Less is More for Most Millennials
It’s common knowledge that the millennial generation is making their own rules and creating a new standard of living for themselves. Gone are the days of going to college, then getting married, then buying a home and filling every room with all kinds of new belongings. The statistics from Pew Research Center shows that millennials are buying and owning less “stuff.” The millennial generation is embracing a more minimalistic and simple approach to all aspects of life. This new life approach affects purchases of all kinds. Whether it’s clothing, cars, or housing, this shift is noticeable. Millennials are definitely leaning into the “less is more” mentality.
At one time, buying and owning a car was considered a milestone in the journey to adulthood. Owning a car used to be a necessity. Yet, the millennial generation is much more likely to live in an urban setting. The Wall Street Journal reports that 88% of the millennial demographic wants to live in a city. When a person lives in a big city, their need for a vehicle drastically diminishes. City dwellers with cars usually have to spend more in insurance, gas, and parking fees, so many millennials drop the expense of a car altogether. With alternatives such as Uber, Lyft, ZipCar, and on-demand delivery services, there is less need for Millennials to own a car to go from place to place. Most millennials value experiences over material goods and that translates into less big purchases over time.
Since most Millennials graduated right into a recession, many are completely eschewing the idea of homeownership in favor of renting. Most millennials are even staying put, not moving from place to place in search of better work. Not to mention that massive student debt hinders saving for a home’s down payment, so many millennials believe that home ownership just isn’t a reality for them. However, the tiny house movement has been growing amongst millennials. The tiny house movement is an alternate way for many millennials to reach the dream of home ownership considering the average cost of building a tiny home is only $23,000. Small homes help millennials stay focused on living intentionally and living within their means, proving yet again that most millennials value simplicity.
Many millennials are showing minimalist tendencies when it comes to their collections of entertainment. Many are foregoing huge collections of media – CDs, DVDs, books, magazines – in favor of streaming or digital options. When there is access to these online options, the need to buy full seasons of a television series or full anthologies of a favorite artist’s work to build a collection disappears. Plus, these collections of media get tiresome to lug from place to place or even store, even though millennials are moving far less (and living much smaller) than previous generations as noted above.
It’s obvious that millennials value more than just material goods and big ticket purchases. While many millennials stay put, live small, and put off adulthood for whatever reason, one thing is clear: they are choosing to live a life of purpose. It doesn’t matter if this simplistic life approach is by choice or by necessity, it’s clear that millennials are dropping complexity from their lives. Millennials are always in pursuit of something and their homes and purchases reflect that pursuit – if it doesn’t help them achieve that pursuit, they question how much they really need those items. Us millennials are changing the status quo when it comes to our priorities and not apologizing for it.