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Generation Y: What Are They Thinking? (Part 3 of 4)

This week, I’m blogging about what Generation Y is thinking. While no generation wants to be profiled or put in a box, this student generation thinks so much alike when it comes to social issues. You can tell they’re a connected generation, from California to Singapore.

Today—I want to talk about a paradoxical reality among Gen Y. While they continue to be consumers (thanks to mom and dad, the average teen has $87 a week to spend), many are also embracing the idea of being minimalists. This means, they feel they don’t need three cars, two phones, four TVs, or several pairs of sunglasses.

My son is a good example. More and more, he’s claiming to be a minimalist. He is eighteen but doesn’t have a car. He says he doesn’t need one. (Of course, he asks to drive his mom or dad’s car several times a week).  But he doesn’t crave some of the natural consumables that Xers or Boomers do. (He just returned from Haiti and his minimalist values have been solidified even more). There’s been a huge trend of late toward living more simply. Since more and more twenty-somethings live in the city, many have ditched the car and use public transportation or a bike. Loads of them have begun to grow gardens—although when they get honest, they still eat fast food. And tons of them go “thrifting.” Thrift stores have become the new rage again and are the only mall some Gen Yers need.

The paradox is, they truly are consumers. To support a cause, they may buy a T-shirt or pair of shoes, or a gadget knowing the good it accomplishes. These kids spend more time getting ready in the morning, working hard to look like they didn’t get ready. It’s this strange partnership of authenticity and consumerism. But in any case, the in-thing is to go minimal.

If you are a caring adult, it is important to let them express this value. In fact, I think we should encourage it, especially if it moves them away from materialism. When you’ve earned the right, point out the discrepancies of being a consumer and a minimalist. Help them build integrity in their lives. But—with the sagging economy, simplifying is actually good idea.  Don’t you think?

Tim

To get a copy of my latest book, Generation iY—Our Last Chance to Save Their Future, go to: www.SaveTheirFutureNow.com.

1 Comment

  1. Jamie on March 3, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    I agree… and I definitely think this is accurate for my generation. But I would also add that perhaps the living-simply-but-still-consuming trend has this going for it: We realize that we need things. Cars, shoes, whatever. But rather than have fifty pairs of cheap shoes from Payless that are all garbage, we’d rather have five really good-quality pairs… and that include brands like TOMS, that actually make a positive impact… which will last a long time and be worth the price. At least, that is the trend I see among my peers, and it’s the kind of thoughtful living that my husband and I seem to embrace more and more. Not simplifying to the point that we don’t need anything, but simplifying to the point that we buy only that which is quality and worth it, which saves us money and time in the long run. Does that kind of more-careful consuming fit with what you see happening in Gen Y?

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Generation Y: What Are They Thinking? (Part 3 of 4)