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Economy

Why We’re Wrong About Millennials

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Businesses spend millions of dollars trying to understand them. News outlets write thousands of articles about them. And the public thinks they’re pampered phone-addicts that live in their parents’ house.

Millennials.

What are millennials anyway? There are a few ways to define this age group, but for clarity’s sake, we will define the term as Pew Research does. According to their chart, millennials were born between 1981 and 1996.

The world is fascinated by this demographic. Here’s a spattering of popular content about millennials:

In 2016, Inside Quest interviewed Simon Sinek about millennials and the video went viral with 11 million+ views. In it, he says millennials are lazy, narcissistic, entitled, and addicted to their phones.

A lot of people agreed with his views, but are these opinions a fair understanding?

This article seeks to explain why some stereotypes about millennials are inaccurate. Consider these thoughts on why we may be wrong about millennials:

Opinions about millennials are similar to every generation in history

Popular opinions about millennials include:

  • They’re pampered and spoiled
  • They won’t work hard and expect to be rewarded
  • They’re given everything, yet complain endlessly

But here’s the thing – adults have been saying this is about younger generations for centuries. Compare these quotes from the past and our current century:millennial_chart

Amazingly, people complained about young baby boomers the same way baby boomers complain about millennials. And you know what? When millennials get older, I bet they’ll complain about the younger generation the same way too.

This historical pattern reveals that millennials are not unique in these regards. In the 1950s, young people were apparently “pampered” by technology and preferred busses over walking.

In the 1990s, they said that the younger Generation X lived better than the previous generation but complained about life more.

Even 2000+ years ago, Aristotle said the youthful thought they knew everything and were insolent.

Sound familiar?

Are only millennials pampered complainers? Or are they just like every other generation of humans? The more logical conclusion is…

People change as they get older

If people progress properly, they become wiser and more experienced as they age. It’s natural for the older to view the younger as foolish and inexperienced.

Our older selves are significantly different than our younger selves. We should apply a similar grace to millennials. They will grow and mature as previous generations did.

Opinions on millennials downplay external factors

This is a frustrating injustice that all of us have experienced – being blamed for something that was beyond our control. There may be certain trends among millennials, but how much is due to circumstances they grew up in?

A few condemning stereotypes about millennials conveniently overlook external factors that were beyond their control. Here are two examples:

Tech advancement coincided with millennials’ coming of age

Have you heard that millennials are screen-centered, phone-addicted slaves to technology? Well, it’s partly true.

A study by Akademiai revealed female college students spend 10 hours a day on their phones and male college students spend 8 hours a day on their phones.

Part of this phenomenon has to do with recent technological advancements. Common in-person activities have evolved into online activities. For example, you can use your phone to…

  • Do banking
  • Email, text, photography, and video
  • Network on social media
  • Apply for jobs
  • Order food
  • Listen to music
  • Find a date
  • Research questions
  • Use handy tools like a calculator, dictionary, stopwatch, alarm, or notebook
  • Watch a how-to video

When you consider these developments it’s natural to conclude that people will be on their phones more, especially individuals who grew up with access to mobile devices.

If there’s a broken copy machine at work, someone is bound to watch a how-to video on their phone. If it’s ten minutes before lunch, someone will most likely order pizza through an app. Where employees used to play the radio while working, now they will opt to stream music on their phones.

Do people goof off on their phones? Absolutely. But not all phone usage is bad. It seems like millennials are ruthlessly thrashed for using their phones. Sometimes they’re just following a map app to a new location or reading current events.

Don’t forget about the ‘08 recession

Another common stereotype about millennials is that they do not work hard and are financially irresponsible. They live with their parents into late adulthood, spend too much on avocado toast, and have tons of student loans.

A study by Urban Institution revealed that millennials are less likely to be wealthy compared to previous generations at their age.

But is the financial state of millennials due to incompetence and poor work ethic? Research tells a different story. According to a U.S Travel Association survey, millennials are workaholics.

They surveyed 5,000 full-time employees and found millennials are more likely to forfeit vacation days than other age groups. Millennials were also more likely to agree with these statements:

  • “I want to show complete dedication to my company and job.”
  • “I don’t want others to think I am replaceable.”
  • “I feel guilty for using my paid time off.”

In other words, millennials are working hard, but they’re not making as much money.

When we combine these two studies, poor work ethic isn’t the issue affecting millennial wealth. The more likely conclusion is the poor state of the economy.

Thousands of millennials graduated college with huge student loans only to enter an American workforce shattered by a real estate bubble.

Investments were lost. Homes were foreclosed. In the months after the bubble burst, unemployment peaked at 10%.

With the rising cost of real estate and stricter lending standards, it’s no wonder that millennials are less likely to own a home than previous generations.

Opinions on millennials are rarely based on evidence and data

There’s a lot of talk about millennials, but it’s rarely based on evidence and data. A prime example is IQ’s interview with Simon Sinek, which was earlier cited. In this 15 minute video, Sinek doesn’t reference a single source for his opinions.

While Sinek has interaction with millennials, his experience is a tiny fragment of a huge demographic.

And he’s not the only one. There are some silly articles out there that are just baseless in their claims:

There’s tons of talk and ink spilled about millennials, but there isn’t a lot of solid, reliable information out there.

What’s worse is that readers have some experiences with millennials that match these theories and conclude, “Oh wow, that information was true.”

Eventually, so many people buy into these claims that readers suffer from groupthink. If the majority believes millennials are filling the void of their heart with houseplants, well then it must be true.

We need fewer stereotypes and more research

Jokes are good from time to time and every civilized society needs humor, but many of these stereotypes don’t accurately portray millennials. Just because content goes viral and a lot of people believe it, doesn’t mean it’s true.
To properly understand millennials, we need to actually study them and produce informed opinions based on research. Good places to start are Pew Research and Census.gov. You can also conduct your own surveys with SurveyHero.

Not only is this approach more ethical than rehashing stereotypes, but it will also help us navigate familial and business relationships. Millennials will be less misunderstood, and we will understand them better.

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Economy

STUDY: Number of Billionaires Doubles in Last Decade

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Number of Billionaires Doubles in Last Decade
Image via Shutterstock

The number of billionaires has doubled in the past decade and the world’s wealthiest 2,153 people controlled more money than the poorest 4.6 billion combined last year, the charity Oxfam said Monday.

Meanwhile, unpaid or underpaid work by women and girls adds three times more to the world’s economy each year at least $10.8 trillion than the technology industry, the Nairobi-based charity said in its “Time to Care” report.

Women around the world work 12.5 billion hours combined each day without any pay or recognition, while the world’s 22 richest men have more wealth than all the women in Africa.

“It is important for us to underscore that the hidden engine of the economy that we see is really the unpaid care work of women. And that needs to change,” Amitabh Behar, CEO of Oxfam India, told Reuters.

“Our broken economies are lining the pockets of billionaires and big business at the expense of ordinary men and women. No wonder people are starting to question whether billionaires should even exist,” Behar said ahead of the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, where he will represent Oxfam beginning Tuesday.

“Women and girls are among those who benefit least from today’s economic system,” he added.

There will be at least 119 billionaires worth about $500 billion attending Davos this year, according to Bloomberg, with the highest contingents coming from the US, India and Russia.

“The very top of the economic pyramid sees trillions of dollars of wealth in the hands of a very small group of people, predominantly men,” the Oxfam report said.

“Their wealth is already extreme, and our broken economy concentrates more and more wealth into these few hands,” it said.

To highlight the inequality, Behar cited the case of a woman called Buchu Devi in India who spends up to 17 hours a day walking almost two miles to fetch water, cooking, preparing her kids for school and working in a poorly paid job.

“And on the one hand you see the billionaires who are all assembling at Davos with their personal planes, personal jets, super rich lifestyles,” he said.

“This Buchu Devi is not one person. I in India encounter these women on a daily basis, and this is the story across the world. We need to change this, and certainly end this billionaire boom.”

Behar said that to remedy the problem, governments should make sure above all that the rich pay their taxes, which should be used to pay for amenities such as clean water, health care and better schools.

“If you just look around the world, more than 30 countries are seeing protests. People are on the street and what are they saying? That they are not to accept this inequality, they are not going to live with these kind of conditions,” he said.

Source: New York Post
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(c) 2020 2019 Vanguard Media Limited, Nigeria Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (Syndigate.info).

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Automobiles

Pump Prices to Edge up After Attack on Iranian General, but Long-Term Effect Unclear

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By Jeff Ostrowski, The Palm Beach Post, Fla.

Motorists soon will see the effects of President Donald Trump’s decision to kill a prominent Iranian general. Whether pump prices rise a little or a lot depends on how quickly international tensions intensify.

Florida gas prices climbed an average of 7 cents a gallon in the past three days and could increase an additional 5 cents, AAA – The Auto Club Group said Monday.

The 7-cent increase was coming even before the U.S. air strike Thursday that killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani. That hike was a result of a rise in the price of crude oil in December.

News of the targeted killing of Soleimani sent crude oil surging nearly $2 per barrel on Friday. An increase of that magnitude typically translates to a 5-cent hike at the pump, AAA said.

The U.S. benchmark for crude oil traded Monday just above $63 per barrel, the highest level since May 2019. The price of oil makes up about half the price of a gallon of gas.

“What happens in the Middle East can have a direct impact on Americans’ daily lives by influencing what they pay at the pump,” said AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins. “Crude prices rise when there’s a threat of war, because of concerns over how the conflict could hamper supply and demand.”

Oil analyst Tom Kloza of energy firm OPIS agreed that pump prices in Florida likely will rise about 5 cents a gallon in the coming days.

“Then I have a hunch that things are going to calm down,” Kloza said Monday. “I don’t think we’re looking at $3 gas.”

The national average pump price Sunday was $2.585, while the Florida average was $2.526, AAA said.

Kloza expects only modest increases in part because of the timing of the attack. January is always a slow month for gas consumption in the United States.

There’s also the reality that sanctions leave Iran unable to export oil. Complicating the calculus is Iraq’s response to the U.S. attack. The drone strike on Soleimani took place in Baghdad, and some Iraqi politicians considered the assault an affront to Iraqi sovereignty.

While there’s no Iranian oil supply to be disrupted by a war, Iraq is an important producer.

Trump keenly watches oil prices and realizes that a price spike might erode his support in this year’s presidential election, Kloza said.

At the same time, Kloza added, “This president has proven to be unpredictable.”

Trump’s response has been typically uneven. Delivering an official statement at the Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Trump’s tone was measured. He said the targeted killing was designed to pre-empt Soleimani’s planned attacks on American diplomats and soldiers.

“We took action last night to stop a war,” Trump said Friday. “We did not take action to start a war.”

However, over the weekend, Trump took to Twitter to threaten attacks on Iranian cultural sites.

“The United States just spent Two Trillion Dollars on Military Equipment,” Trump wrote Sunday on Twitter. “We are the biggest and by far the BEST in the World! If Iran attacks an American Base, or any American, we will be sending some of that brand new beautiful equipment their way…and without hesitation!”

##IFRAME_1##Iran has vowed vengeance, but military experts say the nation isn’t powerful enough to wage a direct war against the U.S.

“It’s still far too early to know how much of an impact this conflict will have overall on prices at the pump,” AAA’s Jenkins said.

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Economy

Stocks Rally Despite Impeachment News

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Stocks rose on Thursday as investors looked past the news of President Donald Trump’s impeachment as well as mixed U.S. economic data.

The Dow Jones Industrials advanced 53.85 points to begin trading at 28.293.13

The S&P 500 recovered 4.93 points to 3,196.07

The NASDAQ added 19.39 points to Wednesday’s all-time record, at 8,847.12.

The S&P 500 is up nearly 7% since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi launched a formal impeachment inquiry in September.

Cisco Systems was the best-performing Dow component, rising 1.6%. The consumer staples and real estate sectors led the S&P 500 higher, gaining 0.4% each. Micron Technology shares also contributed to Thursday’s move higher. Conagra shares surged more than 14% and were on pace for their biggest one-day gain since Oct. 16, 1989.

Micron shares climbed 3.5% on the back of strong quarterly results. The chipmaker posted earnings per share and revenue that topped analyst expectations.

On the economic data front, weekly jobless claims fell to 234,000 from 252,000 the week before. However, economists expected claims to fall to 225,000.

Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve’s business conditions index fell to 0.3 in December from 10.4 in the previous month. Economists expected the index to slip to 8.

The Democrat-led House of Representatives voted Wednesday to impeach Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Trump became only the third president to be charged with high crimes and misdemeanors and will now face a trial in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Prices for the 10-Year U.S. Treasury were lower, raising yields to 1.94% from Wednesday’s 1.93%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices gained seven cents to $61.00 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices moved forward $1.80 at $1,480.50 U.S. an ounce. Copyright © 2019 Baystreet.ca Media Corp. All rights reserved.

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