Millennial Habits That Are Drastically Different From The Baby Boomer Generation

Millennials have taken a lot of flack for being different than previous generations. They’ve been accused of killing everything from cereal to “breastaurants” and everything in between. Yes, they’re doing things differently than their parents but hey…that’s okay! It’s just like how boomers were not like the generations that came before them.

It’s fun to joke that millennials are ruining things but there is some truth behind their changing habits. Millennials are getting married later and living in basically anything but a traditional house. They keep on proving that it’s okay to do things differently than their parents.

You Won’t See Many Millennials In Cars

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John Keeble/Getty Images
John Keeble/Getty Images

Car sales have steadily been slowing down and millennials are to thank for the massive switch in transportation. Not only are millennials more environmentally conscious, they just don’t need cars ars much. Many millennials work in large cities with ample public transportation or work remotely from home.

They also simply can’t afford cars. Working in big cities means a higher cost of living. Couple that with large amounts of student debt and the high costs of maintenance and repairs for a car just isn’t worth it to millennials.

The 9-5 Workday Is Dead

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@vanegetsfit_/Instagram
@vanegetsfit_/Instagram

Millennials have different priorities that they are applying to their workday. The original 9-5 day was built around single-breadwinner families after WW2. Now with shifting industries and gender roles millennials are changing out their workday.

They have started freelancing, taking part in the new gig-economy, and are increasingly self-employed. They also prioritize workplace culture over pay, which means they hate cubicles and care more about getting benefits and staying happy. All of this is easy since our new globally connected world means millennials can work anywhere, anytime.

They Have Changed Traditional Marriage Statistics

The old playbook said you date, get married, buy a house, have kids, and then retire. Millennials are doing the opposite. Now, most millennial couples move in together before getting engaged and when they finally do get married, they do it later in life. It might sound crazy but it’s working, because divorce rates for younger generations are decreasing!

On top of that, some millennials are opting for common-law partnerships instead of getting married at all. Changing views on relationships and the economics of paying for a wedding is a large part of this change.

Millennials Are Crushing Big Box Stores

The JCPenny Department Store with a Store Closing banner
Bettmann/Contributor/Getty Images
Bettmann/Contributor/Getty Images

There are some pretty obvious reasons why millennials are saying goodbye to big box stores. They are less convenient and often cost more than online retailers. With online retailers like Amazon, millennials can get a wider range of products for a lower price and even receive same-day delivery.

All of this is made even easier with technology like the Amazon Echo and Google Home which can reorder products like toothpaste and toilet paper to your door when you run out.

Libraries Are Coming Back In Style

Millennials are killing a lot of industries but they are bringing one back: the library. You might think that eBooks and digital technology have ruined the physical book industry but millennials have turned libraries into high-functioning community centers.

Newer libraries not only have books, but they have workbenches, free WiFi, 3D printers, tech classrooms, and everything in between for all ages. Many libraries are even building digital catalogs to cater to everyone!

Cereal Is So 1950

The cereal industry has been slowing but not for the reasons you might think. In 2016, the New York Times tried to claim it was because millennials are too lazy to clean up a spoon and bowl. In reality, it’s because they don’t have the time for a sit-down breakfast anymore. Cereal, eggs and bacon, or pancakes are reserved for weekends. Most millennials need something quick like smoothies, toast, or breakfast bars.

Millennials are also more health-conscious and don’t buy into the sugar-filled cereals. They just didn’t inherit their parents’ sweet tooth.

Shh! They Actually Talk About Personal Finances

Talking openly about your salary used to be one of the biggest taboos you could do at work but millennials are slowly changing that. With a growing awareness or the gender and racial wage gaps, workplaces have been forced to be more transparent with their salaries.

One survey found that 30% of millennials are comfortable talking about their salaries while only 8% of baby boomers are. That coincides with an overall shift in being comfortable talking about finances.

Millennials Don’t Cheat On Each Other As Much

The younger generation has flipped the dating game on its head. They now focus on more casual relationships and spend more time exploring different partners before finally getting married. This has meant less cheating because a hookup is easy to achieve when you’re young with apps like Tinder.

That’s a big change from the baby boomer generation, which found themselves caught between the sexual oppression of their parents and the sexual liberation of the ’60s and ’70s.

The Big Brewing Companies Are Gone

Big box stores are gone and so are the big brewing companies. Millennials are bringing back small enterprise and that includes craft breweries. Millennials are willing to pay more for a product that is unique and high-quality. Brewing studies have also shown that millennials want to connect more with the back-story of a beer and community it came from.

That’s why you might have seen brands like Coors or Budweiser promoting more nostalgic commercials.

They Don’t Care As Much About Getting Drunk

They might love craft beer but millennials don’t actually care as much about getting drunk. Surveys show that 90% of millennials think that being drunk in public is “messy” and “pathetic.” They are also more aware of the fact that alcohol is used as a coping mechanism and instead, they choose to be more open about their struggles.

Overall, that means millennials are consuming less alcohol at only 5 units per person each week. Baby boomers, on the other hand, still consistently indulge.

They Won’t Purchase A Home Until They Can Afford It

The housing market crash in 2008 has left everyone wary of acquiring property but millennials, in particular, are skeptical of the major milestone purchase. The housing crash combined with higher debt and a change in lifestyle means purchasing a house isn’t a priority (or even possible) for many millennials.

Instead of buying a home millennials are opting to rent for longer. They don’t want to buy a “starter home” and would rather purchase one property that they are in for a long time.

They Have Different Eating Habits

Millennials are eating out more but not at the usual sit-down restaurants. Just like their breakfast habits, they want something fast and easy. Millennials prefer spots like Chipotle, Panera Bread, or Five Guys.

They may eat out more but millennials are also healthier. They eat 52% more vegetables than baby boomers and value fresh ingredients. Food delivery companies like Blue Apron have capitalized on this desire by delivering ingredients and recipes straights to millennials’ doorsteps.

Millennials Are Becoming Entrepreneurs

Changing workplaces means changing values. Millennials could care less about climbing corporate ladders and getting the corner office. They want to create and cultivate their own ideas and build their own ladders. A Bentley University study showed that only 13% of responders want a traditional career path. A whopping 67% want to be entrepreneurs!

This could be for a few reasons. There is more distrust in big business and many millennials have seen their friends and family members become overlooked or fired from corporate jobs.

They Travel With A Purpose

Both millennials and baby boomers love to travel, but the younger generation has a different approach. They are budget-conscious and aim for “hot spots.” Millennials travel for adventure and nightlife, even stopping at spots advertised by celebrities.

Millennials are also traveling with a purpose. More are reporting that they volunteer with aid corporations and want to gain more social awareness. That means they prefer to stay in hostels, Air BnBs, and in local villages rather than in a traditional hotel.

They’re Job Hopping For A Good Reason

You may have heard the term “job hopping” more and more in a negative context but millennials prefer to call it “jumping at the opportunity.”

It’s true that millennials take on more jobs rather than staying in one place longer, but studies have shown that millennials would stay with their employer if they provided more opportunity and better pay. “Job-hopping” is really just a term for taking on new, and better, opportunities and we can’t hate millennials for it.

They Are Utilizing The Internet To Their Advantage

More and more millennials and leaving behind in-person education for more self-taught online education courses and workshops. The appeal of a four-year degree just isn’t there anymore now that more is available online.

Studies have even shown that millennials look for different things in education. They want more collaboration, feedback, and technology. They also need it to be fast, affordable, and flexible to match their ever-changing lifestyles. It’s no surprise that even the big universities and colleges are offering more online degrees.

They Are Tough Customers When It Comes To Religion

More and more religious institutions are reporting that they are losing millennials. One of the biggest problems that millennials report having with religion is that the organizations don’t engage in serious social reflection. Millennials want to make a difference in the world and they don’t see religious outlets doing that.

Millennials also hate competition and conflict between different religions. Most religious millennials either practice in private, or have adopted a new global religion that they were exposed to as an adult.

They Are Using Social Media In A Lot Of Good Ways

Millennials are trying to remove the negative stereotype associated with social media. They are running social pages for everything from companies to countries and trying to make a difference. They use social media for crowdsourcing, diplomacy, and fun.

Take a look at the recent chicken sandwich battle between Popeyes and Chick-fil-a to see millennials do their work. Ukraine’s Twitter account was even in the news for the millennial who used memes and Simpsons’ GIFs to poke fun at Russia.

Millennials Are Changing How We Use Money

If you’ve heard of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and don’t understand it, it’s okay, you’re not alone. Millennials are taking the plunge for us all by diving headfirst into it. They were the first generation to grow up in a digital age so it makes sense that they are open to the new technologies.

It’s a really good thing though because, Bitcoin, cryptocurrency, and the growing legalization of marijuana have reintroduced millennials to the stock market for the first big wave since 2008.

They Don’t Trust Financial Institutions

Millennials are more open to talk about their finances but that doesn’t mean they trust the banks behind them. Millennials were born in the ’80s which is one of the most volatile times for banking. They have experienced multiple bubbles and crashes so it’s understandable that millennials don’t believe banks have their best interests in mind.

It doesn’t help that banks have traditionally been less accepting of millennials thanks to their minimal credit history and high rates of debt. When it comes to financial advice, millennials prefer to reach out to the internet or a trusted family source.

They Are Drowning In Debt

Trump Policy Halts Loan Relief For Thousands Of Students
Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Compared to previous generations, millennials carry huge student loan debt. Roughly 60% of baby boomers report never having student loans, but only 36% of millennials can make that claim. Almost half of millennials currently have student loan debt, according to Business Insider.

Student Loan Hero reports that college tuition was also more affordable for previous generations of students. In the dozen years between 2000 and 2012, the number of students taking out loans rose 10%, from 50% to 60%.

City Living: Millennials Are Making It Happen, And This Is How They’re Doing It

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Studies have shown that millennials spend 79% of their income on housing. Yes, 79%! They have to gravitate towards areas where jobs are plentiful but that means paying thousands of dollars to live near Silicon Valley or in downtown Manhattan.

With the median rent for a New York City apartment landing at $4,350, millennials have had to get creative about their living situations. The city-dwelling millennials featured here (including engineers of Tesla and Google) have found a creative solution to the housing crisis. Even if it means renting a box in a living room for $1,000 a month.

How About Living On A Sailboat?

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Sailboats aren’t just for retirees. In the Bay Area of Northern California, it’s cheaper to rent marina space than living space. Sarah Patterson, a 24-year-old living in the Bay Area, took to Craigslist to find her unique situation.

Patterson bought a cheap sailboat and has outfitted it to become a tiny studio space. She spends between $250 and $1100 to dock it at a marina. Since the average price of a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco is over $3,000 she is saving a ton of money!

Let’s Try A Shipping Container

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Before moving into their shipping container home, Heather Steward and Luke Iseman were spending $2,200 a month on rent in San Francisco. The monthly costs were getting too high for the couple so they decided to join the tiny house movement.

Steward and Iseman didn’t buy or build a tiny home. Instead, they purchased a used shipping container and outfit it to be a perfect little studio space.

The Shipping Container Cost About One Month’s Rent

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The upfront cost of the shipping container bought by Steward and Iseman was only $2,300. That’s only $100 more than a month of their usual rent! They bought the container online and have it set up in a vacant parking lot which they lease.

“I was interested in alternative housing,” Stewart said. “I don’t want to be in debt for the next 60 years, and I also don’t want to be in one place for the next 60 years.” Their living change actually inspired them to start up Boxouse, which is a company that helps others start up homes in shipping containers.

This Guy Built A Wooden Crate To Sleep In

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Is saving thousands of dollars each month enough to make you sleep inside a wooden crate in your friend’s house? It was for Peter Berkowitz. He decided to forgo comfort to live in a crate for only $400 a month. The create was made of plywood and only cost $1,300 to build.

“I was far too optimistic at first that we could find a place that wouldn’t cost a fortune,” Berkowitz said about his bad luck with apartment hunting. “It didn’t take long to realize that that wasn’t a feasible plan though.”

The Apartment Pod Is Sort Of Cute If You’re Not Claustrophobic

inside of bedroom pod

The outside of the pod was somewhat of an eye sore, propped against the wall in the dining room. Most people probably would have just put up a temporary false wall (seriously, it’s not that hard). The inside, on the other hand, is sort of cute as long as you aren’t claustrophobic.

Berkowitz has a fold-down desk so he can work in his bed and a skylight to let in some natural sunshine. It even has fairy lights going through for some mood lighting. However, it does get sort of stuffy. Berkowitz is working on adding some more ventilation.

Living In A Van Isn’t Just For Hippies

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Van life is becoming a common solution for Bay Area renters who can’t afford to pay the monthly costs in an apartment. Dwayne Goldstein works for a pathology firm in Los Altos, California and even that was too much. He rents a 15-foot van to live in but admits it’s not ideal.

“At least once a day I lose my mind. It’s low light, I’m tired, and I’m trying to get out of my clothes,” he told The Washington Post. “I’m loading up my laptop. Wait, where’s my phone? I just had my phone,”

You Can’t Legally Live In Your Car Though

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Goldstein might live in a van but technically, it’s not legal. In San Francisco, the “use of vehicles for human habitation” is prohibited in streets, parks, and benches from 10 PM to 6 AM.

Cities have tried to make an effort to cut back vehicle-dwellers. More and more are banning the practice but millennials are quick to point out it’s unethical to force someone to live on the street if they can have a (car) roof over their head. Los Angeles has recently overturned the law after it was deemed unconstitutional.

On The Bright Side, Goldstein’s Van-Dwelling Helped Him Lose Weight

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Goldstein definitely doesn’t enjoy living in a van but he’s admitted there are some perks. He is forced to limit his meals in order to limit his bathroom use (since van obviously don’t come equipped with toilets. Goldstein said, “I can’t eat food unless I’m at work, or I go out and eat, buy something. I’ve lost some weight because I walk everywhere already/”

Instead of cooking, Goldstein spends most of his time in coffee shops charging his phone and computer. It’s all worth it though for the $250 per week price tag for van rent is definitely saving him money.

This Tesla Engineer Had To Resort To A Van Life Too

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It’s easier to innovate when you’re an engineer at Tesla. Jason Roesslein might have a fun and cushy job at Tesla but he was still struggling to pay off his student debt. He was tired of paying $1,250 in rent in month. He had the smart idea of living in a Dodge Sprinter van instead.

“That was supposed to be a temporary situation until I figured out where I really wanted to live,” he told Business Insider. “As I got further and further along in my thinking, I decided that I would try to live in a van, and I eventually pulled the trigger on it.”

Roesslein Was Inspired By A Co-Worker

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Roesslein was originally going to invest in a box truck but didn’t like the idea of a vehicle that big. He ended up meeting a fellow Tesla employee who was living in a Subaru Forester. The man had been living in his Subaru for a year and was planning to upgrade to a Sprinter.

Roesslein loved the idea and purchased a 2006 Dodge Sprinter off eBay for $13,000. He picked it up in Texas and drove it home.

It Cost Only $1,000 To Turn It Into A Home

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Roesslein spent $1,000 revamping his Sprinter into a tiny house. He initially slept in a sleeping bag on top of a sleeping pad. When it got cold, he used a small propane heater, but overall, he thought it was nice to sleep in the cold.

His combined monthly bills were a fraction of his normal monthly rent. Roesslein had to spend $100 each month on car insurance and $75 on his cell phone plan. He did all his showering at Tesla’s corporate gym and ate breakfast and lunch in the work cafeteria. Since he didn’t cook in the van, he estimates spending another $150 each month eating out for dinner.

31 Millennials Squeezed Into A Single House

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To get around crazy rent prices, some millennials are biting the bullet and living with more roommates than ever before. One insane case involves a group of 31 millennials who shared a 10-bedroom, French Victorian mansion in San Francisco.

Each housemate paid $650 for a bed which equaled out to about three people per bedroom. The renters didn’t last too long in their budget-conscious solution and were issued a violation notice from the city’s planning department for having too many tenants.

This Man Just Slept In Conference Rooms

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Martin Greenberg might have been the CEO of the startup Bedly but he didn’t have his own bed. The company allows people to rent fully furnished homes on demand but Greenberg found himself homeless instead. Greenberg did what we

“You’d be surprised, the conference rooms were very comfortable,” Greenberg said. “When you’re working late it’s hard to coordinate with friends whose couches you want to sleep on. … The sad thing was I run a housing company.”

This College Student Chose A Tiny Home Over A Dorm Room

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Joel Weber was shocked when he saw the cost of a dorm room at the University of Texas. Instead, he decided to empty his $15,000 savings to build a tiny house in his friend’s Texas backyard. University of Texas dorms cost roughly $1,135 a month to live.

His friend let him keep the portable home on the property for no cost, which allowed Weber to graduate from college without any debt. Talk about a good investment!

Engaged Millennials Build Tiny Home For Their Future

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When Bree Rathburn and Kieran Murphy became engaged they realized they didn’t have the money for a house, wedding, and honeymoon. To afford their trip to Greece, the couple decided to think small and build a tiny home.

Costing just $21,000, Rathburn designed the home, which took them 18 months to build. The millennial couple has plans to park the fully-functioning home on a piece of land where Murphy will start his vineyard and wine label.

This Google Software Engineer Lives In A Truck

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When 23-year-old Brandon (who used a pseudonym because he didn’t want to get in trouble) got a coveted job as a software engineer for Google, he packed up his life and moved to California. There, he lived in a 128-square foot Ford box truck, which he parked in Google’s campus parking lot.

Brandon’s 2006 truck only cost $10,000 and had 157,000 miles on it. It costs $2,000 to live in Google’s cheapest employee housing. After moving into the van, his only monthly housing expense is the $121 for car insurance.

But Truck-Living Has Its Downside

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Brandon enjoys the savings he gets from living in a box truck, but he’s not too thrilled about some of the less desirable features.

“I don’t actually own anything that needs to be plugged in,” he explained. “The truck has a few built-in overhead lights, and I have a motion-sensitive battery-powered lamp I use at night. I have a small battery pack that I charge up at work every few days, and I use that to charge my headphones and cellphone at night. My work laptop will last the night on a charge, and then I charge it at work.”

Brandon Showers And Eats On Google’s Campus

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Just like the Tesla employee, this Google employee relies on the Google headquarters for most of his living aspects. Brandon eats all three meals at work and showers every morning in the corporate gym. He graduated from college with $22,434 worth of student loans and managed to shrink that number to $16,449 in just four months.

Brandon says the one upside to the van life is that he gets to actually enjoy San Francisco. He can afford to eat at nice restaurants and enjoy the nightlife without worrying about paying rent.