Teens leave home or head off to university full of dreams and excitement about the future – but if you fast forward just a few years, the wheels start to fall off.
In fact, 75% of those millennials – those aged 25-33 – have suffered a quarter-life crisis, according to a major LinkedIn study across four countries. 75%!
This millennial malady involves the vast majority feeling unsure about their careers and frustrated about their options, concerned that they’re not earning enough and worried they’ll never be able to afford to buy a house. They’re dissatisfied with where their choices have landed them, or the lack of progress they’ve made.
You might say pfft – that’s just millennial angst! But it’s a much bigger issue than that.
While 16 or 17-year olds have long been sleepwalking into big career decisions, these days those decisions come with a large price tag: student debt. That means the implications of poorly thought-out decisions linger for a decade, or more.
The research also shows frustrated 25 to 33-year olds then make more huge decisions in the midst of their angst, to switch careers, take a career break, start a business or go back to studying – incurring more debt as they pivot in a new direction.
This generation is often accused of being one which wants it all and wants it now, and there’s an element of truth to that, they do have higher aspirations – to do something they’re passionate about, to achieve work/life balance, to be fulfilled in their work and live a life they love. They just don’t know how to achieve any of those things!
They’re using the same tools that worked for previous generations who not only had an entirely different approach to their working lives, but who faced fewer obstacles on the road to financial success.
This generation is facing much higher house prices, large student loans, higher living costs, easy credit, uncertain employment and technological disruption. In fact, they will need to earn twice what their parents did to achieve the same lifestyle, but research shows they’re actually earning less than their parents did (in real terms), despite being better educated.
It’s no wonder so many fail to launch, boomerang back home, stay attached to their parents’ purse strings or suffer quarter-life crises.They are facing more challenging conditions than previous generations but they’re not being equipped with the tools or knowledge to handle those conditions.
While one of the best things parents could do would be to introduce their kids to as many people from different careers and walks of life as possible, teens may often be reluctant to listen to their parents’ attempts to help. They either feel their advice is no longer relevant, or – because their parents tell them so many things (or want particular things for them) – they simply switch off. That’s where an independent voice is needed to cut through the noise.
That’s what has set me on my mission to equip the next generation with the tools and knowledge for a better start.
Financial literacy is part of the solution, but in isolation it’s simply not enough. It requires financial smarts, career planning, hustle, negotiating skills, financial planning, networking, wealth creation, emotional intelligence, strategy – I could go on. Suffice to say, there’s a lot that needs to go into it, because the challenges are numerous.
That’s why for the past few years I’ve been researching, developing and testing a solution for how to address this. I’m holding a seminar to share my research, the solution, tips you can apply immediately and preferential access to the Financial & Career Smarts course we’ve developed.
I invite you to come along, bring your teenager or grandchild (come alone if they won’t come, it’s that important!) and let me show you how we can equip them for a brighter future.
Hannah McQueen is an author, fellow chartered accountant, an Authorised Financial Advisor, and the founder of both enableMe and EquipMe Now.