Baby Boomers can learn from Millennials if we are willing to give them an opportunity to teach us. I’m serious. Give me a chance to explain.
Every generation has their own identifiable characteristics, according to the experts. Baby Boomers are known for their strong work ethic, competitive spirit, and determination. They are appreciative of job stability and often stay at the same job for many years.
Millennials, on the other hand, are often known for their adventurous nature, their concern for the environment and politics, and their skills with technology. Baby Boomers are sometimes skeptical of the decisions and actions of Millenials, but Baby Boomers can learn from this group of young adults.
One specific Millennial I know hears a lot of “what are you thinking” comments because of her approach to life. She is an awesome young woman who has shown courage, determination, and self-reliance. She has traveled the world, made friends of all nationalities and memories to last a lifetime. Those comments from others are well-meaning but are the result of a different viewpoint about priorities and the value of experiences vs. a stable 9-5 existence. There is a trade-off and the decision must be made – what is important to YOU?
Millennials like this have now outnumbered those of us in the Baby Boomer generation, believe it or not. While these dreamers may appear to have pie-in-the-sky ideas about life, some of their tendencies make a whole lot of sense to me. I’m not agreeing with it all, but here are some examples of what Baby Boomers can learn from Millennials.
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Consider their approach to life – you may be surprised at the validity of their style.
Millenials put more value into “doing things” than having things. A home to care for means cleaning, lawn care, maintenance, taxes, insurance and an investment of time. While a large home may have been a practical idea with children, a large house for 1 or 2 people seems excessive. Seeing life through the eyes of a millennial, a smaller home, a tiny home, a condo, an RV, or no home at all becomes more practical, freeing up time and money, making it available for other pursuits.
2. Sell the car.
Ok, that may be a little drastic. But if you’re down to 2 retired folks and interested in saving, maybe you could function with one vehicle – or fewer than you currently own. Research says millennials may have lower car ownership rates than any previous generation.
If cost-cutting is of interest to you, maybe you wouldn’t sell your car, but, like a millennial, if you are in an area where it’s available, consider using public transportation, the MetroLink or Uber. Did you know that transportation is a major cost for seniors in retirement?
Find out what’s available in your community and opt for alternatives when you can.
3. Lose TV and your phone.
Millennials are never seen without their cell phone. Very few of them still have a traditional landline in their home. Lose your landline – if you still have one. Similarly, many millennials have canceled cable TV subscriptions and instead use services like Hulu or SlingTV. Here are some alternative gadgets for services and some alternative suggestions for local TV.
There are many options out there. Ask your younger generation, research online, or head to your local PC Guru for advice and guidance. Consider a change if you’d like to save a little.
4. Research and talk about money issues.
Back in the day, people never discussed finances. Employers discouraged talk of salary amongst employees. Finances were a private, family matter.
Millennials are beginning to change the taboo of talking about money — online at least. Internet access to financial information is abundant. As long as trusted sites are accessed for information, using online services to invest is becoming the norm.
Why is talking about money a good thing? Because your friends may know some stuff. Conventional wisdom says you should make friends who are the people you’d like to become. Friends influence our attitudes, habits, and viewpoints. If your friends are doing well, ask for referrals. Seek out advice from those you can trust.
5. Look for the fun.
It seems that millennials crave the joy of adventures and discoveries, whether epic or the everyday.
Seeking adventure, laughing and having fun is a great idea for a better life. Familiar things are comfortable. Go for a walk at a local park, take a weekend road trip to visit family or friends, grab a fishing pole and head to the lake. The simple things. Stretching beyond your limits and pushing past your comfort zone may make you squirm, but those will be the times you remember. If you’re up for things like roller coasters & skydiving, that would be incredibly adventurous!
6. Learn to use technology.
Millenials know technology. They know SnapChat, Twitter, Instagram, and Google. I’m sure there are more that I’m clueless about, but you get the drift.
While you are probably not going to let technology take over your life, there are some pretty useful ways to use phones and computers to enhance your day-to-day life.
- Text or email your grandkids. They’d never see it coming, but they’d appreciate your efforts!
- Use the internet for banking, researching stock prices or volunteer opportunities.
- You can order your essentials from Amazon, read books or watch TV online as well.
- Save phone numbers, email addresses.
- Take pictures of recipes or things you need at the store. You can refer to your picture and be sure you are purchasing the correct item.
- Take and share your pictures. If you would rather print them and hold them in your hand, you can still do that, too. Let them show you “airdrop”. (I was introduced to airdrop recently.)
7. Embrace Change
The world around us is changing constantly and at an incredible pace. Step up your game, learn to adapt to the changes around you. Stay relevant and current by continually learning and challenging yourself. Accepting and embracing change can keep you in the game.
8. Find Balance
There are always things you “have to” do, and things you “choose to” do. Continue on your logical path to finances, responsibilities, and commitments, but remember what is really important to you. Relationships, experiences, flexibility, and independence. Find the balance that makes you happy. Consider your choices and how that will figure into the “happiness factor”. The less traditional road may be intimidating, but if that road leads you to a life of contentment and fulfillment, well, that’s really what it’s all about.
So if you’re like me and find yourself second guessing your path, use some of these tips from our younger generation. Millennials have some valid ideas – there are many things Baby Boomers can learn from Millennials. Give them a chance to show you their strategies and share their point of view.
Good ideas are there – just ask a millennial for help!
Pass the Love around!