Blog - Millennials Choose Travel Over Children


One of the things that I wanted for my children was the ability to travel and see parts of the world that I had never seen.  My husband and I worked hard and saved and we were able to send our children on some great trips provided for students.  They didn’t stay in Ritz-Carlton types of facilities but they were able to visit many continents and countries that I have never been able to visit (and may never be able to visit).  The “payment” we expected was that they would study hard, stay out of trouble, and pursue a career in which they could be financially independent and stable.  How did we do?

Well, we are halfway through…and so far so good.  My two older children are now out of college and graduate school and are self-sufficient and on a good financial path.  I know that they are lucky that we were able to help them and to provide them with some luxuries along the way.

But this isn’t about me.  It’s about Millennials and the values they have developed and how privilege and/or assistance may have influenced those values.

Spectrem just finished research with High Income Millennials.  Keep in mind that Millennials are the generation currently ranging from ages 24 to 38.  Most of them have been out of college for a long time.  They are well into their careers.  And what are they focused on?

Similar to other generations, High Income Millennials want to be financially independent and financially stable.  Those are strong admirable goals.  But what else defines success for High Income Millennials?
When asked how they define financial success, High Income Millennials defined the following factors as important:

As noted in the chart, financial stability and financial independence are the most important factors for High Income Millennials.  “Being able to retire when I want “ is more important , however than owning a home or even being married or having a committed relationship.  To be honest, the biggest shock to me was that the “ability to afford leisure activities” at 53% is more important to High Income Millennials than Raising a Family, which is only important to 45 percent.

I hate to say it…but if I had chosen leisure activities over raising a family, my life choices would have been very different (and my financial picture would be much stronger!)  Talk about a changing value system.  

I think as Americans, and as parents, we need to ask ourselves how this happened.  Did we fail to teach our children the importance of family?  Did material possessions and pursuits become too important to us?  Did we pass along these values?  Or are these new values heightened by the current social media and ongoing communications frenzy they face everyday? (It’s always easy to blame social media.) Or did we fail to pass on the values of the WWII and Depression era generations?

I don’t know if my own children would choose leisure activities over raising a family or owning a home.  Perhaps I don’t want to know.  Maybe as Millennials get older their priorities will change…or who knows...maybe this is right for them and change is coming?




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