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Don’t Judge My Gen Y

Blog Contributor [Demographic-based grouping], Business Challenges, consumers 13 Comments

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Brooke Wolford

Brooke Wolford

By Brooke Wolford

Over the last several years, real estate educators have really pushed that we, as an industry, need to do something special to deal with my generation. Most of these speakers are not part of Gen Y themselves, but they seem to think they know everything about us. And despite these teachings, I have rarely met someone who fits the stereotypical Millennial profile that they are describing.

Now, I could be completely wrong here, but I personally only know one person who lives in their parents’ basement. When I was in my early 20s, I was buying a home, getting married, and having babies – and guess what…I paid off all of my student loans within a year of graduating. What’s even funnier is every single person I knew was doing the same thing.  Even the younger Millennials I know still want the things I want. They want to purchase a home. They still want a family and all of the domestics that come along with it. But what I have found is that many of them just don’t know how to do it.

A perfect example is my little sister, who just graduated from college a little more than a year ago, and is writing her first offer on a house today. Not what you typically hear from real estate speakers, is it?

What’s true about Millennials is that they want to be heard. The problem is that nobody is listening. Here are some facts about my generation:

  • The majority of our parents were divorced. So we are cautious about who we marry because we want to create a good home for our children.
  • We are not lazy. We are exhausted. We have twice as many people to compete with for jobs, school, etc. We have to work at a pace that people like my grandmother think is insane. Our supposed entitlement stems from the fact that we really deserve something for all the things we do.
  • We crave work-life balance because we have watched our parents work themselves to death, thus ending up divorce and all us poor kids grew up in a broken home.
  • Yes, we have ADD, but we have twice as many people throwing some new thing at us. We can’t be on a social media site without someone spamming us. And because some expert marketing genius is telling everyone where to find us, it never ends.

If we haven’t purchased a home, it’s because everyone is “educating” us about how in debt we are and how unattainable home ownership is for us.

I could be completely wrong here. Maybe I am a member of some elite social circle that is different from the rest. Maybe it’s a Minnesota thing. But I look around to my fellow Millennials and I am amazed and, frankly, inspired. I’m still trying to find the entitled, lazy, and excessively in debt narcissist living in their parents’ basement playing video games. It’s just not happening.

Brooke Wolford is a real estate practitioner with Coldwell Banker Burnet in Woodbury, Minn.  Follow her blog at www.thehousingword.com.

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Comments 13

  1. Who has told you people live in their parents basement because they are lazy?

    My understanding is Millenials live with their parents because either party, or both, lost their homes during the recession. Many lost more than their homes…

    These people graduated from college with the worst employment numbers in decades and now affordability of homes hasn’t matched median income for these young adults. Their challenges are real.

    I tink I see your effort to draft a message of empowerment in this post, but I personally find it offensive that you put Millenials who don’t have a family or house in “the living with parents because they’re lazy” category.

    Its not either or.

    There are many shades of gray between thd black or white distinction you’re drawing.

  2. While I agree with most of your article, I do have a problem with the statement, “Our supposed entitlement stems from the fact that we really deserve something for all the things we do.” What things do you do different from everyone else that entitles you to something?

  3. Greg, I understand that you have your own perception of this article. As a millennial, I dont think we are lazy. We are the most educated generation. I do not believe, nor does my article imply that millennials are lazy. Its actually the opposite. Im proud of the generation to which I am a part of.

  4. It’s ashame that many in the “most educated generation” weren’t taught to not end sentences with prepositions. Most educated does not equal best educated.

  5. Greg, did you even read this? Brooke never said that Millennials live in their parents basement or are lazy. What she said was, the so-called real estate experts are putting these “facts” in our heads, and that she is seeing the complete opposite is happening. Brooke is actually disagreeing with the “experts,” so please read the entire article before pointing fingers.


  6. Thanks for the feedback Joe! Sometimes I get so excited in writing my thoughts that I may get a little too excited before I hit send. 🙂

  7. I really enjoyed your article Brooke, and I am encouraged by your enthusiasm & your defense of your Generation. I have 6 children in that age group, and have been a youth sports Coach for over 25 years, so I am “organically” involved in the observation of Gen Y.

    I, like you, do not see a relevant percentage of Gen Y huddled in basements playing Video Games. Nor do I see them acting as though they are Entitled or Lazy.

    However, here is where I think you really “Hit The Nail on The Head” … When you said …
    “Maybe I am a member of some elite social circle that is different from the rest. Maybe it’s a Minnesota thing” …

    Though I realize your comment about an Elite Social group, was somewhat “Tongue in Cheek”, you were correct! You, like most humans, have gravitated towards a Peer Group, with similar likes and tendencies and (believe it or not) it does represent a “Unique” Social Group within Gen Y. The Vast Majority have not yet, as you stated you have …
    “When I was in my early 20s, I was buying a home, getting married, and having babies – and guess what…I paid off all of my student loans within a year of graduating” …
    Not because they are any less of “Go Getter” than you and your Peers, but more to your point of Opportunity.

    As a resident of Minnesota, you have access to opportunities, that many who live in states like California, New York, Florida, and others do not. Employment, Affordable Housing, a Strong Local Economy, ect

    HUGE Kudos for paying off your Student Loans, but unfortunately, statistics show that you are among just 3% of 4 year + Graduates, by having done so. This simple difference, is in large part, why Gen Y is having so much difficulty becoming eligible to buy a home.

    Bottom Line here Brooke, you and your Peers, are an excellent example of what can be achieved by Gen Y. You also support the data that shows so many, within Gen Y, moving to more “Rural” communities and States. You prove, what statistics show, that a strong economy results in strong opportunity ….

    However, you are not as “In Touch” with your Generation (Perhaps outside of Minnesota) as you think you are. So when you write an article that touches people in “All” areas, you should be prepared to come across as an “Elitist”, when you are more likely, just ignorant to what’s going on elsewhere.

    I would love to see you spend some time sharing your story with Gen Y’s throughout the U.S., because I see you as a “Success Story, and I think they will as well. =)

    Best of Luck!


  8. Brooke,

    You nailed it! I will say that the younger generation is less patient because we’re use to having things right away when we want them. We’re technologically savvy enough to find information ourselves and enjoy researching online. Many prefer text/email over phone call, but this is no substitute for face time. Social Media hasn’t replaced normal communication, but it did replace things like the newspaper, yellow pages, etc. These buyers all still need the guidance and wisdom of an agent with experience, but often times will need to learn the hard way.

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