Life strategist Tony Robbins tells MONEY about the guidance he's received from several billionaires.
Gen Y-ers are more financially transparent with their mates than their parents.
When it comes to being open with a partner about your finances, millennials have all other generations beat.
Despite their lower rates of marriage and length of time in relationships, millennials appear to value financial transparency far more than Gen X or Boomers. A full 98% of millennials who are in a relationship reported that they’ve already spoken with their partner about money matters, a report from NerdWallet found.
By comparison, only 87% of middle-aged couples reported that they’ve discussed their financial situation with their partners.
Millennials were also the most likely group to have had these financial discussions before moving in together.
The NerdWallet study also looked into the significance singles place on a person’s credit and financial savvy when dating. The takeaway: 40% of singles reported that they were more likely to date someone with a higher credit score, and over half said they would be less likely to go on a date with someone who had a poor credit score.
For an upcoming story, MONEY wants to hear from both Boomers and Millennials about how they approach money in relationships. Do these findings surprise you? Or do they seem right based on your own experiences? If you’re in a relationship, we want to know when you and your partner had the money talk and what questions you both raised; if you’re not partnered up, we want to hear what financial criteria you think are important for people to consider as they approach a new relationship.
We’ll be in touch for more information if we’re considering your story for publication. We look forward to hearing from you.
A new study shows why the response to the racist scandal at the University of Oklahoma represents a larger shift in attitudes
The Sigma Alpha Epsilon frat members who were expelled from the University of Oklahoma last week after they were caught on tape chanting a racist song are more than just bigotry — they’re also an example of a new kind of out-group. According to a newly released longitudinal study of tolerance across generations, we’re now more tolerant of every group except people who are intolerant.
A new study out of San Diego State University and the University of Georgia found that since 1972, people have become increasingly comfortable with gay people, atheists, communists and militarists playing active roles in their communities. The only group that didn’t see an increase in tolerance was racists.
By modern standards, it feels somehow wrong to lump racists, atheists and gay people into the same survey, as if they were comparable identities. But the study looked at responses to a survey that began in 1972, which may be why the comparisons seem strange and outdated. Back then, racism, homosexuality, communism, militarism and atheism were all examples of controversial out-groups — and the study was intended to measure tolerance of these groups, not make judgments about them.
This new analysis of changing attitudes was done based on data collected since 1972 via the General Social Survey of more than 35,000 adults. To measure tolerance of different groups, participants (all of whom were over 18) were asked whether a member of that group (a communist, a gay person, etc.) should be allowed to give a speech in their community, teach at their college, or have a book in the public library. “It’s not just about having rights,” explains Jean Twenge, a co-author of the study and author of Generation Me. “It’s about interacting with the community, teaching kids, giving speeches.”
Tolerance for gay people, atheists, communists and militarists increased dramatically from 1972 to 2012, with the most dramatic shift in acceptance for gay people, which skyrocketed from around 58% in 1972–74 to 84% in 2010–12. The major aberration, though, was in attitude toward racists. The study found no increased tolerance for people who thought black people were genetically inferior — but also didn’t see a decreased tolerance for them. Instead, the tolerance for racists stayed around 56% since 1972. “We have more tolerance, but we don’t have much more tolerance for intolerant people,” Twenge said.
But 56% acceptance is still a fairly high tolerance for such an abhorrent view. Some have said that the incident at the University of Oklahoma proves how little progress we’ve made in eliminating racism, but Twenge disagrees. “I think the outrage that has followed these incidents is an indicator of how much things have changed,” she said. “If fraternity members in 1965 had said the things that the OU fraternity members said, nobody would have cared. And now they got expelled. I think that shows the difference.”
In general, the study found that young people tended to be more tolerant than older people, and that more recent generations were more tolerant than earlier ones. But the study also found that the most recent generation had the smallest tolerance gap between older people and younger ones — in other words, a 30-year-old and a 70-year-old today are more likely to agree than they would have in the 1970s. That’s because the biggest jump in tolerance levels was from the Silent Generation to the Baby Boomers.
However, even if tolerance has increased with the millennial generation, empathy hasn’t necessarily followed. A study out of the University of Michigan found that college students are 40% less empathetic today than they were 20 or 30 years ago. But what’s the difference between tolerance and empathy? “Being tolerant means ‘you can go do your own thing, be my teacher, give a speech, and I don’t really care if you’re gay or a communist,’” Twenge explains. “That’s different psychologically from saying ‘I understand your perspective, I feel the same things you do, and I really care what happens to you.’”
Social media may be responsible for both the rise in tolerance and the decline in empathy. While social media exposes people to different perspectives that encourage them to be more tolerant of different attitudes and lifestyles, it also may reduce their face-to-face contact with other human beings.
Read next: The Historical Roots of Fraternity Racism
Young people in the United States ranked nearly last in a new international test of skills. See how you compare by answering this one question.
Let’s say you see an advertisement that reads:
Apply for a loan
Up to $70,000
Terms of the loan
Pay only $103 per month for each $1,000 borrowed
Payable in 12 equal monthly payments
What’s the annual simple interest rate on the loan?
If you answer correctly—you’ll have to read on to find out—you’re ahead of the curve when it comes to marketable job skills.
According to a new report from Educational Testing Service (ETS), which designs the GRE and other exams, American millennials lag far behind young people in other countries when it comes to all the top skills that employers seek.
Those include literacy, ability to follow basic written instructions, problem-solving while using technology—and math.
To arrive at these findings, ETS administered a new test called the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies to thousands of people across 22 developed countries.
Out of all millennials, Americans ranked last for numeracy, tied with Italians and Spaniards. Gen Y-ers stateside also got lower reading comprehension scores than peers in 15 of the 22 countries. (Japan ranked number one across all categories.)
That sample question you saw above was described by ETS as 5/5 on the difficulty scale for numeric literacy. The answer, by the way, is around 24%.
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MONEY writer and first-time dad Taylor Tepper announces his retirement from urban living.
Renters in New York City have a uniquely dysfunctional relationship with real estate: The more time we spend living in some of the most desirable housing in the world, the less happy we become. Or maybe that’s just me.
My wife and I pay $2,100 a month for what seems like two square feet and minimal natural light in a converted hospital in a cool Brooklyn neighborhood. There’s an artisanal pizza shop, hole-in-the-wall cafe, and kid-friendly beer garden right around the block. I’m a 15-minute walk from a major metropolitan museum, botanical gardens, and the best park in all of New York. When it’s warm I bike, toss the frisbee, and drink whisky on rooftops. The beach is only 30 minutes away.
Unfortunately, warmth doesn’t last forever, and when it gets cold outside—say, from Thanksgiving to Easter—I spend more time indoors. Which means I’m trapped with a 21-pound baby monster who smashes, grabs, and pounds anything he can get his hands on, from cellphones to lamps. As a result, I’m slowly devolving into madness. Spending hours upon hours inside with two other people, only one of whom yields to reason, punctuated by intermittent excursions into tundra-like conditions, makes it seem as if the walls are slowly inching in on themselves.
Don’t get me wrong—I love the city, I went to school in New York, I’ve lived here for almost the entirety of my adult life. But after 13 months as a father and 19 months as a husband, I’m ready to escape to the land of malls and carpool lanes, single-unit houses and trees, the land of my birth: suburbia.
That said, it’s one thing to want move, it’s another to actually do it. Here’s a window into my thought process—and that of other millennials facing the same decision.
We’d Still Be Renters
Years of high rent and monthly student loan bills, combined with the cost of childcare, made it next to impossible for us to save up for a down payment. So we’re looking to rent wherever we go, which should mean more money left over for us. According to NerdWallet.com’s cost of living calculator, we could reduce our housing costs by about 25% if we moved to northern New Jersey or Long Island.
Even if we had enough funds stashed in our joint bank account, there are a couple of reasons why a home purchase would be a poor move. For one, conventional wisdom states that your target property should be no more than two and a half times your gross income. The odds that we’d find a New York-area home in the $300,000 range that’d we’d actually want to live in are low.
OK, let’s say that we had the savings and lived in a less expensive city. Should we jump into the market then? Not necessarily, says Pensacola, Fla.-based financial planner Matt Becker.
“Don’t rush to buy a house just because you want to go the suburbs,” Becker says. “That can lead to a quick financial decision as opposed to a good one.” Since transaction costs are so high, we’d need to stay in the home for a number of years to for buying to make financial sense. And who knows if we’ll want to live in a particular town for that long? My wife and I are still early on in our careers, we could end up lots of places.
Even Though Now Is a Good Time to Buy
If your bank account is fatter than ours and you’re ready plant some roots, buying might make sense. In fact, if you can get a mortgage, now is a great time to buy, since 30-year mortgage rates are absurdly low. Mortgage behemoths Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced late last year that they would allow down payments of as low as 3% on some mortgages. (These moves were directed at people who haven’t owned a home for three years, or are in the market for their first house.)
Once you’ve made the decision to move, you need to think about where you’d like to spend the next seven to 10 years. While we need more space, I don’t want to give up some of the best aspects of the city—good restaurants, a sense of community, hipster/independent movie theaters—in the trade. In that regard I’m like a lot of young buyers, says Greensboro, N.C.-based Realtor Sandra O’Connor. “There’s real movement among millennials who are looking for places to live with walkable areas,” she says. “They don’t want to always be in their car.”
If you’re still undecided about whether renting or buying is the better choice for you, check out Trulia’s rent or buy tool. Those who fall in the rent camp should understand that finding rental units outside of cities can be a lengthy process, per O’Connor and Becker.
All Suburbs Are Not Created Equal
So I want to move, but where should I go? I put the question to Alison Bernstein, president of the Suburban Jungle Realty Group, a firm that specializes in helping its clients find the best New York City suburb for them. Bernstein says that city dwellers eager to jump need to “understand that a house is a house, but the dynamic of a town is very difficult to grasp.”
To that end, Bernstein laid out a number of questions that anyone thinking about relocating needs to consider:
How many working moms are in town? What type of industries are there? What’s the breakdown of private versus public school? Even if the schools are highly ranked, there are towns where there is a lot of momentum to send kids to private schools and this does change the personality of the town quite a bit. What do you do over the summer? Does the entire town empty out? Does everyone hang out at the pool? Who is moving to the town? How will that change the school system and the vibe over the next 10 years?
Bernstein has also noticed a few trends with today’s younger buyers. “They are happiest with a smaller piece of property, a more modest home, and being in a more cosmopolitan suburb. Also they are not plowing every last penny into their house. They are still budgeting for travel.”
The Costs of Commuting
Right now I pay $112 a month (soon to be $116) for a 30-day subway pass to get to the office. We are only a 20-minute drive from my wife’s work, which means we shell out a very reasonable $50 a month on gas. When we move to the suburbs we will pay more. For the sake of argument, let’s say that we end up relocating to Pelham, New York, just north of the city. My monthly bill rises to $222, while my wife’s morning drive will consume almost twice as much gasoline, meaning our monthly outlay will jump by about $160.
But that’s just the money. The time we spend going from home to work and back will grow as well. Doing some back of the envelope calculations, my in-transit time will increase by 10 minutes each way, while Mrs. Tepper will spend an additional 20 minutes or so in traffic. Combined we’ll endure about an hour more per day on our commute, which sends shivers down my spine.
There are a few positives about the longer commute, though. For one, car insurance is generally cheaper outside of the city. According to CarInsurance.com, the average rate in my neighborhood is a little less than two times that of Pelham’s. While I wouldn’t necessarily expect to cut our car insurance costs in half, this savings would take a bit of the sting out of much higher commuting costs.
Aside from lower insurance rates, we could also dedicate a portion of our new abode as a work space. As Mrs. Tepper and I advance in our careers, we hope to have more leeway in terms of a flexible work arrangement. While our commute might be longer, we’ll most likely have to do it less often. And each saved car ride is more money in our pockets.
Getting older involves a series of decisions that have the net effect of limiting one’s personal freedom. I became a journalist, which means I couldn’t be a doctor (leaving aside the question of whether or not I had skill to do it in the first place). Marrying one woman, and being keen on staying married, means I can’t marry a different one. A life in one town is a life not lived in another.
Which is all to say that I’ll miss living in Brooklyn. Despite the hipster clichés, I really do enjoy artisanal, delicious, overpriced hamburgers and 17 different IPA varieties at my bars. I like walking everywhere, even if we have a car, and a touch of self-righteousness about your home is good for the soul.
But I think of my sojourn in New York’s best borough as I think of college: I wish I could stay forever, but it’s time to move on.
Financial planner Matt Becker understands my dilemma. He recently moved from Boston to suburb-rich Pensacola and is still adjusting to his new life. He walks less and drives more. While his young family has more space to play and grow, that also means he has more house to furnish and air condition, which means more costs. I imagine we’ll encounter something similar.
The combination, though, of high rent and minimal space has lost its luster. Even if we end up breaking even in our move, or only saving a little bit, our dollars will go further. We can have a backyard for our son and our dog and us. We’ll have a laundry machine on the premises, so we don’t have to lug 20 pounds of clothes a couple of blocks through the snow. We’ll have a full-size dishwasher.
I proudly proclaim without regret what might have depressed my younger self: these amenities are more appealing than staying in Brooklyn.
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That's the kind of revolutionary idea McDonald's wants to hear about at SXSW, the hipster festival where the fast food chain will be a big presence in the hopes of winning over millennials.
How’s this for an odd, arguably desperate pairing? McDonald’s, which just celebrated its 60th anniversary, and which has struggled mightily to gain favor with trendy millennial consumers, is serving as a “Super Sponsor” at this year’s South by Southwest (SXSW), the annual music, movies, and ideas festival in Austin that’s a magnet for everything young, hip, and forward-thinking.
Not only will the McDonald’s logo be splashed throughout Austin during the mid-March festival, the fast food giant will be handing out food free of charge to attendees and will welcome startups to pitch ideas that could change how the company does business. “We want to be in the flow of ideas, offering our scale to interesting partners, with the intent to make the lives of millions of people who use McDonald’s a bit simpler and even more enjoyable,” McDonald’s explains of its decision to be a part of SXSW.
There will be three separate days for pitch sessions, each focused on a different topic, such as “Reinventing the Restaurant Experience” and “Mobilizing the Transportation and Delivery Revolution.” For the latter, startups are supposed to take the fact that “our existing idea of door-to-door delivery and drive-thru will soon be obsolete” into consideration when pitching innovations. Those with the best pitches could get a chance to win a trip to McDonald’s Illinois headquarters to explain their concepts to company leaders, and potentially become partners.
Apparently, McDonald’s really wants to hear about so-called “moon shots,” i.e. big ideas that stretch the imagination and may at first seem impossible, but which could prove ground-breaking and transformative if they ultimately come to fruition. Like so:
Imagine a world where drones could deliver you food while you’re driving down the highway. Seems crazy now, but technology is increasingly revolutionizing our everyday lives.
This kind of thinking is quite a step up for a company whose most recent “Big Idea” was bringing back Chicken Selects to the menu.
Gathering solid business ideas is probably not the primary reason McDonald’s is invading SXSW, however. More likely, the company is hoping to make inroads with influential hipsters and millennials, the generation that shows far greater preference for Starbucks and fast casual restaurants like Panera and Chipotle than it does for McDonald’s and other fast food players.
Yet millennials are famously difficult to win over with advertising, and the McDonald’s brand is often polarizing, attracting haters and critics no matter what move it makes. So the company’s supersized presence at the youth-dominated festival seems puzzling to some.
“The usual SXSW crowd is not the [McDonald’s] crowd. [Attendees are] usually edgier, healthier, more techy, definitely more millennial,” Wendy Liebmann, CEO of the WSL Strategic Retail consultant firm, told MarketWatch. “McDonald’s may see this as an opportunity to show it’s become hipper, trendier and [be] using SXSW as a platform to be seen differently.”
In which case, look out Burning Man festival goers. McDonald’s may be coming after you next.
Getting older is hard enough by itself, but leaving your 20s can also mean a slew of price increases and new expenses.
It can be tough out there for the over-30 crowd. Not that I would know— I plan to be in my mid-20s forever. But judging by my older friends, the influx of “just turned 30 (frowny face)” Facebook statuses, and the popular media, the big three-oh is a sobering moment when one comes to terms with the end of youth, the inevitability of death, and the realization that one should maybe stop going out on Mondays.
And that’s not all. Crossing 30 also makes life more expensive. Here are five things that get pricier as millennials enter—or simply get closer to—their next decade:
Yes, even hooking up gets more expensive after your 30th birthday. The popular dating app Tinder recently announced that older users will have to pay more for its premium service, Tinder Plus. The service, which removes ads and includes a variety of extra features, will cost Americans $9.99 a month—unless they’re over 29, in which case the price doubles, to $19.99.
Tinder says it isn’t gouging older users, it’s simply offering younger users a discount because they’re “more budget constrained,” but that’s a distinction without difference for everyone stuck paying higher fees.
Thanks to Obamacare, anyone under 26 can comfortably freeload remain on their parents’ insurance. But turn 27 and your health care situation could deteriorate before your eyes. No more mooching off Mom and Dad means you’ll be left with whatever health insurance your work offers, which can be more expensive per person than a family plan, especially if your parents work in an industry with generous benefits. (And that’s assuming you’re currently reimbursing your parents for insurance. Those who don’t will be in for an even harsher wakeup call.) Plus, if you’re unemployed, be prepared to buy individual insurance through health care exchanges, which can be more expensive still.
Having to work out is bad enough, but gym rats over 30 may also end up paying more for the privilege. Local YMCA branches typically offer “young adult” discounts. The age cap on this deal can be as low as 22 or as high as 29, but we’ve yet to see one that extends to people older than their 20s. An adult membership will generally run you about $100 more per year, and that’s not including the emotional cost of being called a no-longer-young “adult.”
Traveling in Europe
Going backpacking through Europe is one of the most stereotypical young-person things out there, so it sort of makes sense it would get more expensive as you get older. Accordingly, Eurail, one of the most popular and cost-effective ways to explore the European continent, is 35% cheaper for travelers under 26. Air travel also gets more expensive for grownup vacationers. STA Travel, which bills itself as a full-service travel retailer, offers special discounts on flights to customers under 26.
Young fans of the stage are in luck: a huge number of theaters offer special 30-and-under discounts to this coveted demographic. This is especially true in New York City, but since theaters everywhere are struggling to attract a younger crowd, it’s likely you’ll see similar deals across the country. Some locations extend special offers to patrons as “old” as 35, but the farther you get into your 30s, the more you should expect to pay for your arts fix.
Older and younger generations alike face financial challenges, but they share different concerns.
A new report confirms what we all fear to be true: Americans, no matter their age, are generally terrible at managing their money. In short, we all need to save more. A lot more.
This insight comes from Financial Finesse, a think tank geared toward helping people reach financial independence and security, in its 2015 generational research study released today. Financial Finesse’s assessment of each generation’s financial health is based on employee responses to its financial wellness questionnaires, which is used at more than 600 companies in the country.
In this study, generations are broken into millennials (employees younger than 30), Generation X (30 to 54) and baby boomers (55 and older). Based on what people reported about their financial situations, no group gets bragging rights or much room to criticize their older or younger counterparts. As for how they scored, it’s pretty even: On a scale of 0-10 millennials got a 4.6 for financial wellness, Gen X a 4.7 and boomers a 5.7.
The youngest segment of the workforce seems to do pretty well with the in-the-moment financial decisions. Essentially, these consumers were scarred by the debt problems they saw in the recession, and they’re more likely to spend within their means, have plans to pay off debt, pay their credit card balances in full and avoid bank fees than Gen Xers.
Despite being in the best position to prepare for retirement (the earlier you save, the easier it is to reach your goals), millennials listed it as their third most important priority, after paying off debt and managing cash flow. The other generations had retirement planning at the top.
The debt issue is really what sets millennials apart. More of their income goes toward student loan payments than it did for other generations when they were younger, and those payments may be cutting into savings potential. The lifetime cost of debt calculator shows how even low-interest debt can impact your savings.
Gen Xers have a higher median income than millennials, but they have a harder time managing the bills. This report attributes that to having so much going on, with managing their own finances, supporting children and caring for aging parents taking up a lot of time and resources. At the same time, the report identifies this generation as focused on improving their credit, despite the trouble they have paying bills on time and spending within their limits. (You can see your credit scores for free every month on Credit.com.)
With so many demands on their finances, Gen Xers generally don’t have enough savings to fall back on, sometimes leading them to take money from retirement funds in a pinch. With each passing year, it gets harder to catch up on retirement savings, which could really hurt Gen Xers as they near the end of their careers.
With insufficient retirement savings threatening the financial stability of many older Americans, boomers need to focus on analyzing their investments and adjusting their living standards to meet their resources. There’s not much time to make up for poor retirement saving earlier in life, so boomers may have to re-evaluate one of the few things they can really control: Their expectations.
We’re not all doomed for financial ruin, but this report highlights something that cannot be emphasized enough: Setting long-term goals and sticking to plans for meeting them should dominate your financial planning. Do it your own way — there are many effective approaches to balanced money management — but don’t dismiss the importance of planning ahead.
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- The Easiest Ways to Improve Your Credit
- How to Get Your Free Annual Credit Reports
- The Truth About Credit Repair
This article originally appeared on Credit.com.