Millennial burnout and financial stress delay the American Dream. Millennials dream of a future with financial independence before anything else.
Millennial Burnout and Financial Stress Delay American Dream
Millennial burnout caused by financial stress is a huge reason why this generational cohort is rethinking the traditional American Dream.
Burnout is a sense of chronic physical and mental exhaustion. According to a survey by Yellowbrick, burnout affects the everyday lives of more than 95 percent of Millennials. It’s kept them from doing things like socializing, paying bills and voting. More than half of Millennials admit to missing days at work because they just feel burnt out.
Financial stress notwithstanding, Millennials are starting to imagine a future on their own terms, a new American Dream, according to a survey by Varo Money.
Given that the majority of Millennials experience high financial stress, it’s no surprise that financial security is still high on the list of priorities for more than 40 percent of Millennials aged 23 to 38. The new American Dream includes feeling happy for more than 40 percent of Millennials. Over 30 percent of Millennials believe achieving the new American Dream means having the freedom to focus on their individual wishes and needs.
Why Do Millennials Have a New American Dream?
Varo Money asked Millennials why they think their American Dream is different than that of their parents’ generation. Millennials agreed these seven major factors have shifted their view of the American Dream:
- Changing social norms
- Crushing student debt/cost of education
- Tougher job market
- Different generational preferences and desires
- The impact of technology on the world
- Economic inequality
- Social media’s influence
Many American Millennials entered adulthood during the 2008 recession and they carry a significant chunk of the massive $1.6 trillion in student loan debt. They’re finally forming households and some are buying homes, but their financial stress isn’t easing up as they reach these milestones. Another Varo Money report found more than half of Millennials experience anxiety over finances every day. It’s damaging their health and keeping some of them from settling down.
Most Millennials are digging their way out from under student loans and credit card debt. Some Millennials still live at home and nearly half of them receive financial support from their parents to cover basic monthly expenses. For many of them, financial independence is still so far off that a life without financial stress appears to be a fever dream.
Is the American Dream Still Within Reach?
Millennials primarily dream of financial security, which may be the key to achieving the rest of their new American Dream: feeling happy and being free to focus on individual wishes and needs. Nearly half of Millennials say even their new American Dream feels impossible to achieve. Only 7 percent of Millennials say they’re already living their dream.
The good news is the oldest Millennials are about to enter their 40s and most financial and generational experts believe there’s still plenty of time for them to achieve financial security and reach their vision of the American Dream. Once they’re financially secure, they might warm up to other aspects of the traditional American Dream, like homeownership and keeping a steady job with retirement support.
More on Millennials and the American Dream
Is the American Dream Out of Reach?
What’s Causing Millennials’ Money Woes?
Student Loans to Blame for Millennials’ Lack of Homeownership
How Do You Deal with Money in a Relationship?
Millennial Homebuyers Are Buying Sight Unseen
What, no one wants to leave a comment? I am a senior who raised 2 daughters as a single mom. They are now in their 40’s. They are NOT your typical millennial. Why? Because while I provided them everything they needed, they didn’t always get what they wanted. They were taught the value of money, how to spend it wisely and not fall into a trap of “I gotta have this cause everyone else does”. Times were definitely tough during their years but they were also raised in a christian home and were taught right from wrong. They now look back and laugh sometimes at the plight that I faced and yet they never knew any different. Sadly, now I see the kids growing up from those that were given everything they wanted, now the Millennials, striving to give their own children that very same ideal. That’s their stress. They entered the ‘real’ world and found you have to earn first but hey, credit cards can provide that readily income until it comes time to pay the piper. Their kids now are going to be even more unprepared for the real world and lack the propensity to achieve. They lack goals, live in the ‘now’ and feel the future is a far away place. Since the great depression parents have wanted to give the next generation a better life and they were great teachers. Unfortunately, down through the generations the luster of achievement in that process was overtaken by simple greed. Would I have done anything differently? No but I certainly think others in my age group wish they would have. I don’t compliment or focus my sights on my children’s material accomplishments, but rather the way they invoke those lost values that I was taught. I only hope that through the next generations they continue; otherwise, we will become a lost society.
Your points are well made. I got this email from a reader this morning:
I am 63 years old, and I remember clearly the financial stress of the 70’s and early 80’s. The Arab oil embargoes, the 18% mortgages of the Carter years, the destruction of farming communities. No less stress than today, in many ways, more.
My parents and grandparents survived the Great Depression. And the Millennials complain about financial stress?
It’s hard to be given everything you don’t even know you want. But, there are financial stressors that are worrying Millennials and GenZ that are different from our stressors. We may not have answers for them, just as our parents didn’t have answers for us. Then, as now, the answer must be: Work as hard as you can. Keep your nose clean. Treat others as you’d like to be treated.