Gen Y: Demanding. Unrealistic. Programmed for instant gratification. Addicted to their phone and smashed avo for breakfast.

Gen Y… Those born between 1981 and 1994 and now aged in their early twenties to mid-thirties. Subject to criticism and often labelled as above. But those labels certainly haven’t carried over into reality in my experience. In fact, the people I’ve met who fit this demographic are generally smart, well informed, focused and ambitious.

Not in the same way that Gen Xers like me were ambitious – subscribing largely to the values instilled in us by our parents. We didn’t have social media, a million YouTube videos and an online network of thousands from whom to learn our values. Gen Yers are ambitious in their own unique style. They want to do it their way and they will I believe, become a major force for change. They are coming into their own in the workplace; they have skills that every business needs if it is going to succeed. They are better travelled and have a more global view. They are better informed and know much more clearly what they want – and what they don’t.

Let’s take the suburban home, a huge mortgage, a family and a steady job that will allow us to pay that mortgage off 30 years from now and live perpetually broke in the meantime. Gen Y doesn’t want this kind of life – and who could blame them? Instead, they are looking at ways to better use their earnings and investments to live a more satisfying life. Utilising their endless stream of information, they are making better investment decisions. Many are renting where they want to live (for the lifestyle) and then investing in more affordable areas (for the leverage and capital growth). They have a highly developed ability to find and sift through data, make comparisons, ignore the things that are not in line with their plans and put the rest to good use. Many don’t intend to be tied to one suburb, one state or even one country for the rest of their lives. They’ve already had a taste of the world and want more.

One of the major differences between Gen X and Gen Y is their risk profile. Yes, I realise that’s a broad generalisation, but it appears to me that Gen Y is more comfortable with risk than the previous generation. If you’re a Gen Xer, you were probably taught, like me, that money doesn’t grow on trees, the most important thing is to work hard in a good, steady job and investing is risky. So, instead I taught my kids that if they’re passionate and focused and work both hard and smart, they can create their own reality and achieve whatever they want. I taught them that taking calculated risks is OK, and you have to expect to fail occasionally if you’re going to succeed.

So, keep an eye on Gen Y my friends. I think they’re going to do it even bigger and better than we did.


Words by John Di Natale | Director and Licensed Estate Agent | Equi Wealth