TIME cities

Maybe Millennials Don’t Want to Live in Cities After All

Suburban street
Barbara Fischer—Getty Images

Two-thirds want to own a home in the suburbs, study says

The accepted wisdom about millennials is that they shun the suburbs for the cities. They want to be in urban cores next to easily accessible public transportation options that allow them to seamlessly hit up bars, restaurants and any space with wi-fi.

But any blanket statement about a group that’s roughly 80 million strong will have holes, and a new survey appears to run against that common perception. The poll, released Wednesday by the National Association of Home Builders, shows that Americans in their 20s and mid-30s actually would rather settle down in the suburbs than in city centers.

(MORE: Millennials Will Overtake Baby Boomers to Become Biggest Generation)

According to NAHB’s study, 66% of respondents who were born in 1977 or later said they would prefer to buy a home in an outlying suburb or close to a suburb, while only 24% preferred buying a house in a rural area and 10% would rather have a home in the center of a city.

(MORE: Turns Out Millennials Do Want to Own Cars)

Those numbers seem to show that while millennials may love living in urban cores while they’re young and largely childless, they realize that it may be too expensive in the long-term to buy. It also may signal that apartment living is taking its toll as millennials get older. More than 80% said they wanted to live in a home with three or more bedrooms.

TIME Food & Drink

Here Are the 2 Places Left Where You Can Find That Taste of the ’90s, McDonald’s Pizza

Two locations in Ohio and West Virginia serve the item you thought was extinct

Millennial diners, want to sink your teeth into a round cheezy slab of ’90s nostalgia? McDonald’s Pizza has been found living on at two locations in Ohio and West Virginia, according to Canada.com

The two restaurants, out of over 14,000 McDonald’s locations in America, are owned by a man named Greg Mills and located 90 miles apart from one another, the site reports.

It was the explosion in popularity of drive-through restaurants that brought about the demise of the pizza. The ovens were said to have slowed down sales and restaurants weren’t pushing enough pizzas out to justify the expense.

But Judy Norman, an employee at the West Virginia location, told Canada.com that their pizza still sells and she has “days when everyone wants pizza and there are days where every so often you get a pizza [order].”

For now, millennials can delight that they now have two places they can take their Teenie Beanie Babies, discuss Hey Arnold! and have a slice of the past.

[Canada.com]

MONEY Personal Finance

Turns Out (Gasp) Millennials Do Want to Own Cars

150119_EM_MillennialMyth
Jamie Grill—Getty Images

Young adults want to share everything--except maybe their car

Millennials have spurred the rise of the sharing economy by embracing the notion that renting is almost always better than buying. But even they want to own their own set of wheels, new research shows. Could homeownership, a diamond ring and other traditional purchases be far behind?

Some 71% of young adults would rather buy a car than lease one and 43% are likely to purchase a vehicle in the next five years, according to a survey from Elite Daily, a social site, and research consultants Millennial Branding. This finding suggests young adults that have popularized car-sharing options like Zipcar and RelayRides—and all sorts of other sharing options from wedding dresses to leftover meals—may be warming to traditional ownership.

Could it be that the kids are growing up and want something of their own? Other research shows that millennials, widely regarded as an idealist generation that favors flexibility and personal fulfillment over wealth, have begun backtracking there as well. Increasingly, they link financial health to life satisfaction.

For now, though, home ownership remains largely off their radar: 59% would rather rent a house than buy one and only one in four millennials are likely to purchase a house in the next five years, the survey found. “This shows that millennials don’t know anything about investing, even though they say they do,” says Dan Schawbel, managing partner at Millennial Branding. “A home is a much better investment than a car.”

Schawbel believes millennials are more eager to buy cars because they are delaying marriage and children, and they don’t want to be tied down with real estate. Plenty of research supports that view—and the trend toward delayed family formation. Yet it seems only a matter of time before this generation embraces marriage and homeownership too. The oldest are just 35 and, the survey found, three in five can’t afford to buy a home anyway.

The survey also found that millennials might be struggling less with student debt than is widely believed. Yes, student debt now tops $1.3 trillion. But young adults have money to spend. They are using their income to pay off their loans and getting support from their parents to pay for other things, Schawbel says. That may mean a car now or in the near future, and it seems increasingly clear that eventually it will include real estate. This generation is carving its own path, for sure. But the path may wind up looking more traditional than they know.

MONEY Millennials

Millennials Increasingly Link Money With Fulfillment

money jigsaw puzzle
VisualField—Getty Images

Focused on purpose and meaning, millennials nonetheless wind up more satisfied when their finances are in order, a new study suggests.

Millennials define success more broadly than older generations, seeing it as less about wealth and more about a healthy and fulfilling life. But even as this generation tries to change the world through jobs and investments with purpose, among other things, it may be finding that financial success and personal satisfaction often go hand in hand.

Millennials who describe themselves as successful—whatever that may mean to them as individuals—report more healthy finances across the board than those who do not, new research shows. For example, 31% of millennials who say they are satisfied with their current lifestyle report annual income over $75,000, while just 24% of all millennials earn that much.

Might their healthier income be part of the reason? That seems likely, based on a broad range of findings in a new survey from MoneyTips.com, an online personal finance community geared at 18-to-34 year olds. Young adults describing themselves as satisfied with their current lifestyle, or successful, not only had more income but less debt, more savings, and more confidence in their ability to retire comfortably.

None of this would feel surprising if not for the widely espoused view that millennials favor quality of life issues including job flexibility, social impact, and personal experiences over career and earning power. Maybe they are growing up and realizing that money may help—or at least not hinder—such pursuits. Or maybe their worldview is evolving at a subconscious level as the real world bears down on them.

Either way, a generation that grew up with participation trophies and helicopter parents—and unbridled optimism—seems to be waking to the connection between a satisfying life and healthy finances. Nothing in this survey suggests millennials have lost their zeal for meaning. But financial security has a creeping sense of place.

Asked what financial concerns keep them up at night, 46% of millennials who call themselves successful cite being able to earn enough to secure their future. That compares with 55.6% of all millennials. Likewise, just 23.7% of self-described successful millennials worry about their ability to pay day-to-day expenses, and 33.6% worry about their ability to live within their means. That compares with 41.2% and 42.2%, respectively, for all millennials. A higher percentage who feel satisfied also say they are on track to meet their financial goals, have calculated how much they will need in retirement, and stick to a monthly budget.

About 40% of self-described successful millennials owe at least $15,000 while 45% of all millennials owe that much. When it comes to money in the bank, 58% of successful millennials have at least $10,000, while just 46% of all millennials have that much. Certainly, savings and income aren’t everything. But this next generation has come a long way from thinking finances matter little at all.

MONEY salary negotiation

The Ultimate Millennial’s Guide to Negotiating Salary

Art of Negotiating
Walker and Walker—Getty Images

Even if you don't have much experience behind you, you should be able to talk your way into more money.

This is the fourth in a series of six posts on salary negotiation published in partnership with PayScale.com.

Salary negotiation is always challenging, but it’s especially intimidating for young grads who are just starting their careers. Any how-to on salary negotiation will advise you to use your skills and experience as leverage. So, how do you make a strong case for yourself when you don’t have a lot of ammunition?

First of all, do negotiate. Some studies have shown that negotiating a few thousand dollars more can add up to one million more in total earnings over the course of your career.

Here’s my advice for young job-seekers on keeping their negotiation tactics professional, friendly, data-driven, and timely when they receive their first offer:

Be enthusiastic. Even if the offer is lower than you expected, an offer is an offer. Always be gracious and express excitement before you begin to discuss details.

Don’t feel the need to accept (or negotiate) right away…unless it’s the most perfect offer ever. Even if pushed to accept, ask to review the offer in writing if you’d like more time. It’s important to be able to weigh your options and do some research on how the offer stacks up. That being said, don’t take too much time. They have a job they need to fill.

Do use the offer call (or email) to ask about benefits in addition to salary. When you’re doing your research after the call, make sure you know a typical salary benefits range. A full-time, but hourly gig might not come with benefits, whereas some of the best companies provide benefits that end up being worth 50% of your salary. Consider your entire package.

Look at vacation time, moving allowance, and signing bonus. It’s not typical for entry-level employees to be offered all of these, but it’s important to know if any are not included, as you may be able to negotiate these into your offer. Plus, moving bonuses are definitely worth bringing up if you’re moving to a new city.

Be prompt. Once you’ve researched, respond quickly. Email is your friend. It allows you to collect your thoughts, craft ideal responses and put your best foot forward during the negotiation.

Lead with enthusiasm. You’re still interested in the job and want to make it work. Then, bring up what you want to discuss.

Be prepared to explain what you want, why you want it, and if possible, how it will benefit the company. Example: “I’d like to start on X instead of the Y as I would benefit from some extra moving time and then be able to start with all of my energy focused on learning the job.”

Don’t assume that saying their salary offer is lower than the average will work. Complement your research with an explanation of what you want and why. Take the Job Offer survey on PayScale for detailed insight into how this offer compares to similar ones. This will allow you to justify your rationale for a higher salary. It is important to be data-driven when negotiating.

Be thoughtful about what you ask. I’ve seen someone who was offered a $50,000 salary ask for $60,000. That’s a 20% increase. When you consider that a typical yearly increase is between 2% and 3%, and promotions are typically are usually between 8 and 12%, that person essentially asked for the equivalent of two promotions. (Remember, be data driven!) Be ambitious, but realistic about what you ask for, and always back up your request with data about the company, the job title and the role’s responsibilities—not second-hand knowledge you’ve heard from friends or family.

Accept or Decline. At some point, you’re going to either have to accept or decline. Show either positive enthusiasm or that you’re grateful for the offer. If it’s not going to work for you, it’s not going to work for you. Bow out with grace. You don’t want to close off an opportunity for them to come back with another offer.

Kristen Hamilton is CEO of Koru, a Seattle-based company that provides career training and coaching to recent college grads.

More from this series on Money.com:

More on salary negotiation from PayScale.com:

TIME advice

An Important Piece of Life Advice for Those 30 and Younger

hiker-mountain-top
Getty Images

Here’s a clear opportunity to avoid a future regret

Answer by Karl Pillemer on Quora.

I spend a lot of time interviewing older people about their lives (I’m a gerontologist by profession), and in one project we asked them the question: “What can young people do to avoid having regrets when they come to the end of life?” We found that one big thing people their age often regret is not traveling enough when they were young. Indeed, one of the most important messages they have for younger people is to travel — and to do it now.

A woman in her late 80s told me that among the most regretful elders she knows are those who put off travel until it was too late — a mistake she almost made, had it not been for her husband. She said:

Because they all wait until they retire. But my husband was the one that said, “I’m not waiting until I can retire, who knows what things will be like then.” And it’s true. How do you know if you are going to be able to travel later? I look at my father, who died young, and never was able to travel much. So if you can, without hurting your financial or social or family life, try to do as much traveling as possible while you are young.

So here’s a clear opportunity to avoid a future regret: Travel in your first 30 years, while you have the time, the openness to experience, and the energy. This message comes from some of the elders who delayed travel until it was too late. One 86-year-old I talked to expressed no complaints or regrets. But she had spent her life close to home, and it was with a very wistful look in her eyes that she told me simply: “I always wanted to go to Hawaii, but I never made it. Oh, it’s too late for me.”

I can hear some people saying: That’s all well and good, but how can we afford it? The elders counter that argument by saying that travel is so rewarding, it should take precedence over other things younger people spend money on. The key is travel’s value specifically for the young; it broadens their horizons, helps them to find a focus for their lives, and challenges them in new ways.

Of course, travel is by no means only for the young — although the elders do realistically note that the older you get, the more difficult it is to withstand the rigors of travel. Seeing the world and exposing oneself to different cultures is also important in the middle 30 years and the last 30 years. Travel is just that important to feeling like your life has been well-lived.

This question originally appeared on Quora: What are some of the things you should avoid or try doing in your first 30 years of life?

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

MONEY Shopping

Why Teens Hate Shopping at ‘Teen’ Clothing Stores

Paper covers the windows at a closed Wet Seal store on January 7, 2015 in San Francisco, California. Wet Seal, a teen clothing retailer, announced that it has closed 338 of its retail stores and will lay off nearly 3,700 employees.
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images Paper covers the windows at a closed Wet Seal store on January 7, 2015, in San Francisco.

Teen retailers are suffering for not paying enough attention to the shifting taste of their target audience.

Expect to see more blank storefronts at your local mall—that is if you even go to the mall anymore. Teen clothier Wet Seal announced this week that it will close 338 stores after years of slow sales.

The once popular teen clothing store Delia’s filed for bankruptcy in December with plans to shut down entirely, and yet another apparel specialist targeting teens, Deb Stores, slid back into bankruptcy that same month. The struggles of youth-oriented retailers don’t stop there. Aeropostale lost $141.8 million in its most recent fiscal year and shut 120 stores last year. Rival Abercrombie & Fitch fared little better, while American Apparel has posted net losses of more than $300 million since 2010.

At the same time, sales are booming at shops like H&M, Zara, and Forever 21. The latter plans to double its number of stores in the next three years.

So what happened? Why are teens no longer shopping at the stores that were once the hallmark of “cool”?

1. Individuality Trumps Logos

Thanks to social media—in particular the popularity of searching “outfit of the day” or “OOTD” posts on Instagram—teens now can view hundreds of different products and looks to help them figure out what they want to buy and how to style it. They don’t need a store or brand to help dictate their look for them and aren’t relying on a single brand’s cachet. Instead, millennials favor individuality and shop accordingly. They’re less attached to brands and more willing to mix and match to create their own style, surveys by Nielsen, the Boston Consulting Group, and others have found.

Even Abercrombie, whose name and moose logo were signature design embellishments for every shirt, has realized this. A spokesperson acknowledged to Reuters: “They no longer want to be a walking billboard of a brand. Individualism is important to them, having their own sense of style.” To that end, Abercrombie has shrunk its well-known logo and increased the assortment of offerings in an attempt to better appeal to teens who don’t want to look like store mannequins (or each other).

Abercrombie isn’t the only company that has taken note and been busy “de-branding” designs, notes the Intelligence Group, which found in a study on millennials that they also favor more durable purchases, not flash trends, like classic dark plain denim jeans that can be worn for several years. Retailers that have been more successful with teens of late such as H&M and Forever 21 tend to focus more on selling clothes that seem brandless and still trendy, without prominent logos.

2. “Faster” Fashion Dominates

Stores like Zara, H&M, and Forever 21, which have much shorter waits between when clothing is ordered and when it goes on sale than traditional teen retailers, can roll out new clothing options each week, not each season, meaning they can quickly adopt trends from the catwalk and rapidly bring them to a sales floor. They can also better capitalize on cuts and patterns that are trending well with teens, giving them exactly what they want, faster than ever.

These “fast fashion” shops typically sell clothes at low prices—ideal when your clientele doesn’t have much money—and an ever-changing roster of products lures teens back into stores (or websites) again and again to see what’s new. It’s easy to see how this trend snowballs and hurts the competition, with teens having less time or inclination to look at other shops selling the same 14 sweaters they were a month ago.

3. Malls Are No Longer a Hangout

Remember Clueless, that movie that Iggy Azalea replicates in the “Fancy” music video? In it, privileged 1995 teen Cher’s default retreat is the mall. It’s where she goes to find comfort and break in her new clogs, and where a major popularity restructuring happens. Such a plot point wouldn’t be happening today, and I don’t just mean about the clogs.

Twenty years later, Cher’s counterpart’s default hangout could be at a fast-casual restaurant or at home in front of a screen of some sort. Basically, anywhere but the mall, which has seen a drop in foot traffic across all age groups, but among young people in particular. Strict “parental supervision” policies, like the one Ford City Mall announced this week, make it impossible for some teens to hang out at the mall even if they wanted to, with requirements that anyone under 18 be accompanied by a parent on Friday or Saturday evenings. Roughly 80 other malls have implemented similar policies, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers.

Add in the fact that in 1990, about 3 million retail jobs were held by 16-to-19-year-olds, vs. about 1 million today. When someone works at the mall, they’re more likely to shop there simply as a matter of convenience. Plus, isn’t part of the fun of going to a mall getting to annoy your working friend by unfolding all the shirts or pretending to be interested in smoothies so you can spy on your Jamba Juice crush?

Oh, and young people today are less likely to have driver’s licenses or own cars than prior generations, so it’s just plain more difficult for them to get to the mall. Assuming they wanted to go there, of course.

4. Budget Cuts

Clothing simply isn’t the top spending priority for teens it once was. In 2003, teens spent nearly 30% of their budgets on clothing. Nowadays, that figure has dropped to 21%. Of course, teens in 2003 didn’t have the newest iPhone 6 and its accompanying data plan to pay for or selfie sticks to buy. The best a 2003 teen could hope for was a pink Motorola Razr, if they got a cellphone at all. But the point is that today’s teens and millennials are likely to spend less on clothing and more on electronics and eating out at restaurants like Chipotle.

5. Yoga Pants, Yoga Pants, Yoga Pants

Skinny jeans? Flare? Colored? Forget them all. No teenage girl wants to buy new denim each season when she can slip on the modern uniform involving some variation of yoga pants, leggings, or upscale sweatpants. Sales of these “athleisure” offerings, embodied best by retailer Lululemon, have soared this past year as millennials swap their jeans for bottoms that can do double duty at the gym and school. Sales for activewear topped $35 billion last year and now make up 17% of the total clothing market, according to market-research company NPD Group.

With leggings offering greater wardrobe versatility at a lower cost than a typical pair of denim, teens just aren’t feeling the urge to buy those artfully ripped jeans in 10 different washes that still dominate the offerings from American Eagle Outfitters and Abercrombie & Fitch. And though AEO and Aeropostale have tried to break into the leisurewear market with new offerings, they’re having a hard battle for attention with established players likes Lululemon and Athleta.

MONEY Millennials

How to Set Financial Priorities When You’re Young and Squeezed

man counting coins
MichaelDeLeon—Getty Images

You have a lot of demands on your money—and not a lot of it. Here's what to do first.

The most financially challenging state of life is not retirement, it is early career.

That’s the time when your salary is still probably low, but you have the longest list of expenses: career clothes, cell phone bills, your first home furnishings, cars, weddings, rent—need I go on? You probably don’t have enough money to pay for all of that at once, unless your parents have set you up very well or you are a junior investment banker.

The rest of us have to make choices with our limited “discretionary” income. Here is a rough priorities list for newbies who have shopping lists that are bigger than their bank accounts.

First, feed the 401(k) to the match, not the max. If your employer matches your contributions, make sure that your paycheck withdrawals are high enough to capture the entire company match. That is free money. If you have enough money to contribute more to your 401(k), that is a good thing to do, but only if you’re able to cover other key expenses.

Invest in items that will improve your lifetime earning power. A good interview suit. An advanced degree. The right electronic devices and services for the serious job hunt.

Pay off credit card balances. Chasing those “balance due” notices every month will kill just about any other financial goal you have. If you’re carrying significant credit card balances, abandon all other extra savings and spending until you’ve paid them off, in chunks as large as possible.

Put money into a Roth individual retirement account. The younger you are and the lower your tax bracket, the better this works out for you. Money goes in on an after-tax basis and comes out tax-free in retirement. You can withdraw your own contributions tax-free whenever you want. Once the account has been in existence for five years, you can pull an additional $10,000 out, tax-free, to buy a home. It’s nice to have a Roth, and the younger you start it the better.

Save for a home down payment. Homeownership is still a smart way to build equity over a lifetime. New guidelines will once again make mortgages available to people who make downpayments as low as 3%. Even though interest rates are still at unrewarding lows, it’s good to amass these earmarked funds in a savings or money market account.

Pay down high-interest student loans. If you had private loans with interest rates over 8%, find out whether you can refinance them at a lower rate. If not, consider paying extra principal to burn that costly debt more quickly. Don’t race to pay off lower-interest student loans; the interest on them may be tax deductible, and there are better places to put extra cash.

Buy experiences, not things. Still have some money left? Fly across the country to attend your college roommate’s wedding. Take road trips with friends. Spend money to join a sports team, theater group, or fantasy football league. Focus your finances on making memories, not acquiring things—academic research holds that you get more happiness for the dollar by doing that, and you’ll probably be moving soon anyway.

Buy a couch. For now, make this the bottom of your list. Sure, everyone needs a place to sit, but there’s nothing wrong with living like a student just a little bit longer. If you defer expensive things for a few years while you put money towards all the higher priorities on this list, you’ll be sitting pretty in the future.

UPDATE: This story has been updated to clarify that Roth IRA holders can withdraw their own contributions at any time and do not have to wait until the account is five years old.

TIME

How to Get a Job Much, Much Faster

desk-office-supplies
Getty Images

This is a no-brainer way to boost your job search

A lot of Americans, especially young adults, still have trouble landing work in today’s economy. New research suggests one way to overcoming unemployment is something anybody can do: volunteer.

A forthcoming paper in the Journal of Career Assessment says unemployed young adults who volunteer find new jobs faster. Lead author Varda Konstam, professor emerita in the counseling and school psychology department at the University of Massachusetts Boston says the findings “do suggest significant association between volunteering and finding employment.”

In a survey of more than 200 unemployed young adults, Konstam finds that the ones who volunteer seem to have an edge on their counterparts. “Those who elected to volunteer, even for a minimal investment in time… were more likely to procure employment 6 months later,” she writes. This finding holds true across participants’ careers, skill sets and other demographic differences.

And you won’t even have to take that much time away from your job search to reap the benefits. Just a couple hours of volunteering a week is enough to make a difference, Konstam finds. Among study participants who didn’t volunteer, almost three-quarters were still looking for work six months later. But among those who volunteered — even those who did for just two hours a week or less — nearly half had landed jobs. While Konstam points out that her results don’t necessarily imply causation, that’s a big difference between the two groups.

There could be a few reasons behind this connection. Konstam points to the much-discussed “degree inflation” in higher education; today, just cranking out four years after high school doesn’t necessarily mean you’re equipped to compete in today’s labor market, even as more low-level jobs are demanding that applicants come with college already under their belts.

Since a degree alone doesn’t convey job worthiness anymore, Konstam’s findings suggest that employers are using volunteer work as a proxy for applicants’ ability to actually do work. Even if the volunteering is unrelated to a job applicant’s chosen field, it’s a good indication that they can show up on time, interact with other people and provide some value to the organization.

“Volunteering activities provide opportunities for emerging adults to master specific skillsets and to demonstrate proof of competency and value,” Konstam writes.

Another way volunteering might help your job search is by giving you a broader perspective on what kind of work you’re good at and enjoy doing. “It is possible that by increasing social contacts, volunteering promotes an open-minded approach toward different careers,” Konstam writes. “Volunteering may increase career-related information and skills in a variety of job-related areas in a way that broadens… career interests.”

 

 

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