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Pattie Lovett-Reid

Chief Financial Commentator, CTV


We've heard this so often -- the millennials have it tough. Housing costs are high, student loans are high, unemployment is high, so not surprising a new report out by Angus Reid Institute supports the notion millennials think they have it tougher than past generations. And there's an interesting twist: half of boomers would agree with them.

The question then becomes, is this a good thing for society? According to the survey, 36 per cent thought millennials living at home was a bad thing and only 21 per cent thought it was good, while 43 per cent were neutral on the topic. Having said that, roughly half (53 per cent) of respondents in their late 50s thought that young people have it harder than previous generations, and 52 per cent over the age 65 would also agree. But here’s where it gets a little dicey – Canadians between the ages of 35-54 say today’s young people are “soft” (58 per cent). Maybe a little financial tough love is in order? Fifty-three per cent believe financial independence is a prerequisite for adulthood.

The younger your children are when you introduce financial skills, the more financially independent they will likely become. Here are just a few out of the ordinary strategies that are tried and true:

1. Help your children understand how you became financially savvy/successful. Share your accomplishments and your mistakes.

2. Allow your children to make financial mistakes. And, more importantly, guide not bail them out of the mistakes they make.

3. Lead by example and live within your means.Teach them to live within their means – not yours. 

4. Implement the 24-hour rule. You may really really really want it but do you really really really need it? Sleep on a purchase decision, especially a big one. You would be surprised what a difference 24 hours makes in the decision process. 

5. Help your children understand that rarely do we retire from our first job in the workplace. All kinds of work can be rewarding if you find a way to make it so. Go out and be the best you can be and increase the odds of standing out in the crowded employment market.

6. Millennials sure don’t want  to be thought of as “soft”. Heck no one wants to be thought of as “soft” -- so maybe a little financial tough love could be one strategy leading to financial independence that prerequisite to adulthood.