The ‘Ostrich Generation’, or Gen O for short (16-34 year olds), have got their heads in the sand when it comes to how they choose to spend and especially save their money. A recent survey1 revealed that over half of Gen O regularly treat themselves whenever they want.
Choosing to spend more money in the present is having a huge impact on their ability to save for the future. When questioned about what would motivate them to save money, just one third said that saving for their pension or retirement would motivate them. The majority would be more driven to spend their savings on items or experiences to live for the moment. When questioned about how their finances make them feel, the survey reveals that Gen O experience a range of negative emotions when considering their financial affairs.
Of those who do save, a massive 41% of Gen O spend it on buying things they want but don’t need, like the latest technological devices. This spending on items which provide short term gratification again highlights a disregard for longer term financial security.
KEEPING UP APPEARANCES
Embedded into daily life, social media has bred a culture where millennials have a fear of missing out (FOMO for short), choosing to prioritise this over long term thinking. This fear is amplified by people continuously advertising their lives online, providing a constant reminder about experiences and events, triggering other people to spend money just to ensure they are involved too. A generation focused on their appearance and likely to take 25,000 selfies during their lifetime, over a third of Gen O (35%) want more control over their appearance, many choosing to live beyond their means to strive for physical perfection – a far cry from older generations.
Not only are social and cultural pressures resulting in higher spending but short-term thinking practised by many Gen Os, combined with an overriding avoidance of investing or saving, will undoubtedly affect their future savings. An increase in spending facilitated by the rise in contactless payments and online money transfers also impacts people’s ability to save.
1 Aviva, Meet Gen O: ‘The Ostrich Generation’, 2016