a trend of millennials acting more like Baby Boomers than Gen X'ers as they become parents. New Day's actually showing that millennials are more laid-back as they become parents, kind of a reaction to how they grew up. They feel okay getting kind of B in parenting. If they're happier, they feel more balanced versus their own parents aside for hyper perfection waving them. They're sort of taking it a little bit easier. We'll see how that evolves as their children get older, they get into school more, into applying for college. But for now, they're taking a more laid-back attitude.

08:10 Bobbi Rebell: Another thing that informed the way millennials approach adulthood, they grew up witnessing the great recession. That took its toll. Millennials are very cautious about investing and very cautious about buying big ticket items. They don't wanna take on debt, especially given all the student debt that they have, which we're gonna get to in just one second. They shy away from credit card debt as much as possible. In fact, that avoidance of credit has actually hurt their credit scores because not taking out credit cards the way other generations have, means there's less of a track record of their borrowing history. And as they grow up and wanna buy a house, or even a car, or even lease a car, they don't have the same track record and they don't have maybe as good a credit score as they should have because they don't have this history of borrowing money as much beyond the student debt.

09:04 Bobbi Rebell: And let's talk about that student debt. That's sort of the elephant in the room for all millennials. Young people are carrying massive student debt. Right now there is $1.3 trillion of student debt nationally out there. And according to NerdWallet, that works out to about $35,000 a person. That is a big weight on many young people's shoulders. And it is something that informs the financial decisions and really all the decisions that they make because it is the focus of their lives and they really wanna get rid of it. We'll talk more about that in a sec.

09:36 Bobbi Rebell: So, let's talk now about millennials in the workforce. I said earlier that they are now the biggest group in the workforce, one-third according to Pew Research. And by 2020, millennials will be 50% of the US workforce. They are also the first digital native in the workforce. They do not really know a time when we didn't have digital connectivity. A recent TWC survey points out that they are the first generation literally to grow up with broadband, smartphones, laptops, and, of course, social media. So their expectations are very different. They expect instant information and quick results.

10:14 Bobbi Rebell: They are also self-focused, self-centered, but not in a selfish way. We hear a lot of the word 'entitled.' And while there is some validity to that, I think it's important that we understand that it's not as simple as simply saying "they feel entitled." They want to feel that they're in a job where they are improving themselves in some way. They grew up in a universe where their parents were always telling them that they were the center of the universe. And so, when they go to a job, it's an adjustment. And they have to adjust to the bigger world and to different generations, just as different generations have to adjust to them. So they're looking to contribute, but they do put themselves first and they do want to make sure that the job is working for them.

11:04 Bobbi Rebell: They can come across as entitled, that's a fair assessment in many cases, but I think it's important that we take a step back and sort of understand why that is happening. They are committed to their personal learning and development. That is what they say is the most important thing in surveys done by TWC. They want to focus on their own enjoyment of the job, and they want a job that they look forward to going to. They need to have a purpose, not just a paycheck. So they seek purpose-driven work. This is especially true when it comes to work-life balance versus a cash reward. They really wanna have flexible working hours. So the good news about that is because they want the flexibility, they also are willing to give on the other side. So, because they're often wanting to work from home, they're also more accessible and the lines become much more blurred between work and personal life.

12:01 Bobbi Rebell: So while you may not have an employee who is in the office all the time, you also have an employee who may not mind being called after hours or on weekend. The lines are just much more blurry. And while they absolutely do want to get paid, cash is really not the top priority, it's third on the list in that TWC study. They want to make money, but they truly value work-life balance and that's really what they feel is non-negotiable. Alright, let's talk a little bit about screen-time. Millennials at work are very focused on their screens, computer screens, tablet screens, and of course, smartphone screens. 41% would rather, would prefer to communicate electronically versus face-to-face or even over the telephone. Boston filter group found 37% of the younger millennials said they feel as if they are missing something if they are not on Facebook or Twitter every day, that's compared to 23% of non-millennials. And one of my recent call-ins actually touched on this phenomenon and why it's important that we adapt to this culture.

13:06 Bobbi Rebell: It's not necessarily such a bad thing to be tied into technology. Just as I mentioned before, the blurred lines should be embraced, not fought against, because we can make that work for the greater good and keep everyone together and have more flexibility but yet have more productivity as well. So rather than putting a negative spin on the social-media centered culture, it may make more sense to actually encourage millennials to embrace it and to leverage it. It is what it is, so why fight it? You're not gonna be able to change them so it's better to adapt to them. There are also advantages to being tied to the screen that actually makes sense for business and can actually help businesses. For example, one thing that I wrote about in my column would be benefits of constant connectivity is that they get instant answers. If you ask a Millennial for something and they don't know, they're gonna immediately look down at their smart-phone and find it out, or go to the computer, tablet, whatever, and crowd-source among their friends, among their peers, among other social groups, whatever it may be, they will find answers.

14:11 Bobbi Rebell: I recently had a question for a co-worker, and she just went online to her various social media channels, did a quick survey, and came back to me with some really useful information that is going to inform part of my book and how I present things. And that came from an instant survey, just because, since she didn't know the answer she just instantly pulled up a survey and was able to get some feedback for me immediately. And that's something really exciting for the workplace, because you can get this instant feedback about different decisions and different things that you may be considering doing or not doing. So I would advise people to just go with it. It may seem annoying that they always have their heads down looking at their phone, although to some degree we all do. But even though they're doing that, they're also connected to work more, they're connected to their social world. It can make work more enjoyable for them and keep them more productive, and it can also help retain millennials, because they do, they will leave if they're not happy. Work is something that has to work for their greater overall lives, and they don't feel as compelled to be tied to a job simply to get a paycheck.

15:22 Bobbi Rebell: Alright, let's talk a little bit about social values of millennials at work. They want to work for employers that share their social values. 64% of millennials would rather make $40,000 a year at a job that they love, versus $100,000 at a job that they think is boring. This comes from two experts on millennials that I interviewed recently for a column. They found that 63% of millennials want their employers to contribute to social or ethical causes that they feel is important. About half of older Gen X'ers and Boomers felt the same. So millennials, they really wanna be part of the movement and they want to be working for companies that are in alignment with that same ethical concern and that same concern to be part of something bigger. And then they also again witnessed the Great Recession and the lay-offs that came with it, and they don't wanna be dependent on their job for happiness. They know they need more than a pay-check so, why, they don't want to just climb the corporate ladder just to get to the top, because then what? The other thing that they, the other reason that they can afford to work for lower salaries, although of course they all want to make more money, don't we all, is that they aren't tied to so much over-head.

16:36 Bobbi Rebell: They, and we'll talk about this more going forward, but they often don't own a house yet or a car or other things that create over-head, so they don't have as much pressure to constantly get raises and more pay. They can focus on employers that are in alignment with their social values. And millennials also often have something called the side-hustle, which is not unique to them, but is certainly very prominent among millennials. They don't want to get dependent on one source of income, so often at nights or weekends, sometimes remotely, they have these side-jobs where they can get extra skills, extra income, to perhaps pay down that student debt.

17:13 Bobbi Rebell: And it also allows millennials to pursue passion projects if they don't have to work, if they do have to work a 9:00 to 5:00 job that maybe isn't all that fulfilling. They also not only want to work for companies that give to charities, but they also want to give themselves. A recent Merrill Lynch survey found that 58% of individuals aged 25 to 34 gave money to charities, non-profits and causes. The aggregate, I was pretty impressed with this number, $555 was what they were giving to a cause or a charity non-profit in the last 12 months. And they also put their time in, millennials age 25 to 34 this survey was, volunteered an average of 55 hours in the last 12 months.

18:00 Bobbi Rebell: I think that's pretty good, I don't know that a lot of older generations can match that. Certainly not if they're working full-time jobs, hopefully, at this point, and trying to pay down that student debt. What they did do actually has changed a lot versus older generations. We heard a lot about religion with older generations, this is not as popular with millennials. Younger generations are more concerned with giving to animal rights, and I love the picture. I couldn't resist putting this picture on the fly, because these dogs were so beyond super cute, but these are probably not under-privileged dogs, just to put that out there, obviously, but they are so cute.

18:39 Bobbi Rebell: So, 22% volunteered for animal rights, in terms of the percent of millennials that gave to different causes. The environment, also a really, really important cause for millennials. They grew up in an era where they heard about climate change, we're still hearing about it so much and the big issues, so it is not surprising that they care a lot about the environment and then 18% were volunteering for human rights causes.

19:03 Bobbi Rebell: Look, this is an age where not only was gay marriage legalized, it is celebrated. We have transsexuals starring in reality TV shows and being embraced. Millennials are a very accepting and nonjudgmental generation when it comes to human rights. So I was really not surprised to see these causes as the top causes among millennials. Alright, let's talk a little bit about Millennial money habits, millennials as investors. So they're starting to make more money, and think about investing, but for the most part, until recently, and this is starting to change as more and more people get jobs, they were very much on the sidelines with cash. Part of this, as I said, is because they simply do not have the money to invest and what they do have, they are using to pay down that student debt, but they also saw their parents have their savings and investments pretty much destroyed in the great recession. It took a really long time for the markets to come back. So they are very cautious about where they put their money, and they've really seen a lot of damage done.

20:04 Bobbi Rebell: They want to get into the market, but they're waiting and they're being very careful and they're definitely seeking advice. They even seek advice when making major purchases right now. Because they want advice... So this is good news, actually for a lot of professions, not the least of which is financial advisers, because they do want that advice, but they also are using automated services for investing like robo-adviser, so we've seen a whole crop of robo-adviser companies come up like Wealthfront and Betterment because of this generation and they're much more accessible than some of the old-school financial institutions because they require as little as $500 to get started, some are even free to get started if you meet certain parameters, and they're much more acceptable and friendly for them, and they can also be used in tandem with these financial advisers with a lower cost alternative, so that's had a lot of appeal. Some millennials as they start really getting more on top of their financial lives. So millennials also have more access to information, really, than any other generation. Now what's happening there, is that they're becoming much more aware of the fees that are involved in any kind of investing.

21:13 Bobbi Rebell: And so, you have a lot of ETF and index funds that are popular. You also have more awareness of the fees involved in things like 401Ks, and I recently interviewed Tony Robbins, the author and entrepreneur and speaker about this issue, he's come out very strong about all the fees that are hidden, regarding 401Ks. A lot of people don't realize that it is not their employer paying the fee, very often it is the employees themself. There was recent legislation that forced the companies to at least disclose these fees, but a lot of people don't really know where to look for the information. So it's gonna be interesting to see if there's a shift to different kinds of investments and if there's pressure on companies, as their young employees become more aware of the fees associated with 401Ks and what kind of changes that'll bring to the mutual fund industry and to the companies that run the 401Ks going forward.

22:09 Bobbi Rebell: But in terms of priority, nothing trumps student debt with this generation. It is the number one most important thing that they talk about, it is something that's growing, in fact, as a benefit for companies that are looking to attract millennials, TWC in fact recently announced a plan where they provide student debt relief as a benefit, just like many companies provide 401Ks and yoga classes. This is a benefit that I think is gonna gain a lot of attraction with this generation especially among companies that want to attract millennials to their workforce. It is much more important to millennials than buying a home, they will delay forming a new household and really starting to save for retirement because they want to pay down the student debt. It is such a huge burden for them that that is really the focus. As I mentioned, they are delaying buying a home and are simply renting more, but in many cases, millennials are living at home, the image of the 20-something living with mom and dad has completely changed.

23:11 Bobbi Rebell: I think that movies that used to come out like "Failure to Launch" with Matthew McConaughey and Sarah Jessica Parker where you've got the slacker just living at home with mom. No real reason to move out because mom's doing the laundry and they're just hanging out, spending time with their buddies, living life. That's not what's happening now. Now you have millennials who are living at home because it is a smart and savvy economic move. They can bank their money, they can pay down their student debt, they can save up for a down payment for a home, and they can proactively take charge of their life before starting to form their own household. But, now the older millennials are forming households they're moving towards 35-years-old and that is gonna mean big changes for the real estate market which is actually really good news, because we did have that housing bubble that we've moved past, but we do wanna gain traction in the housing market. So they're moving into the housing market, but in a very different way than previous generations.

24:09 Bobbi Rebell: It used to be more is more, people wanted these McMansions, they had all these bonus rooms, they had a yoga room. We heard stories about gift wrapping rooms and all these extra things. Not so much for this generation. They want a smaller footprint. They want more eco-friendly houses. They don't have the emotional attachment to a physical home and the strong desire to own the biggest, best place at any cost. There's entire reality TV shows about tiny homes and a real embracing of a home that just doesn't have to cost that much money so that you have extra money to have experiences and live life.

24:44 Bobbi Rebell: People don't wanna be burdened with a huge mortgage and buying lots of stuff for a home. Remember a big home you have to furnish, you have to take care of, there's more maintenance. They wanna be able to go out and have experiences and have the money for that, have the time for that. They don't wanna spend the whole weekend just doing maintenance on a house. So smaller footprint houses are what's selling and that's gonna be tough as people retire and wanna sell these McMansions because there is not a big market for those. So it's great news for entry level houses and smaller houses, but the big, McMansions of the past could spend a lot of time on the market. So that's gonna be a tough reality for the real estate business.

25:22 Bobbi Rebell: Let's also talk about what millennials like to buy, technology. Technology is no longer optional. This is not a discretionary thing for millennials. It is a necessity. They must be connected at all times. They also value experiences. So that's gonna be a really good thing for the travel industry. People wanna get out, have adventure, travel. As they get older, my sources in the travel industry are telling me that that is evolving a little bit. It makes more sense when they have kids, they're staying a little bit closer to home. But they still wanna have these experiences whether they have children or not. They wanna get out and do things, going back to the whole theme, they don't wanna be bogged down making those huge house payments and spending a lot of time on home maintenance, they wanna live life.

26:05 Bobbi Rebell: Fashion. Fashion is a tricky one. So far millennials have not had the same lure towards high-end designer goods that we've seen in previous generations like Gen X. They've access to fast fashion so they can look pretty up-to-date for not that much money. And there really hasn't been a big driving must-have fashion trend like generations in the past. It's a lot more tied to having the right technology, less so having the right handbag or the right shoes. They're much more individual and there's a lot less peer pressure to buy something like a $3,000 handbag. That's not to say someone doesn't of course, but the money is really shifting from high-end luxury to experiences like adventure travel. And what I'm being told is gonna happen as they start to have families is some of that is now gonna trickle down even to their children and those kind of expenses.

27:00 Bobbi Rebell: And then finally, I wanna talk about the culture of sharing. This is a big thing for millennials. It could change as they get older and have families. I wrote a whole column about that because it's great to do Zipcar when you only need a car for a couple of quick runs. But the truth is when you have a one and a three-year-old and you've got all their car seats, you may actually buy, or at least lease a car. So this could evolve a little bit. But as it evolves of course the generation behind them will embrace sharing because I think it has become a huge part of the culture. So it's gonna evolve and we'll see how that goes. But there is definitely a feeling of why buy when you can rent or share.

27:37 Bobbi Rebell: They don't really feel the drive to own just for the sake of owning the goods, everything from houses to cars and so on. So for example, clothing. Previous generations will look down on used clothing, something you would do only if you couldn't afford to buy new clothing. Or maybe you would get something vintage-y for a costume party or you really wanted something unique, you wanted something that literally no one else had, you would go to that store.

28:00 Bobbi Rebell: Now technology has changed all that and we have all these clothing rental businesses where if you have a big event you can rent a dress, you can emulate the stars that you are seeing on Instagram without a huge financial commitment. So millennials really like the idea of temporary things. There's a lot less emphasis on having a ton of stuff. They want to have the freedom to change. They've been changing their smartphones every two years so why commit to something else? And this comes up even when it comes to something like buying a car. Their needs are gonna change and they're very aware of that. So to a lot of millennials for a column that I wrote about this, and found that millennials were leasing cars more than buying them in large part because they were able to keep the same payment level, but maybe get a better car. They also talked to me a lot about liking the flexibility and not having to commit. Car technology keeps changing just like those phones. So if they're changing their phone every couple of years why not change their car every couple of years and kinda know that they have the most up-to-date technology.

29:00 Bobbi Rebell: Old logic doesn't really make sense to them. Why would you wanna own a car for 11 years? The car that they need in three years is not necessarily what they would buy right now. And they know that so much in their life is gonna change so why bother. Changing life stages, the car you want as a single person is not the one you would really want when you have, like I said, a one and a three-year-old and you really have to kinda deal with it and get that SUV that you maybe don't really wanna get, but you have to get.

29:29 Bobbi Rebell: So as I mentioned they embrace clothing, especially for social occasions. Like I said they see constant Instagrams and celebrities and one way to emulate it is to rent it. They also wanna have experiences that they can't even afford just yet because they are so busy paying down that student debt. So a great option that has made travel a lot more accessible for millennials is Airbnb. The flipside of course is some people can make money on Airbnb, that could be a side hustle on your own if you are a Millennial and have a home that you can put on Airbnb.

30:00 Bobbi Rebell: It's very interesting like I said to see how the sharing economy changes as they become more grown up. I don't know if millennials with children are really gonna wanna do Airbnb as much. But I do believe the sharing economy will continue, just with different generations. I don't think that's changing... It's just something that people may adapt as they get older and kind of use or don't use whatever makes sense. So, sharing one end is just gonna move to the next generation.

30:24 Bobbi Rebell: So, as for me, thank you so much for the introduction which mentioned my book, 'Financial Grownup.' As you heard it features stories and advice from some of the most amazing role models, including the inspiring Sallie Krawcheck. Other people in the book include Kevin O'Leary from "Shark Tank" and Jim Cramer from "Mad Money." We have PwC's Bob Moritz. I quoted a lot of PwC's statistics... They put a big focus on financial literacy and studying millennials so... That of course is included in the book. We also have Heather Thompson from "The Real Housewives," I think we mentioned, Dottie Herman from Douglas Elliman. Lots of great names giving answers about how they came to terms with being a financial grownup, and giving advice on how really anyone... Whether they're millennials or any age can kind of learn to focus on their financial life and make proactive decisions, and get their life together financially, and do well.

31:20 Bobbi Rebell: So in the meantime, please stay in touch with me, and follow me on Twitter. I have my Twitter handle up there on the screen. And, of course, please join my mailing list so I can keep you updated on my book. So thank you very much.

31:33 Maricella: Thank you, Bobbi, for all the great insights about this generation, which is increasingly being more important to the business world. As a reminder to everyone, please submit any questions you have for Bobbi through the chat function... It's on the left side of your screen. I will be happy to queue them up. Let me get started with a few over here. "If millennials are in the 18-34 age range, are there a lot of differences among the millennials group? I'm at the older range, close to 34, and I don't really feel like a Millennial."

32:10 Bobbi Rebell: Well, that's actually a great question because what's happening now is a lot of the data that crosses my desk is actually being split into the younger millennials and the older millennials and they are starting to be broken down a lot because, as you mentioned, you are 34-years-old, you have not that much in common with an 18-year-old. So we are gonna start breaking this down and we will start talking more about that, and the older ones are really, as I mentioned, starting to form families. They're the ones that are starting to move to the suburbs. And really surprising a lot of people because, for example, when you talk about real estate, many people thought that this was gonna be a very urban generation.

32:47 Bobbi Rebell: And what's happening now is as people become older and approach 35, getting near that crucial big number... They are acting more like Baby Boomers and moving to the suburbs and having children... Doing all these things that people maybe thought they weren't gonna do, or it's delayed but it's happening now. And they are starting to focus on retirement, and focus more on investing, and it is a time when I think a lot of financial professionals are very interested in the older millennials because they do have more income, obviously at this point, and they have moved out of their parents homes. They might be renting, and rental prices are a lot higher because of that. But they want to be buying a home. They want to be moving into full adulthood and not living at home and not delaying their adulthood anymore and being a lot more proactive. So, it'll be interesting to see how that evolves, but I definitely agree... We're seeing a big split.

33:45 Maricella: Great. Thank you. Here's a question coming in that says, "Any research or opinion on female millennials and their interest in a financial services career. What is their perception of the industry?"

33:58 Bobbi Rebell: That is interesting. It's evolving a lot right now. As I mentioned, there are Robo-Advisors, so there's a lot that can be done on an automated basis. But I think what's happening with millennials that is really interesting is that they have, because they are digital natives, they also are evolving to appreciate the... I hate to call it this, but the human element.

34:20 Bobbi Rebell: And I think that there is going to be this appreciation for having a combination... Sort of a hybrid financial advisor... Where you have maybe the execution of your financial planning is done through a Robo-Advisor, but you're also consulting a CFP, for example, maybe doing check-ins once or twice a year with a CFP because... The Robo-Advisors are phenomenal, but there might be things that a Robo-Advisor might not know to ask in a survey and this kind of thing. So I think that they're very complimentary. So I think it'll be interesting to see how millennials merge those two, but there is definitely an appreciation of the human contact and having an actual person work with you on your finances and your goals and asking you questions in a real conversation. I think they're gonna be complimentary.

35:10 Maricella: Thanks so much. Next question: "Can you talk a little bit more about millennials and work-life balance?"

35:18 Bobbi Rebell: Okay. Millennials, I think, I keep thinking about this word "entitled" and how much it bothers me that people say that about millennials. But what happens is very often they come into the work force, they're doing a good job, but maybe they're much more quick to ask for something like a sabbatical very early in their careers versus other generations maybe might be aware that it's available but they don't necessarily take it. They'll take their vacation days versus an older generation might be... Might know that they have vacation days and not really take it. So, they're more proactive about making sure that they balance their life and take advantage of every benefit in that area that a company offers.

36:00 Bobbi Rebell: And doing, actually taking a day and doing a volunteer day and doing those things versus older generations might be aware that they have those, but they're so focused on making their numbers, keeping their job and climbing up the corporate ladder that they don't necessarily take advantage of them. We'll see how things adapt. One area that we have seen that in is the changes in leave of absence when people have children. Millennial men especially are much more open to taking a paternity leave even while their wives are taking maternity leave and I think in generations past they would not necessarily do that.

36:39 Bobbi Rebell: So it's much more socially acceptable to have work-life balance. You don't have to say "I have an emergency doctor appointment" when you're really going to your kids soccer game or something. You can say it out loud, it's much more socially accepted, and you won't be judged harshly. In fact, in many cases, people will applaud, the fact that you have a work-life balance and that you're not considered a workaholic, even though that was embraced in older generations.

37:04 Maricella: Do you think they get a bad rep?

37:06 Bobbi Rebell: I think it's mixed. I think there's an adjustment period going on and I think we'll see. But I think that the older people in the office often are workaholics and don't quite understand what's going on. But again as I said, they're still gonna be 50% of the workforce. Right now millennials are dominant in terms of their numbers but they aren't necessarily the bosses. That's gonna change. And that's gonna change a lot of things. I did a story on tattoos, and I interviewed a law professor who had a couple tattoos herself. And she was advising her students to always get them in places that can be hidden when they go to work, depending on the profession that they have. Especially if you want a white collar profession, she said you have to hide them. But what she expects to happen is as millennials become the bosses, they're gonna come out of hiding and there's gonna be a lot more visible tattoos and such in the workforce. So I think, right now they're dominant in terms of numbers, like I said. They're not in charge, but they are gonna be in charge pretty quickly and I think that that will continue to change the culture.

38:03 Maricella: Interesting. Thank you. I have one more question here. If there's any other questions coming through, please just submit them through the chat function. Yes. We do have a few coming through. The next one says, it sounds like the student loan burden has not impacted millennials job priorities much when it comes to salary versus mission/interest. Do you think the desire to move into the housing market will a few years down the road?

38:31 Bobbi Rebell: I do think it will. I think that millennials do prioritize paying down their student debt, but they're doing it in a different way. For example, they might take a job that pays a little less money that agrees with their social values, but they might live at home to save money and therefore use that as a way to pay down student debt. And they also might have a side hustle as I mentioned and use that to pay down student debt. It's not that they're not prioritizing student debt. They absolutely want to get that monkey off their back, but they are finding different ways and they're making different kinds of compromises to achieve that goal.

39:07 Maricella: Great, thank you. This is an interesting one. Tell us more about millennials and politics. What impact are they expected to have on the 2016 presidential election?

39:18 Bobbi Rebell: I thought about this question and I thought someone might ask me that, and the truth is I'm really more of a financial reporter, so I don't wanna go too far into that. What I would say is that I think that millennials are very open-minded and I think that they probably don't vote in big numbers in this coming election. I think that they will be influenced by social media. I'm kind of stating the obvious. I think it's very interesting who is leading in the polls. Not the classic politicians, and just the fact that even on a Democrat side, you do have Bernie Sanders who is at least getting a lot of attention. Obviously Hillary is clearly ahead of him right now, but I think that they are a lot more open-minded about having non-professional politicians in the White House and in other offices. That could be really interesting. Not just with this election, but with future elections. That they are moving away from that box where someone is a politician. I think they are much more open to having people from all kinds of walks of life, take political office.

40:18 Maricella: Thank you so much Bobbi. I think those are all the questions we have. Actually. I really do just want to thank you for... I do have one last question.

[laughter]

40:40 Maricella: What do you think is influencing millennials social values and causes?

40:44 Bobbi Rebell: I think that they just wanna find more meaning in life. I think they saw their parents generation really get whacked in the great recession and the housing bubble and they think there's more to life than material goods. This is not a materialistic generation. They are about experiences. They want to... It's very idealistic and other generations have been this way, but they really want tangible ways to make the world better. As I mentioned, they are not shy about taking sabbaticals, and there are very often charity projects to go and do something and work on something that has meaning to them as a break, especially for example if they're in a financial field or a banking field and they just want to do something where they feel like they're making the world a better place. Especially before they have a family and don't have the luxury of being able to do that.

41:32 Bobbi Rebell: They want to feel like they are getting more out of their job than just a paycheck because they saw how quickly a job can end. They witnessed the great recession and all the lives that were hurt by that and they don't want to tie themselves to just a job where they get a paycheck and then that's it. They want to actually have done something and have an impact. They also have witnessed tremendous change. When you talk about the changes even I talked about gay marriage and how that has become assumed. Something that was so radical years ago is just a way of life today. They feel that that is important and they wanna focus on social change and human rights and animal rights and environmental causes, and it's very important to them to change the world.

42:17 Maricella: Oh thank you Bobbi, I really do appreciate that you're here with us today talking about this very interesting topic, in my opinion. Thanks everyone for joining us. Are there any final thoughts?

42:29 Bobbi Rebell: No, thank you very much and please join my mailing list.

42:32 Maricella: So you have Bobbi's information on the screen in case you wanna be in touch. Follow her on Twitter. Join her mailing list. Be on the lookout for her book, 'Financial Grownup,' coming up next year. Well, I'll be happy to have you back and talking a little bit about the book, next year once it's out. And if you would like to stay in touch with Ellevate, email us. Our email is info@ellevatenetwork.com. We'd love to hear about your experience today with this new platform as we're testing it out. So any feedback, any thoughts or just to say hello, please drop us a line. Thank you.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM EST

Join Reuters journalist and author Bobbi Rebell as she tells us what the current millennial moment is all about. Topics will include:

  • The different issues millennials are facing that affect their financial situation

  • Millennials as consumers and how their focus is more on experience than on material goods

  • Millennials in the workplace, their unique expectations and definitions of success, as well as the use of social media in their work

  • How millennials leave the nest, form families, have kids, and ultimately "grow up"

Bobbi Rebell is an award winning journalist, millennial personal finance columnist and current Team Leader and Chief Correspondent of Business Video at Reuters. She is in the process of writing a book titled Financial Grownup on financial literacy for millennials.

Summary

00:01 Bobbi Rebell: Alright, thank you so much Maricella, and now how did I say your name?

00:04 Maricella: Pretty good!

00:04 Bobbi Rebell: Little better. We're working on it. Anyways, thank you for that wonderful introduction. I'm really honored to be here with all of you. Thank you for taking time out of your day. I know everyone has a lot of things to do so let's get jamming. Alright, welcome to the Millennial Moment. Why everyone seems to be paying attention to millennials these days. I myself started paying attention more and more because these young people kept coming up in my reporting. There were a lot of assumptions out there about how this generation was going to be as they grew up and got into the workplace. A lot of them are previously untrue as they get older and more into adult society. And because of this year's size of the Millennial Generation, we have no choice but to pay attention, and that's actually a good thing because there's a lot that we can all learn from this generation. And hopefully that if you are a Millennial on this call you can teach us.

00:57 Bobbi Rebell: Ironically, while they came into adulthood in a very unique time with social media and technology and 9/11, the recession and so on, millennials are actually a lot like the Baby Boomers and we will talk more about that, too. But first, let's talk about who are the millennials?

01:15 Bobbi Rebell: So for many years they were simply known as Generation Y because they followed Generation X. The exact date range for millennials vary depending on who you ask, but generally they were born between 1980 and 2000. A lot of data and studies that are coming out focus on adult millennials and the range they give there is 18 to 34. It's kind of a sweet spot for advertisers and for marketers, so that is sort of the range that we see a lot and a lot of the surveys that I get as a reporter are focusing on the 18 to 34-year-old millennials.

01:49 Bobbi Rebell: You might notice that a lot of movies seem to be suspiciously geared towards this age group that is obviously no accident. Now as they grow into adulthood, millennials are actually proving to have a lot of the same values as the Baby Boom generation and if anything they are actually very different from the Gen X'ers that preceded them and that flows into a lot of aspects of their life whether it's how they raise their children, how they focus on charity, the way that they act in the workplace. And speaking of the workplace, they are currently, recently this happened, just a few are the largest generation in terms of workforces. Pew Research found there are 53-and-a-half million millennials in the workforce. That works up to about a third of all workers as of the first quarter of this year. By comparison, there are 52.7 million Gen X'ers and 44.6 million Baby Boomers. I know that's a lot of numbers, I'm not gonna do that many numbers through the presentation, but it is significant, and of course I have to talk about them and their love of documenting their lives.

02:51 Bobbi Rebell: One thing about millennials, you can see from the photo that I chose here, they love taking selfies and they love sharing selfies. They are, according to Pew Research, going to be the most documented generation in history. Most self-documented, I should say. Millennials turn more than twice as many selfies as Gen X'ers, 55% versus 24%, Baby Boomers pretty far behind at just 9%. Alright, let's talk about financial grown-ups in the Millennial Generation. I'm not gonna talk too much about my book, hopefully I'll come back in the spring and talk more about that, but as you guys know the book is about coming into adulthood and learning to make adult financial decisions. So I thought that might be interesting to point out a few fabulous Millennial women who are making their mark as financial grown-ups. The first one, sort of a poster child for this generation and being mighty smart is Taylor Swift. She made a big impression in her battle and how brief it was frankly with Apple because she won pretty quickly.

03:52 Bobbi Rebell: When Apple launched their Apple Music, they offered customers three months free which sounded pretty good to the customers, but they didn't consult the artists before agreeing to give away the artists' music for free. Well, Taylor did not like that at all and as you know she stood up before taking her music off Spotify, for example. Being a Millennial, Taylor did not pick up the phone or request a meeting or threatened a lawsuit. She simply turned to social media and wrote on her Tumblr page to Apple Executives saying "We don't ask you for free iPhones, so don't ask us to provide our music with no compensation." So needless to say, Taylor had the last laugh there. Another one, Amy Schumer, also a great example of a Millennial financial grown-up. She was a rising star and that was, I think was a really great book deal, book publishing deal for $500,000.

04:44 Bobbi Rebell: I am not getting that much for my book, to say the least. But her star kept rising and she got another offer subsequently boosted it to a million dollars. Then Amy said she was gonna be even bigger and she was gonna have a huge breakout on a show with a hit on Comedy Central and she had a big movie coming up so she cancelled that deal, gave back the money, and waited. And if you've been reading the papers you would know that recently she signed a deal for a reported $8 million. She may not have a lot of friends up in the publishing industry, but I think she's okay with that and laughing all the way to the bank.

05:18 Bobbi Rebell: And then finally I wanna talk about actress Jessica Alba who at 34 is at the older end of the Millennial age range. She created The Honest Company. It is now a billion-dollar brand. They sell a lot of organic, socially-responsible, baby and healthcare products. Perfect for the Millennial crowd. Really shrewd, shrewd business mind there, I think, to tap into this market. Right as it was looking for these kind of products and right as they are kind of moving into setting up a new household, starting to get married, have families. And she recently expanded it to a beauty line called Honest Beauty. I would not be surprised as a financial reporter if the Honest Company went public at some point and I found myself covering Jessica Alba's IPL. We'd be on to something. I should say not her personal life; it'd be on the company.

06:06 Bobbi Rebell: Let's talk a little bit about growing up Millennial. The reality is most millennials are not famous singers, comedians, or actresses turned mobile. Most, in fact, have had their own financial grown-up life delayed for a variety of reasons, many of them having nothing to do with things that are in their control. So let's look a little bit at how the Millennial grew up.

06:29 Bobbi Rebell: First of all, helicopter parents. So helicopter parents were all the rage during their childhood. The kids got a lot of attention. It was the age of over-parenting. You know the scenario: Everybody gets a trophy; no one moves away a loser; and everyone is the most special person on the planet. What happens now that they're adults is we are seeing the results. Millennials have gotten and continue to get more emotional and financial assistance from their parents than previous generations. About 74% receive financial support from their parents that's according to a 2013 car poll. In fact, they even often wanna bring their parents to work. We've heard stories about young people bringing their parents on job interviews; having their parents intervene if they don't like the job offer that they're getting. Google is a huge employer of millennials. They even have Take Your Parents to Work day.

07:27 Bobbi Rebell: So there's irony there. Irony here as well. And it also points to what many believe is a trend of millennials acting more like Baby Boomers than Gen X'ers as they become parents. New Day's actually showing that millennials are more laid-back as they become parents, kind of a reaction to how they grew up. They feel okay getting kind of B in parenting. If they're happier, they feel more balanced versus their own parents aside for hyper perfection waving them. They're sort of taking it a little bit easier. We'll see how that evolves as their children get older, they get into school more, into applying for college. But for now, they're taking a more laid-back attitude.

08:10 Bobbi Rebell: Another thing that informed the way millennials approach adulthood, they grew up witnessing the great recession. That took its toll. Millennials are very cautious about investing and very cautious about buying big ticket items. They don't wanna take on debt, especially given all the student debt that they have, which we're gonna get to in just one second. They shy away from credit card debt as much as possible. In fact, that avoidance of credit has actually hurt their credit scores because not taking out credit cards the way other generations have, means there's less of a track record of their borrowing history. And as they grow up and wanna buy a house, or even a car, or even lease a car, they don't have the same track record and they don't have maybe as good a credit score as they should have because they don't have this history of borrowing money as much beyond the student debt.

09:04 Bobbi Rebell: And let's talk about that student debt. That's sort of the elephant in the room for all millennials. Young people are carrying massive student debt. Right now there is $1.3 trillion of student debt nationally out there. And according to NerdWallet, that works out to about $35,000 a person. That is a big weight on many young people's shoulders. And it is something that informs the financial decisions and really all the decisions that they make because it is the focus of their lives and they really wanna get rid of it. We'll talk more about that in a sec.

09:36 Bobbi Rebell: So, let's talk now about millennials in the workforce. I said earlier that they are now the biggest group in the workforce, one-third according to Pew Research. And by 2020, millennials will be 50% of the US workforce. They are also the first digital native in the workforce. They do not really know a time when we didn't have digital connectivity. A recent TWC survey points out that they are the first generation literally to grow up with broadband, smartphones, laptops, and, of course, social media. So their expectations are very different. They expect instant information and quick results.

10:14 Bobbi Rebell: They are also self-focused, self-centered, but not in a selfish way. We hear a lot of the word 'entitled.' And while there is some validity to that, I think it's important that we understand that it's not as simple as simply saying "they feel entitled." They want to feel that they're in a job where they are improving themselves in some way. They grew up in a universe where their parents were always telling them that they were the center of the universe. And so, when they go to a job, it's an adjustment. And they have to adjust to the bigger world and to different generations, just as different generations have to adjust to them. So they're looking to contribute, but they do put themselves first and they do want to make sure that the job is working for them.

11:04 Bobbi Rebell: They can come across as entitled, that's a fair assessment in many cases, but I think it's important that we take a step back and sort of understand why that is happening. They are committed to their personal learning and development. That is what they say is the most important thing in surveys done by TWC. They want to focus on their own enjoyment of the job, and they want a job that they look forward to going to. They need to have a purpose, not just a paycheck. So they seek purpose-driven work. This is especially true when it comes to work-life balance versus a cash reward. They really wanna have flexible working hours. So the good news about that is because they want the flexibility, they also are willing to give on the other side. So, because they're often wanting to work from home, they're also more accessible and the lines become much more blurred between work and personal life.

12:01 Bobbi Rebell: So while you may not have an employee who is in the office all the time, you also have an employee who may not mind being called after hours or on weekend. The lines are just much more blurry. And while they absolutely do want to get paid, cash is really not the top priority, it's third on the list in that TWC study. They want to make money, but they truly value work-life balance and that's really what they feel is non-negotiable. Alright, let's talk a little bit about screen-time. Millennials at work are very focused on their screens, computer screens, tablet screens, and of course, smartphone screens. 41% would rather, would prefer to communicate electronically versus face-to-face or even over the telephone. Boston filter group found 37% of the younger millennials said they feel as if they are missing something if they are not on Facebook or Twitter every day, that's compared to 23% of non-millennials. And one of my recent call-ins actually touched on this phenomenon and why it's important that we adapt to this culture.

13:06 Bobbi Rebell: It's not necessarily such a bad thing to be tied into technology. Just as I mentioned before, the blurred lines should be embraced, not fought against, because we can make that work for the greater good and keep everyone together and have more flexibility but yet have more productivity as well. So rather than putting a negative spin on the social-media centered culture, it may make more sense to actually encourage millennials to embrace it and to leverage it. It is what it is, so why fight it? You're not gonna be able to change them so it's better to adapt to them. There are also advantages to being tied to the screen that actually makes sense for business and can actually help businesses. For example, one thing that I wrote about in my column would be benefits of constant connectivity is that they get instant answers. If you ask a Millennial for something and they don't know, they're gonna immediately look down at their smart-phone and find it out, or go to the computer, tablet, whatever, and crowd-source among their friends, among their peers, among other social groups, whatever it may be, they will find answers.

14:11 Bobbi Rebell: I recently had a question for a co-worker, and she just went online to her various social media channels, did a quick survey, and came back to me with some really useful information that is going to inform part of my book and how I present things. And that came from an instant survey, just because, since she didn't know the answer she just instantly pulled up a survey and was able to get some feedback for me immediately. And that's something really exciting for the workplace, because you can get this instant feedback about different decisions and different things that you may be considering doing or not doing. So I would advise people to just go with it. It may seem annoying that they always have their heads down looking at their phone, although to some degree we all do. But even though they're doing that, they're also connected to work more, they're connected to their social world. It can make work more enjoyable for them and keep them more productive, and it can also help retain millennials, because they do, they will leave if they're not happy. Work is something that has to work for their greater overall lives, and they don't feel as compelled to be tied to a job simply to get a paycheck.

15:22 Bobbi Rebell: Alright, let's talk a little bit about social values of millennials at work. They want to work for employers that share their social values. 64% of millennials would rather make $40,000 a year at a job that they love, versus $100,000 at a job that they think is boring. This comes from two experts on millennials that I interviewed recently for a column. They found that 63% of millennials want their employers to contribute to social or ethical causes that they feel is important. About half of older Gen X'ers and Boomers felt the same. So millennials, they really wanna be part of the movement and they want to be working for companies that are in alignment with that same ethical concern and that same concern to be part of something bigger. And then they also again witnessed the Great Recession and the lay-offs that came with it, and they don't wanna be dependent on their job for happiness. They know they need more than a pay-check so, why, they don't want to just climb the corporate ladder just to get to the top, because then what? The other thing that they, the other reason that they can afford to work for lower salaries, although of course they all want to make more money, don't we all, is that they aren't tied to so much over-head.

16:36 Bobbi Rebell: They, and we'll talk about this more going forward, but they often don't own a house yet or a car or other things that create over-head, so they don't have as much pressure to constantly get raises and more pay. They can focus on employers that are in alignment with their social values. And millennials also often have something called the side-hustle, which is not unique to them, but is certainly very prominent among millennials. They don't want to get dependent on one source of income, so often at nights or weekends, sometimes remotely, they have these side-jobs where they can get extra skills, extra income, to perhaps pay down that student debt.

17:13 Bobbi Rebell: And it also allows millennials to pursue passion projects if they don't have to work, if they do have to work a 9:00 to 5:00 job that maybe isn't all that fulfilling. They also not only want to work for companies that give to charities, but they also want to give themselves. A recent Merrill Lynch survey found that 58% of individuals aged 25 to 34 gave money to charities, non-profits and causes. The aggregate, I was pretty impressed with this number, $555 was what they were giving to a cause or a charity non-profit in the last 12 months. And they also put their time in, millennials age 25 to 34 this survey was, volunteered an average of 55 hours in the last 12 months.

18:00 Bobbi Rebell: I think that's pretty good, I don't know that a lot of older generations can match that. Certainly not if they're working full-time jobs, hopefully, at this point, and trying to pay down that student debt. What they did do actually has changed a lot versus older generations. We heard a lot about religion with older generations, this is not as popular with millennials. Younger generations are more concerned with giving to animal rights, and I love the picture. I couldn't resist putting this picture on the fly, because these dogs were so beyond super cute, but these are probably not under-privileged dogs, just to put that out there, obviously, but they are so cute.

18:39 Bobbi Rebell: So, 22% volunteered for animal rights, in terms of the percent of millennials that gave to different causes. The environment, also a really, really important cause for millennials. They grew up in an era where they heard about climate change, we're still hearing about it so much and the big issues, so it is not surprising that they care a lot about the environment and then 18% were volunteering for human rights causes.

19:03 Bobbi Rebell: Look, this is an age where not only was gay marriage legalized, it is celebrated. We have transsexuals starring in reality TV shows and being embraced. Millennials are a very accepting and nonjudgmental generation when it comes to human rights. So I was really not surprised to see these causes as the top causes among millennials. Alright, let's talk a little bit about Millennial money habits, millennials as investors. So they're starting to make more money, and think about investing, but for the most part, until recently, and this is starting to change as more and more people get jobs, they were very much on the sidelines with cash. Part of this, as I said, is because they simply do not have the money to invest and what they do have, they are using to pay down that student debt, but they also saw their parents have their savings and investments pretty much destroyed in the great recession. It took a really long time for the markets to come back. So they are very cautious about where they put their money, and they've really seen a lot of damage done.

20:04 Bobbi Rebell: They want to get into the market, but they're waiting and they're being very careful and they're definitely seeking advice. They even seek advice when making major purchases right now. Because they want advice... So this is good news, actually for a lot of professions, not the least of which is financial advisers, because they do want that advice, but they also are using automated services for investing like robo-adviser, so we've seen a whole crop of robo-adviser companies come up like Wealthfront and Betterment because of this generation and they're much more accessible than some of the old-school financial institutions because they require as little as $500 to get started, some are even free to get started if you meet certain parameters, and they're much more acceptable and friendly for them, and they can also be used in tandem with these financial advisers with a lower cost alternative, so that's had a lot of appeal. Some millennials as they start really getting more on top of their financial lives. So millennials also have more access to information, really, than any other generation. Now what's happening there, is that they're becoming much more aware of the fees that are involved in any kind of investing.

21:13 Bobbi Rebell: And so, you have a lot of ETF and index funds that are popular. You also have more awareness of the fees involved in things like 401Ks, and I recently interviewed Tony Robbins, the author and entrepreneur and speaker about this issue, he's come out very strong about all the fees that are hidden, regarding 401Ks. A lot of people don't realize that it is not their employer paying the fee, very often it is the employees themself. There was recent legislation that forced the companies to at least disclose these fees, but a lot of people don't really know where to look for the information. So it's gonna be interesting to see if there's a shift to different kinds of investments and if there's pressure on companies, as their young employees become more aware of the fees associated with 401Ks and what kind of changes that'll bring to the mutual fund industry and to the companies that run the 401Ks going forward.

22:09 Bobbi Rebell: But in terms of priority, nothing trumps student debt with this generation. It is the number one most important thing that they talk about, it is something that's growing, in fact, as a benefit for companies that are looking to attract millennials, TWC in fact recently announced a plan where they provide student debt relief as a benefit, just like many companies provide 401Ks and yoga classes. This is a benefit that I think is gonna gain a lot of attraction with this generation especially among companies that want to attract millennials to their workforce. It is much more important to millennials than buying a home, they will delay forming a new household and really starting to save for retirement because they want to pay down the student debt. It is such a huge burden for them that that is really the focus. As I mentioned, they are delaying buying a home and are simply renting more, but in many cases, millennials are living at home, the image of the 20-something living with mom and dad has completely changed.

23:11 Bobbi Rebell: I think that movies that used to come out like "Failure to Launch" with Matthew McConaughey and Sarah Jessica Parker where you've got the slacker just living at home with mom. No real reason to move out because mom's doing the laundry and they're just hanging out, spending time with their buddies, living life. That's not what's happening now. Now you have millennials who are living at home because it is a smart and savvy economic move. They can bank their money, they can pay down their student debt, they can save up for a down payment for a home, and they can proactively take charge of their life before starting to form their own household. But, now the older millennials are forming households they're moving towards 35-years-old and that is gonna mean big changes for the real estate market which is actually really good news, because we did have that housing bubble that we've moved past, but we do wanna gain traction in the housing market. So they're moving into the housing market, but in a very different way than previous generations.

24:09 Bobbi Rebell: It used to be more is more, people wanted these McMansions, they had all these bonus rooms, they had a yoga room. We heard stories about gift wrapping rooms and all these extra things. Not so much for this generation. They want a smaller footprint. They want more eco-friendly houses. They don't have the emotional attachment to a physical home and the strong desire to own the biggest, best place at any cost. There's entire reality TV shows about tiny homes and a real embracing of a home that just doesn't have to cost that much money so that you have extra money to have experiences and live life.

24:44 Bobbi Rebell: People don't wanna be burdened with a huge mortgage and buying lots of stuff for a home. Remember a big home you have to furnish, you have to take care of, there's more maintenance. They wanna be able to go out and have experiences and have the money for that, have the time for that. They don't wanna spend the whole weekend just doing maintenance on a house. So smaller footprint houses are what's selling and that's gonna be tough as people retire and wanna sell these McMansions because there is not a big market for those. So it's great news for entry level houses and smaller houses, but the big, McMansions of the past could spend a lot of time on the market. So that's gonna be a tough reality for the real estate business.

25:22 Bobbi Rebell: Let's also talk about what millennials like to buy, technology. Technology is no longer optional. This is not a discretionary thing for millennials. It is a necessity. They must be connected at all times. They also value experiences. So that's gonna be a really good thing for the travel industry. People wanna get out, have adventure, travel. As they get older, my sources in the travel industry are telling me that that is evolving a little bit. It makes more sense when they have kids, they're staying a little bit closer to home. But they still wanna have these experiences whether they have children or not. They wanna get out and do things, going back to the whole theme, they don't wanna be bogged down making those huge house payments and spending a lot of time on home maintenance, they wanna live life.

26:05 Bobbi Rebell: Fashion. Fashion is a tricky one. So far millennials have not had the same lure towards high-end designer goods that we've seen in previous generations like Gen X. They've access to fast fashion so they can look pretty up-to-date for not that much money. And there really hasn't been a big driving must-have fashion trend like generations in the past. It's a lot more tied to having the right technology, less so having the right handbag or the right shoes. They're much more individual and there's a lot less peer pressure to buy something like a $3,000 handbag. That's not to say someone doesn't of course, but the money is really shifting from high-end luxury to experiences like adventure travel. And what I'm being told is gonna happen as they start to have families is some of that is now gonna trickle down even to their children and those kind of expenses.

27:00 Bobbi Rebell: And then finally, I wanna talk about the culture of sharing. This is a big thing for millennials. It could change as they get older and have families. I wrote a whole column about that because it's great to do Zipcar when you only need a car for a couple of quick runs. But the truth is when you have a one and a three-year-old and you've got all their car seats, you may actually buy, or at least lease a car. So this could evolve a little bit. But as it evolves of course the generation behind them will embrace sharing because I think it has become a huge part of the culture. So it's gonna evolve and we'll see how that goes. But there is definitely a feeling of why buy when you can rent or share.

27:37 Bobbi Rebell: They don't really feel the drive to own just for the sake of owning the goods, everything from houses to cars and so on. So for example, clothing. Previous generations will look down on used clothing, something you would do only if you couldn't afford to buy new clothing. Or maybe you would get something vintage-y for a costume party or you really wanted something unique, you wanted something that literally no one else had, you would go to that store.

28:00 Bobbi Rebell: Now technology has changed all that and we have all these clothing rental businesses where if you have a big event you can rent a dress, you can emulate the stars that you are seeing on Instagram without a huge financial commitment. So millennials really like the idea of temporary things. There's a lot less emphasis on having a ton of stuff. They want to have the freedom to change. They've been changing their smartphones every two years so why commit to something else? And this comes up even when it comes to something like buying a car. Their needs are gonna change and they're very aware of that. So to a lot of millennials for a column that I wrote about this, and found that millennials were leasing cars more than buying them in large part because they were able to keep the same payment level, but maybe get a better car. They also talked to me a lot about liking the flexibility and not having to commit. Car technology keeps changing just like those phones. So if they're changing their phone every couple of years why not change their car every couple of years and kinda know that they have the most up-to-date technology.

29:00 Bobbi Rebell: Old logic doesn't really make sense to them. Why would you wanna own a car for 11 years? The car that they need in three years is not necessarily what they would buy right now. And they know that so much in their life is gonna change so why bother. Changing life stages, the car you want as a single person is not the one you would really want when you have, like I said, a one and a three-year-old and you really have to kinda deal with it and get that SUV that you maybe don't really wanna get, but you have to get.

29:29 Bobbi Rebell: So as I mentioned they embrace clothing, especially for social occasions. Like I said they see constant Instagrams and celebrities and one way to emulate it is to rent it. They also wanna have experiences that they can't even afford just yet because they are so busy paying down that student debt. So a great option that has made travel a lot more accessible for millennials is Airbnb. The flipside of course is some people can make money on Airbnb, that could be a side hustle on your own if you are a Millennial and have a home that you can put on Airbnb.

30:00 Bobbi Rebell: It's very interesting like I said to see how the sharing economy changes as they become more grown up. I don't know if millennials with children are really gonna wanna do Airbnb as much. But I do believe the sharing economy will continue, just with different generations. I don't think that's changing... It's just something that people may adapt as they get older and kind of use or don't use whatever makes sense. So, sharing one end is just gonna move to the next generation.

30:24 Bobbi Rebell: So, as for me, thank you so much for the introduction which mentioned my book, 'Financial Grownup.' As you heard it features stories and advice from some of the most amazing role models, including the inspiring Sallie Krawcheck. Other people in the book include Kevin O'Leary from "Shark Tank" and Jim Cramer from "Mad Money." We have PwC's Bob Moritz. I quoted a lot of PwC's statistics... They put a big focus on financial literacy and studying millennials so... That of course is included in the book. We also have Heather Thompson from "The Real Housewives," I think we mentioned, Dottie Herman from Douglas Elliman. Lots of great names giving answers about how they came to terms with being a financial grownup, and giving advice on how really anyone... Whether they're millennials or any age can kind of learn to focus on their financial life and make proactive decisions, and get their life together financially, and do well.

31:20 Bobbi Rebell: So in the meantime, please stay in touch with me, and follow me on Twitter. I have my Twitter handle up there on the screen. And, of course, please join my mailing list so I can keep you updated on my book. So thank you very much.

31:33 Maricella: Thank you, Bobbi, for all the great insights about this generation, which is increasingly being more important to the business world. As a reminder to everyone, please submit any questions you have for Bobbi through the chat function... It's on the left side of your screen. I will be happy to queue them up. Let me get started with a few over here. "If millennials are in the 18-34 age range, are there a lot of differences among the millennials group? I'm at the older range, close to 34, and I don't really feel like a Millennial."

32:10 Bobbi Rebell: Well, that's actually a great question because what's happening now is a lot of the data that crosses my desk is actually being split into the younger millennials and the older millennials and they are starting to be broken down a lot because, as you mentioned, you are 34-years-old, you have not that much in common with an 18-year-old. So we are gonna start breaking this down and we will start talking more about that, and the older ones are really, as I mentioned, starting to form families. They're the ones that are starting to move to the suburbs. And really surprising a lot of people because, for example, when you talk about real estate, many people thought that this was gonna be a very urban generation.

32:47 Bobbi Rebell: And what's happening now is as people become older and approach 35, getting near that crucial big number... They are acting more like Baby Boomers and moving to the suburbs and having children... Doing all these things that people maybe thought they weren't gonna do, or it's delayed but it's happening now. And they are starting to focus on retirement, and focus more on investing, and it is a time when I think a lot of financial professionals are very interested in the older millennials because they do have more income, obviously at this point, and they have moved out of their parents homes. They might be renting, and rental prices are a lot higher because of that. But they want to be buying a home. They want to be moving into full adulthood and not living at home and not delaying their adulthood anymore and being a lot more proactive. So, it'll be interesting to see how that evolves, but I definitely agree... We're seeing a big split.

33:45 Maricella: Great. Thank you. Here's a question coming in that says, "Any research or opinion on female millennials and their interest in a financial services career. What is their perception of the industry?"

33:58 Bobbi Rebell: That is interesting. It's evolving a lot right now. As I mentioned, there are Robo-Advisors, so there's a lot that can be done on an automated basis. But I think what's happening with millennials that is really interesting is that they have, because they are digital natives, they also are evolving to appreciate the... I hate to call it this, but the human element.

34:20 Bobbi Rebell: And I think that there is going to be this appreciation for having a combination... Sort of a hybrid financial advisor... Where you have maybe the execution of your financial planning is done through a Robo-Advisor, but you're also consulting a CFP, for example, maybe doing check-ins once or twice a year with a CFP because... The Robo-Advisors are phenomenal, but there might be things that a Robo-Advisor might not know to ask in a survey and this kind of thing. So I think that they're very complimentary. So I think it'll be interesting to see how millennials merge those two, but there is definitely an appreciation of the human contact and having an actual person work with you on your finances and your goals and asking you questions in a real conversation. I think they're gonna be complimentary.

35:10 Maricella: Thanks so much. Next question: "Can you talk a little bit more about millennials and work-life balance?"

35:18 Bobbi Rebell: Okay. Millennials, I think, I keep thinking about this word "entitled" and how much it bothers me that people say that about millennials. But what happens is very often they come into the work force, they're doing a good job, but maybe they're much more quick to ask for something like a sabbatical very early in their careers versus other generations maybe might be aware that it's available but they don't necessarily take it. They'll take their vacation days versus an older generation might be... Might know that they have vacation days and not really take it. So, they're more proactive about making sure that they balance their life and take advantage of every benefit in that area that a company offers.

36:00 Bobbi Rebell: And doing, actually taking a day and doing a volunteer day and doing those things versus older generations might be aware that they have those, but they're so focused on making their numbers, keeping their job and climbing up the corporate ladder that they don't necessarily take advantage of them. We'll see how things adapt. One area that we have seen that in is the changes in leave of absence when people have children. Millennial men especially are much more open to taking a paternity leave even while their wives are taking maternity leave and I think in generations past they would not necessarily do that.

36:39 Bobbi Rebell: So it's much more socially acceptable to have work-life balance. You don't have to say "I have an emergency doctor appointment" when you're really going to your kids soccer game or something. You can say it out loud, it's much more socially accepted, and you won't be judged harshly. In fact, in many cases, people will applaud, the fact that you have a work-life balance and that you're not considered a workaholic, even though that was embraced in older generations.

37:04 Maricella: Do you think they get a bad rep?

37:06 Bobbi Rebell: I think it's mixed. I think there's an adjustment period going on and I think we'll see. But I think that the older people in the office often are workaholics and don't quite understand what's going on. But again as I said, they're still gonna be 50% of the workforce. Right now millennials are dominant in terms of their numbers but they aren't necessarily the bosses. That's gonna change. And that's gonna change a lot of things. I did a story on tattoos, and I interviewed a law professor who had a couple tattoos herself. And she was advising her students to always get them in places that can be hidden when they go to work, depending on the profession that they have. Especially if you want a white collar profession, she said you have to hide them. But what she expects to happen is as millennials become the bosses, they're gonna come out of hiding and there's gonna be a lot more visible tattoos and such in the workforce. So I think, right now they're dominant in terms of numbers, like I said. They're not in charge, but they are gonna be in charge pretty quickly and I think that that will continue to change the culture.

38:03 Maricella: Interesting. Thank you. I have one more question here. If there's any other questions coming through, please just submit them through the chat function. Yes. We do have a few coming through. The next one says, it sounds like the student loan burden has not impacted millennials job priorities much when it comes to salary versus mission/interest. Do you think the desire to move into the housing market will a few years down the road?

38:31 Bobbi Rebell: I do think it will. I think that millennials do prioritize paying down their student debt, but they're doing it in a different way. For example, they might take a job that pays a little less money that agrees with their social values, but they might live at home to save money and therefore use that as a way to pay down student debt. And they also might have a side hustle as I mentioned and use that to pay down student debt. It's not that they're not prioritizing student debt. They absolutely want to get that monkey off their back, but they are finding different ways and they're making different kinds of compromises to achieve that goal.

39:07 Maricella: Great, thank you. This is an interesting one. Tell us more about millennials and politics. What impact are they expected to have on the 2016 presidential election?

39:18 Bobbi Rebell: I thought about this question and I thought someone might ask me that, and the truth is I'm really more of a financial reporter, so I don't wanna go too far into that. What I would say is that I think that millennials are very open-minded and I think that they probably don't vote in big numbers in this coming election. I think that they will be influenced by social media. I'm kind of stating the obvious. I think it's very interesting who is leading in the polls. Not the classic politicians, and just the fact that even on a Democrat side, you do have Bernie Sanders who is at least getting a lot of attention. Obviously Hillary is clearly ahead of him right now, but I think that they are a lot more open-minded about having non-professional politicians in the White House and in other offices. That could be really interesting. Not just with this election, but with future elections. That they are moving away from that box where someone is a politician. I think they are much more open to having people from all kinds of walks of life, take political office.

40:18 Maricella: Thank you so much Bobbi. I think those are all the questions we have. Actually. I really do just want to thank you for... I do have one last question.

[laughter]

40:40 Maricella: What do you think is influencing millennials social values and causes?

40:44 Bobbi Rebell: I think that they just wanna find more meaning in life. I think they saw their parents generation really get whacked in the great recession and the housing bubble and they think there's more to life than material goods. This is not a materialistic generation. They are about experiences. They want to... It's very idealistic and other generations have been this way, but they really want tangible ways to make the world better. As I mentioned, they are not shy about taking sabbaticals, and there are very often charity projects to go and do something and work on something that has meaning to them as a break, especially for example if they're in a financial field or a banking field and they just want to do something where they feel like they're making the world a better place. Especially before they have a family and don't have the luxury of being able to do that.

41:32 Bobbi Rebell: They want to feel like they are getting more out of their job than just a paycheck because they saw how quickly a job can end. They witnessed the great recession and all the lives that were hurt by that and they don't want to tie themselves to just a job where they get a paycheck and then that's it. They want to actually have done something and have an impact. They also have witnessed tremendous change. When you talk about the changes even I talked about gay marriage and how that has become assumed. Something that was so radical years ago is just a way of life today. They feel that that is important and they wanna focus on social change and human rights and animal rights and environmental causes, and it's very important to them to change the world.

42:17 Maricella: Oh thank you Bobbi, I really do appreciate that you're here with us today talking about this very interesting topic, in my opinion. Thanks everyone for joining us. Are there any final thoughts?

42:29 Bobbi Rebell: No, thank you very much and please join my mailing list.

42:32 Maricella: So you have Bobbi's information on the screen in case you wanna be in touch. Follow her on Twitter. Join her mailing list. Be on the lookout for her book, 'Financial Grownup,' coming up next year. Well, I'll be happy to have you back and talking a little bit about the book, next year once it's out. And if you would like to stay in touch with Ellevate, email us. Our email is info@ellevatenetwork.com. We'd love to hear about your experience today with this new platform as we're testing it out. So any feedback, any thoughts or just to say hello, please drop us a line. Thank you.


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Community Discussion
Paula Bowie

As I have two millennial about to enter the workforce I'm fascinated to see how closely this resembles my own experience.

November 3, 2015