March 27, 2017 | millennials
For almost 50 years, Boomers have ruled the world. From Bill Gates to Oprah Winfrey, they have made their mark and built empires. Their demographic size in the West has radicalized the 60s, button-downed the 80s and in many ways have created and absorbed the wealth of their nations as they marched through each stage of their lives. When it comes to real estate, particularly in Toronto, they own it. Maybe not all of it, but a lot of it. In many ways, they hold the valves to the Toronto real estate machine. If they sell the bulk of the properties they own, our chronic housing shortage would receive a welcome injection of properties needed to the market. Of course, we can’t have Boomers selling off their properties when they’re not ready or wishing to do so.
Still, they do have that power. On the other side of things we have the Millennials, anyone born after 1982 to the early 2000s. Some have called them entitled and incapable of criticism, but let’s be honest. As they enter their working years, life has been challenging for many of them. They certainly have a tougher job market than the Boomers had in their younger years. And the real estate prices are much higher now, even when adjusted for inflation.
The downside for the Boomers? Well, they may have to take care of their Millennial children who have rebounded back home or help them out financially to either buy a property or simply launch in life.
Millennials, on average, have been delayed by about 10 years from the milestones of marriage, kids, home-buying, and landing a good job due to the recession of 2008. Their dependency on their parents now lasts, on average to 27 years of age. And sadly, especially when we look at the last American election, they don’t vote, and a Presidents who doesn’t represent their interest, get into power. Note that 67% of Boomers voted in the last U.S. election compared to 49% for the Millennials.
Because they have largely lived through an economy with anemic job options, Millennials are, on average, are a risk-averse bunch. This is despite the abilities to create Apps and be technologically savvy. Compared to the Boomers or my cohort, in Gen X, they start saving their money on average at 22 years of age. That’s five years earlier than the Gen X crowd and fourteen years earlier than the Boomers. They have a much bigger fear of going broke than their elders.
The current demographic situation we have is a kind of barbell with the more liberal Millennials on one end, a skinny Gen X in the middle and a more conservative Boomer demographic on the other end. This does not mean that Boomers are all conservative, but it is generally understood that the older any generation becomes, the more nostalgic that generation grows for the values of their glory days. In addition, many older folks are on fixed incomes, prefer an economy with no or low growth that would not eat away at their retirement and pensions. They’re not all mean people, but they are looking out for their own best interests.
Yes, it may all seem a little grim for Millennials, but don’t despair if you are one of them. You are set to become the new cultural influencer in the years ahead. And there’s no where to go but up.
2016 was a very important year for Millennials. It marks the first year that Millennials surpassed Boomers as a percentage of the population.
As the older Boomers exit the population, the Millennials will become more powerful and influential. They will vote more as any generation does as they grow older. They will outlive the Boomer and my Gen X generation. Millennials are projected to live to 100 years of age. With their demographic heft, they will soon call the shots. The last day of the Boomers are on the horizon. Get ready for the shift. To be clear, I have nothing against Boomers or Millennials. There are impressive and miserable people in both generations. Ones that can make humanity better and worse.
I think, however, that we have become too accustomed to the Boomers as the powerful force that directs culture since the Sixties, and feel they will be in driver seat forever.
The Boomers will continue to have great influence on how we do things. They will transform what getting older is all about in the years ahead, and be responsible for some pioneering changes. They will not, however, be the top influencer forever for the entire population. Yes, Millennials are delayed, real estate-challenged, priced-out and not making the best of their degrees, but they will be on top. They have the numbers. Now, it’s just a matter of time before they flex their muscle.