Any number of pieces have been written about how the millennial generation is consciously refusing to do things that preceding generations thought were perfectly reasonable, such as playing golf or investing in the stock market, or even doing a SINGLE NICE THING for someone else!
This seems to have caused some consternation on Wall Street, where the powers-that-be would obviously like to see millennials do at least one nice thing for them: Hand over all their money.
Have no fear because Wall Street is ON IT! Financial companies are working hard to solve the Rubik's Cube (er, sorry the 2048) that is the Gen Y zeitgeist, if recent reports from Federated Investors and Goldman Sachs are any indication. Based on the research, here are the highlights of what you need to know about this enigmatic generation: They like skinny ties and skinny jeans and—based on the way these companies are presenting the findings—they seem to only be reachable through cartoon-like graphics and animation.
Not to be outdone, Goldman Sachs is also chasing this huge millennial craze. According to recent Goldman animation, millennials seem to enjoy throwing their electronics-adorned hands in the air and waving them in a manner that implies they simply do not care:
But that belies an important issue with these millennials. They do care! It's just that they care about a bunch of stuff that older folks haven't cared about since the days of lava lamps. According to Goldman's cartoon, they have weird new-agey priorities such as "wellness" and have "shown different attitudes to ownership that have helped spawn what’s being called a 'sharing economy.'"
Sounds like a bunch of hippies, at best—and commies, at worst. Can't Wall Street just blow off this hopeless generation and focus on the older folks who have all the money (and not all those pesky post-grad degrees)? After all, millennials have less disposable cash and way more college debt, according to Goldman's animation (and probably according to that 30-year-0ld "screenwriter" living in your basement.)
Well, therein lies the catch. It seems that the millennials are going to inherit a lot more from their baby boomer parents than just some tie-dyes, Steely Dan LPs, and Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers comic books. To the tune of $30 trillion, according to Federated. Most of it apparently, will come from friendly older cartoon couples who look like slimmer versions of Santa and Mrs. Claus and have $30 trillion stuffed in pink piggy banks:
That is some serious dough! And here we thought the boomers blew all their money on reefers and Rogaine. So it's no surprise that companies seem to have their Flash animators working nonstop to chase this big payday, once the boomers start croaking in earnest.
But there's another catch! These weirdo millennials are too smart for their own good, with all that education and whatnot, and they're getting all their financial advice from their weirdo friends and their weirdo selves and even weirdo online market commentators on weirdo social networks. They're not even listening to the "expert" brokers and bankers. See, here's Federated:
The scary part is, they could be so hopped up on this "sharing economy" that they may not roll all of that dough into perfectly sensible investments such as stocks, triple-leveraged inverse ETFs, or synthetic CDO squareds. Instead, they could very well just "share" it. If that's the case, they're bound to start hearing from a bunch of moochers who are even worse than Wall Street: Gen Xers.
For more, read this QuickTake: Recession’s Lost Generations