Millennials are different

A survey of 2000 adults asked (among other things) what annual income would be needed to make them happy. Millennials needed 4x more than other groups.

Boomers      $124K
Gen-X        $130
Millennials  $526
Gen-Z        $128



The source is a financial advisory firm. I wonder who did they ask?

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“The Empower ‘Financial Happiness’ study is based on online survey responses from 2,034 Americans ages 18+ fielded by The Harris Poll from August 7 to August 14, 2023, and using data from the Empower Personal Dashboard™. The survey is weighted to be nationally representative on the following dimensions: age, gender, education, race, region, income, size of household, marital and employment status. For this study, the sample data is accurate to within + 2.9 percentage points using a 95% confidence level.”


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I have to say I’m not surprised. I have a nephew in the Millenial age group. After going to college (fully paid by us and another aunt) after graduation we asked what he was going to do.

“Get a job being the Manager of some company, probably.”

We did our best to explain to him that unless his father owns the company, that’s not how it works.


Some of it could be unrealistic expectations, i.e., naive, but I wonder if most of it is where they are in life. The are relatively new to the workforce, starting a family, buying a home (maybe), kids, etc., etc., etc and all those things add up quickly. The other groups are past all that or really just getting started.

What would be interesting is a similar survey when the Boomers and Gen X were in the Millennials position.

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That would be very interesting. Maybe there are some older research papers out there that don’t include the Millennials.

Of course, another posssibility is that Millennials are four-times more unhappy. :frowning_face:


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Maybe it’s because we old phartz have a different concept of what a “lot” of money is? I remember when my dad, a college graduate with a white collar job was astounded that he was on track to make $13,000/year, around 1973. We know about inflation, and what things cost now, but still have that memory of when a dollar was worth ten times what it is now.


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That would seem to be a small effect, as incomes needed were pretty constant across the generations (except for the millennials).

$124K Boomer
$130K Gen-X
$128 Gen-Z


A year or so ago, a study in this area (metro Twin Cities, MN) determined an income of $100+k was needed to “live comfortably”. I believe that was for a family of four. Our national living standard is within two points of 100 (usually 100-102%), so the figures are fairly reasonable.


I vividly remember, when I was Millennials’ age, indulging, thinking, and at times expressing totally unreigned and unreasoned appetites and hopes, because that is the correct age to dream big before entering into adult public reality.

Over aging from about 20 to about 25, I figured out which appetites to pursue vigorously, which to park questioningly, and which to extinguish. By 30 I was tightly focused on what became “my life” as my public persona has lived it up to the present.

I expect something like that is going on with Millennials.

david fb

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Of course, though, Millennials are in the 27-42 age bracket so maybe folks are just not maturing like they used to. :wink:



If so, the millennials are maturing quite slowly. They weren’t born at the turn of the century. Wiki tells us they were born between 1981 and 1996. This makes them between 28 and 43.

Gen-Z is currently in the phase you describe, and their responses were more like Gen-X and Boomers.


Maybe they are “maturing” into Bob Morton. Remember what a piece of work he was?

I think the financial firm asked brokers and secretaries. The brokers were mostly Millennials and the rest were interns, secretaries, or oul brokers who knew better.

If you can find a majority of Millennials in another study just assuming pay should be over $400k on average show me.

Average Millennial Salary :bar_chart:The average Millennial salary is about $47,034, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The average Millennial household makes $69,000 a year, according to the Pew Research Center.

It didn’t say what pay “should” be; the survey was about (among other things) what income and wealth level would make them happy.

So, you just made that up?


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:rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

Yes because bad stats are made up. Do you think those are not bad stats? The stat does not pass the smell test.

As a boomer put me down as “happy” with ten million bucks in pay per year.

As they say, “Why stop there”?