The Myth of Generations

"One-third of young adults would rather deep-clean their bathroom than check their savings account. One quarter say they would prefer to spend an hour with their ex than draft a budget."

This is how Barron's described the results of a study conducted by Fidelity of 18 to 44 year olds.

The results, while both funny and sad, are not very surprising. But I would imagine the outcome would be the same for an older cohort. I see the same approach towards money issues in clients of all ages.

The attribution of certain characteristics to a person based on the generation they belong to is way overdone according to Louis Menand in a brilliant article in The New Yorker entitled "Generation Overload."

I highly recommend the article. Here's a snippet:

"People born within a [generation] are supposed to carry a basket of characteristics that differentiate them from people born earlier or later. This supposition requires leaps of faith. For one thing, there is no empirical basis for claiming that differences within a generation are smaller than differences between generations (Do you have less in common with your parents than with people you have never met who happen to have been born a few years before or after you?) The theory also seems to require that a person born in 1965, the first year of Generation X, must have different values, tastes, and life experiences from a person born in 1964, the last year of the baby-boom generation (1946-64). And that someone born in the last birth year of Gen X, 1980, has more in common with someone born in 1965 or 1970 than with someone born in 1981 or 1990."

In the end, I find views on money and investments to vary more with respect to personality traits and life experiences than I do to the year of a person's birth.

Words of Wisdom

Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it. -George Orwell

Talkin' 'bout My Generation -The Who