Millennials: Experts discuss generation and economic challenges
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As part of a survey done by SmileDirectClub, 18-34 year-olds were found to be happiest with working from home, and their average savings during the pandemic were £300 higher than national average. The majority of these 18-34 year-olds utilised the free time that lockdown provided to start businesses, improve their CVs to secure their dream job, or get promoted at their current workplace.
Shane Herrington, 32, is a PR and Social Media Manager from Wimbledon who shared an insight perspective on how millennials were able to capitalise on the global pandemic and what prompted it.
Mr Herrington noted: “As the pandemic forced us all to ‘stay home, save lives’, my once very active social life came to a complete standstill. This made me realise how much money I had leftover at the end of the month if I just stopped going out for drinks and dinners.”
The pandemic has given everyone a chance to truly reflect on what value their money has, not just in currency but in what it adds to their lives, with some realising the little daily expenses they refused to let go of really had no impact on their lives.
As many from the older generation have always known, it’s not money that brings happiness – but saving for a rainy day can bring security and peace of mind that helps to make you happier.
As Mr Herrington explained: “Although money can’t bring you complete happiness, it alleviates a lot of worries and daily anxiety. Money also gives people security which can lead to freedom to explore what does make someone happy.
“Seeing my bank balance still in the black at the end of the month made me realise, wow, what was I spending my money on all this time. I realised I was actually spending my money on impulse purchases and, as my dad would say, ‘champagne lifestyle with Guinness money.’”
The lockdown also provided people like Mr Herrington with opportunities, not just to improve themselves, but also their finances, as they learned spending money is not the key to happiness.
“The word ‘no’ is a great tip. Instead of saying yes to the opening of an envelope, I have started to say no to going out for dinner and drinks and just choosing to stay in. During the pandemic, I believe things shifted as well for me as I bought a flat.
“Now, instead of checking with housemates to see if it was ok to have friends over, I can host dinners at my flat and enjoy a nice home-cooked meal with great company.
He added one extra tip for those looking to save money like millennials did: “I’ve also started to go to shops with lists. I have become a list maker. Usually, I would go into a shop and pull off products that were on offer or thinking ‘OH, I WANT THIS!’. Now, I go in with a list and have become very strict with myself. I’m also less loyal to brands. If I see a product on offer that does basically the same thing, I buy those instead, like dishwasher tablets etc.”
Many things have changed during lockdown, and the majority of people believe a post-pandemic world means returning to life as it was in 2019, but Mr Herrington added one thing he hopes doesn’t change is his spending and saving habits.
“I now have a mortgage to pay, and I guess I’ve grown up, and so that coupled with the pandemic has made me change my perspective. Instead of having to have something right now for immediate self-gratification, I have to sit back and think, wait, you can go another month without that rug and pay for it with cash, not credit. I would hope my frivolous days are behind me.”
He also added that, like other millennials, his financial position has stabilised as a direct result of having to stay home and not needing to commute to work. “I’ve never been more financially secure, which I really don’t take for granted. I did move back home for six months during 2020 to ensure my mum was ok as we lost my father back in 2019.
“This enabled me to clear the small amount of debt I had and save while purchasing my flat. In hindsight, thank god I did as I could save for the furnishings as all my other savings went towards the deposit.”
Mr Herrington, however, was one of the lucky people in an industry that boomed during 2020: “Working for a gaming brand showed how resilient an industry it is. With people staying home, gaming boomed, so I was kept very busy with my full-time job.”
During the pandemic, Mr Herrington also benefited from a hybrid working environment, working from home and the office: “I also realised that working from home sometimes meant working longer hours.
“I therefore had to become strict with myself to switch off the laptop at the correct times as I was basically working more than 12 hour day.
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