And you, where do you see yourself in 30 years?
If you’re a twenty- or thirty-something and are feeling uncertain about what your (financial) future is going to look like, you are not alone.
What do you need to be happy? Will you choose the security of settling down? Or do you want an adventurous life with as few commitments and as many surprises as possible? Do you want a permanent job with financial security? Or will you go for a career that primarily provides personal and social fulfilment?
Or hang on a moment... Could you have it all?
What does the future hold?
It is a well-known bit of postcard wisdom: the best way to predict your future, is to create it yourself. Except that in these uncertain times, while you’re trying to create that future, doubt may get the upper hand. As many as four out of ten millennials admit to worrying about the future on a regular basis.
Top 5 things millennials worry about most
- Family well-being and financial future (joint first place)
- Job and career
- Everyday money issues
- Political and social climate
Millennials are the generation born the 1980s and 1990s. The fact that twenty- and thirty-somethings are now worrying about their (financial) future is no accident. For years, they have been hearing that they will be responsible for maintaining their own quality of life. For instance, according to a poll conducted by the Federation of Enterprises in Belgium (VBO), half of all young adults believe that they will not receive a government pension in the future. On top of that, millennials have already had to deal several significant crises (in 2008 and the years that followed, and again in 2020), at a time when they are still relatively new to the employment market.
Worrying about the future, but still optimistic
Despite the worries and challenges that twenty- and thirty-year-olds are dealing with today, they remain optimistic about the future. A worldwide study by Deloitte of more than 25,000 millennials, conducted before and during the Covid-19 crisis, provides some striking insights. Millennials appear to be hopeful about the climate situation and have a high sense of responsibility regarding their financial management.
Even though millennials have been hit by the Covid-19 crisis, they can still see a break in the clouds. The younger they are, the more optimistic their view of the future is. A Europe-wide study (December 2019) by the Bertelsmann Stiftung, which the King Baudouin Foundation collaborated on for our country, produced similar results. According to the results, half of all Belgians see the future in a positive light. However, it is mainly millennials who are embracing the future with open arms, even though they have concerns.
What advice would you give a younger version of yourself? It is a question that you often hear around the campfire. It certainly makes for interesting conversation. But, of course, you cannot turn the clock back. However, you can turn the question around: What advice would you give an older version of yourself? This question is an invitation to consider your future instead of your past. Your future is something you can steer in a direction you want to go. Especially when you are still young. Because the choices you make (or don’t make) today will have an impact on how (financially) comfortable you are later.