I think Millennials have the greatest opportunity to build a meaningful career (and accumulate the most wealth) in comparison to previous generations.
I’m a Millennial living in America, and I think we have it pretty easy. No, I’m not part of the group of Millennials that will inherit a projected $68 Trillion from their Baby Boomer parents (Forbes posted the data on this), but we’ll get into my background later.
I should preface this post with the disclaimer that I fully acknowledge we all come from various walks of life, and some of us have faced extraordinary circumstances. That being said-our ancestors also faced extraordinary circumstances, and the goal of this post is to discuss the very present opportunities that my generation has that we should be taking advantage of.
My Immigrant Grandfather Made Me Realize My Life Isn’t That Hard
I grew up in a pretty interesting environment (if you ask me). My mom passed away from cancer when I was a child, and my father isn’t currently a key player in my life. No disrespect to him, as he’s one of my greatest teachers and has made me a stronger, more resilient woman. My grandparents (especially my grandfather) played a key role in my life until they both passed away. My grandfather is an Italian immigrant, and he taught me the importance of hard work and persistence. He came to America after his home was blown to smithereens in World War II. He ended up opening a restaurant in Los Angeles, California with my aunt, and while he was never rich, he was able to keep a roof over his head and food on the table (for those that are unfamiliar with the restaurant industry, most operate on razor-thin margins. The pandemic has only worsened this). His mantra that I’ve adopted always was “Never Give Up, and Never Complain”.
When I reflect on my life versus my grandfather’s, my life feels so simple and easy. Sure, I’ve faced hardship. That being said, I never had to lose my home in a war. I never had to experience coming to America with absolutely nothing and without speaking any English. I always had a roof over my head and food on the table. I have the internet, which has provided me with opportunities that I never dreamed of as a little girl.
I believe that because we’re so consumed with social media, we often take the magnitude of the internet and its ability to elevate our careers for granted. I remember having a conversation with a family friend who’s now in her 70’s about what looking for a job meant when she was a young woman. Since the first working prototype of the internet wasn’t available until the 1960s, the Baby Boomers used to pick up the newspaper and review the job postings. When they found a job they liked, they’d pick up the phone and call to schedule an interview. Now, when Millennials are in the market for a new role, we can update our LinkedIn profile, connect with recruiters, and interview on Zoom without ever leaving our house! Oh, how far we’ve come!
Millennials Can Build a Career Based on What They’re Passionate About
Fast-forward to 2021, where you can decide that you’re “over” the corporate grind and make a career out of any interest you want, thanks to the internet. You can set up a Youtube or Instagram account within minutes. You can choose a niche, post quality content (I know the term “quality” is subjective-but content that a specific audience sees value in), and build an entire career. The fact that an “Influencer” is now an occupation is a concept that most of my parents or grandparents generation never thought was possible. This might be mind-bending for some, but folks-there is an entire podcast dedicated to reviewing Britney Spears’ Instagram posts. They have over 11,000 followers on twitter and have received public exposure in the newly released, “Framing Brittney Spears” documentary. That last sentence should convey that anything is possible.
If you don’t want to be an Influencer and want a more behind-the-scenes role, you can sign up for an account on Fiverr or Upwork to be a Freelancer. You’ll find a plethora of opportunities in the design and computer programming space, in addition to less technical work, such as program management. Also, you can always reach out to local businesses on Yelp that can benefit from your services to start building clientele. I have previously offered to work for a local business for free, and that turned into full-time (paid employment). Whether you decide to build an audience on social media, pursue a traditional career using LinkedIn, or leverage a platform like Upwork; you are still in a unique position that wasn’t available to your parents or grandparents.
The Tools and Information Available to Millennials Are Endless
As Millennials, we now have more information on long-term wealth-building than ever before. We can pick up our smartphones and read Medium posts, blogs, watch Youtube, and learn practically anything we want to know about the world of Finance without reaching out to a financial advisor or stockbroker. In reflecting on my situation, I didn’t learn anything about basic finance in college. Every piece of valuable information that I’ve learned about investing has come from reading finance blogs, and our parents and grandparents didn’t have the luxury to leverage the online finance community to build their wealth.
In addition to having accessible wealth-building information, our generation is very lucky to have streamlined finance processes and tools. The above photo is what old-school Wall Street’s Trading Floor used to look like, the primary location for market transactions. Now that we have moved to electronic trading, only 10% of actual market activity happens on the floor, according to CNBC. Our parents and grandparents didn’t have the luxury of logging into Robinhood and clicking a few buttons to purchase stock. They were on the phone with their broker who was handling the transactions on their behalf; I’d say I’d much rather purchase an ETF on my lunch break than have to call a broker every time I want to execute a trade.
What about student debt?
I feel as though I must address this, as I know readers are thinking about the ever-increasing student debt and outrageous tuition costs that many Millennials faced (and that Gen Z is currently facing). I fully acknowledge that the cost of college tuition is insane, and I have my own opinions on whether or not college is worth the price tag for most people; spoiler alert: I think more people should pursue entrepreneurship, sales, and trade schools.
While we can’t “undo” graduating from college or ignore the fact that the average student loan payment is $393, we can still increase our income and tackle the payments with a bit of sweat equity. A post that I published on Medium 16 days ago titled, “How I Built a Net Worth of $500,000 Before Age 30” has already made $300, which almost covers a monthly student loan payment from one article. When you look for opportunities to add value to an audience, making money is fairly easy, albeit time-consuming (but well worth the effort).
Key Takeaways: While many Millennials face substantial student loan debt, we also have the greatest opportunity to build wealth and a career beyond our expectations. The internet is a gold mine of investing information, where anyone can learn practical advice to be able to retire wealthy. Companies such as Yelp, Instagram, Medium, and Upwork can serve as a launching pad to build a career that your parents and grandparents never thought was possible. As a Millennial, I have so much gratitude for the opportunities that I have to not only pursue a career from a place of passion, but to also have access to the free information on the internet on wealth-building. If you would like more information on how I built my $500,000 portfolio before turning 30, you can read about it here: