How Different Are The Millennials?


Question: Is there a unique personal finance management strategy that you can recommend to millennials like me?—asked at “Ask a friend, ask Efren” free service available at and Facebook.

Answer: According to Gen HQ, the following are the different generations existing today:

Gen Z, iGen, or Centennials: Born 1996 and later.
Millennials or Gen Y: Born 1977 to 1995.
Generation X: Born 1965 to 1976.
Baby Boomers: Born 1946 to 1964.
Traditionalists or Silent Generation: Born 1945 and earlier.

To be sure, there are differences. I was almost a millennial. I just missed it by 2 … generations. While toys for both baby boomers and millennials commonly did not come with batteries, those for millennials had the benefit of sight and sound when the batteries were included. In my time, toys did not even have battery compartments. If I wanted to play with a toy machine gun, I provided the ratatatatat. If I wanted to fly a toy helicopter, I supplied the takatakatakatat. Millennials have transformer robot armies. I transformed [in my mind] soft drink bottle caps into armies.

Millennials communicated with each other through social media. I had to quarrel with a party line on a rotary-dialed landline just to get through to my friends. And if I was outside the home, I had to fall in line at humongous pay phone that initially required three 25 centavo coins. Why there was even a Pilipino song about it.

I got married at the age of 27; my wife was then 24. Today, it is not uncommon to see Millennials getting married past the age of 30, often times leading parents to worry if they will ever have grandchildren.

But let’s face it. Millennials are people too and in many ways just the younger version of the generations that came before them, rebellious at first then generally conformist towards old age. Certain behavior and even beliefs may have been altered, but the core of being human remained. And when it comes to money, notwithstanding the convenient tools that one can now use on demand, the rules are the same: Budget savings before expenses, manage your debt levels, protect your family against perils to your health and life; and invest wisely. Even the mistakes are the same: Living beyond one’s means, mortgaging the future just to enjoy life today, postponing the purchase of life insurance, and falling into get-rich-quick scams.

So, to answer your question, a good personal finance management strategy for millennials is to learn from persons who have gone through and emerged from the experience of the pertinent gains and pains. And these are the people of past generations. The advice goes not only for millennials but also for centennials and all other generations that have yet to come and be given catchy names. – Efren Ll. Cruz


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