In the year 2019, Millennials are between 23-38 years old. This generation have often been criticized for not taking on the responsibilities of older generations at the same age, as they have in the past. I may be particularly biased, but as millennial myself I, do not necessarily disagree, however the answer to this question of a collective generational immaturity is more nuanced than a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
One of the largest problems facing Millennials, is debt. According to new findings from the New York Federal Reserve, millennials collectively possess over $1 trillion dollars in debt. However, according to the same study, Millennials are actually much better at saving money than previous generations, even though our debt stands alone in quantity. The main cause: student loans. Credit card debt and other forms of debt, are significantly lower. This leaves a feeling among my generation, that the odds are stacked up against us. Older generations have made higher education both a prerequisite to the work force, and made it incredibly unaffordable. This is a catch 22 for Millennials, who are criticized for enjoying small luxuries, because they know they’ll never be able to save up enough to make a large purchase, such as a house.
These lack of traditional assets, cause a general feeling of apathy towards estate planning among the generation. Why would I spend money to protect a set of assets that are relatively non existent? While Millennials may not begin to possess traditional types of assets, such as property, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are in trouble, or don’t possess a great deal already. Millennials have already changed the game, as far as creating some of the most innovative technology that the world has ever seen, replacing old, outmoded industries, with newer technology that introduces more of a sharing economy.
With this introduction of new assets in a sharing economy, comes a necessity to protect those assets. Have an extensive online presence? An estate plan is necessary to protect that. Unmarried? You’ll need the proper ancillary documents, such as a health care proxy and power of attorney, to make sure that if something happened to you, the right person will be in charge of medical decisions. Have any investment, retirement, or bank accounts through your employment or otherwise? You’ll need an estate plan to protect those as well.
Millennials aren’t necessarily participating in the economy in a traditional way, but we are overcoming the obstacles to traditional wealth, but creating a new pathway. If you’re a millennial, make sure you’re protecting yourself and what you own, in a way that is as unique as your generation is.
-By Rachel Hicks