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Are generational labels holding us back financially? From savings-shy Millenials to wealthy Boomers

3 ways to ditch the stereotypes and take control of your own financial future

Ellie Austin-Williams
Freelance Writer
Updated: June 7, 2024
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Whether you grew up singing The Bee Gees or you're a nineties child raised on the Spice Girls' hits, chances are that you're familiar with the generation you fit into. From popular cultural references to political analysis, we often find ourselves labelled alongside millions of others simply based on the decade we were born into.

Whilst undoubtedly we all have collective experiences with those born in the same generation - for example, Baby Boomers lived through the rapid evolution of TV and most Millennials entered adulthood during a period of economic recession - putting too much emphasis on popular generational stereotypes around money may well be causing more harm than good. 

A young woman is working at a laptop on sofa at home.© Getty
It's time to ditch the stereotypes and take control of your own financial future, says Ellie Austin-Williams

A recent study by Unbiased has found that when it comes to personal finance, generational stereotypes may be causing an increase in disengagement and disillusionment with our own finances. 

So, if you're bored of being labelled as a wealthy Boomer or you've had enough of reading about the financial doom and gloom faced by your Millennial peers, keep reading. There's no better time to shut down the generational stereotypes and take control of your own financial future, so here are three steps to help you along the way.

Set aside judgements

It's safe to say that there’s tension between generations on the topic of money, and it's not entirely surprising. With house price inflation over recent decades, tension between so-called Baby Boomers and younger Millennials has risen. But it's important to remember that stereotypes are generalisations and not factual. 

Avocado toast topped with poached egg and red pepper flakes with a cup of coffee© Getty
With house price inflation over recent decades, tension between so-called Baby Boomers and younger Millennials has risen. And no, Millenials haven't spent all their money on avocado toast and takeaway coffees...

"The first thing to remember is that generational labels do not account for the individual," suggests Dr Linda Popodopolous, clinical psychologist. "Instead of assuming that someone fits a certain label because they look a certain age or wear ankle socks, it's important to get to know a person on an individual level. Stop yourself before making snap judgments about others and consider what you have in common."

Stay in your own lane

With news stories often quick to make sweeping statements about the financial woes of generations, it's easy to become distracted by the narrative you hear and resign yourself to the fate assigned to you by a journalist. 

Instead, remember that you are unique and your circumstances are individual to you. If you want to see positive changes in your financial situation, forget the noise surrounding stereotypes or generations and zoom in on your own situation first and foremost. 

hot of a mature couple using a laptop while calculating their finances together at home© Getty
Bored of being labelled as a wealthy Boomer? Sweeping statements about the finances of different generations aren't helpful

Get clear on your goals for your life and rather than spending time focused on the things you can’t control - such as the economic environment you were born into - zone in on the aspects of your financial situation that you can change and put a plan in place to move one step closer. 

Open up about money

It's a well-known saying that the older you get, the wiser you become and although it's by no means always accurate, there is value in speaking to older - and younger - people within your network about money. Whatever your age, opening up about money and sharing your own thoughts and experiences can dismantle unhelpful assumptions that come with generational labels. 

DISCOVER: How to master a pay rise negotiation like a man

The more we start to talk openly about money, the better an understanding we can have about the different financial challenges faced by others. Plus, speaking about your own financial situation and experiences gives you the opportunity to share knowledge. You never know, you may be surprised by how many things you discover you have in common.

Ellie Austin-Williams is the author of Money Talks, a Lifestyle Guide for financial wellbeing. Find her on Instagram at @thisgirltalksmoney.

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