I like the old saying, “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”
That saying came to mind when I was reading this article:
The article talks about Charles Schwab’s annual Modern Wealth Survey, which involved a national sample of 1,000 Americans between the ages of 21 and 75.
Schwab published the results on their website, and there are references in the survey to “Millennials” and “Generation (or Gen) Z.” To remind myself who was in which group, I checked the guidelines:
Millennials: Were born between 1980 and 1994. They’re currently between 25-39 years old.
Gen Z: Were born between 1995 and 2015. They’re currently between 4-24 years old.
These two groups are “digital generations” – they are tech savvy, and computers, cell phones and gadgets are as normal to them as breathing. Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and other social media platforms are part of their daily – hourly – lives.
So it was interesting to learn that while Millennials and Gen Z can’t wait to go on Instagram and see what their friends posted about what they had for breakfast – or what their dog had for breakfast – these same groups rank social media as the biggest “bad” influence when it comes to how they manage their money.
They see pictures of their friends on expensive vacations or eating at trendy restaurants, and they want to do that, too.
There’s even a name for it: FOMO.
Fear Of Missing Out.
But here’s where it gets really interesting. The Millennials said they weren’t worried, and despite their bad spending and saving habits, “they plan to be wealthy within one to 10 years.”
Millennials are those 25- to 39-year-olds, and they often get knocked in the media. Like in this Time magazine cover story that called them “The ME ME ME Generation: Millennials are lazy, entitled narcissists who still live with their parents.”
And while that’s certainly stereotyping and possibly unfair, I wondered how this Schwab-surveyed group – how any group or individual – can “plan to be wealthy within one to 10 years.”
What, exactly, is their “plan”? Their path? Their strategy?
They weren’t saying they’d like to be wealthy or hope to be wealthy or want to be wealthy.
No, this group just “plans to be wealthy.”
So I decided to do my own survey to see just how Millennials “plan” to do this.
Here are some of their answers:
“I’m going to invent a phone with no cord that fits in your pocket!”
(Um…I think that’s already been done?)
“I’m going to get adopted by Bill Gates!”
(Hmmm. Does Bill Gates know about this?)
“I’m going to the Olympics, I’ll win a gold medal, and get lots of sponsor deals!”
“What sport will you play?”
“I haven’t figured that out yet!”
OK, I’m kidding.
In turns out that the Schwab survey did suggest that Millennials do have a strategy:
“Ignore their friends’ social media posts.”
That’s right. No more checking out what their friends – or their friends’ dogs – had for breakfast. No more looking at photos of people hanging 10 in Hawaii or schussing in Switzerland. No more videos of happy groups dining on kelp noodles and seaweed butter at the latest hot spot.
No more FOMO.
Millennials are going to ignore social media posts.
Like that’ll ever happen.
That’s what called to mind that old saying: