Millennials: the generation that has been royally screwed over at every turn.

When it comes to conversations about Millennials, often they're met with a condescending shrug and a call to play the world's smallest violin.

But in reality, Millennials deserve a giant violinist rendition. Why? Because right now, their lives are collectively a little bloody hectic. Let me explain.

Millennials have been through a decent amount in their relatively short lives — a recession just as they reached adulthood, the proliferation of ridiculously high tertiary education fees, stagnate wage growth, delayed milestones like homeownership, and a rental and cost-of-living crisis — for which this age group have become the most predominantly impacted.

Need I go on?

Watch: How long will the rental crisis last and what will fix it. Post continues below.

Video via ABC News.

According to Amazon Australia's The Young Aussie Home of 2023 Report (which dives into how Gen Z and Millennials are living, and the different ways they’re making their spaces feel like a home), 68 per cent of young Aussies surveyed have had to make changes to their living situations in the past 12 months. This mostly involves them having to downsize, move in search of cheaper rent or pivot in their property ambitions. 


Simply put — the rental crisis is a nightmare, particularly for young Aussies. 

Next, we have the pain of paying off university HECS debt. This is something that a portion of Gen Z'ers are gearing up to do, but for the majority, their savings aren't yet established enough to tackle this economic beast.

But for Millennials, they're realising that paying off HECS/HELP debts is a must-do soon. For those still paying off our tertiary education (and there are around three million of us), we're going to see a 7.1 per cent increase to our debts. And lo and behold, the age group most impacted by this decision, falls smack bang into the Millennial category.

It's been predicted that in June we're going to see the highest increase in student debt since 1990. 

Recent research shows that Millennials (yes and their Gen Z counterparts too) are struggling the most amid this cost-of-living crunch. Three quarters of Aussies aged 18 to 35 say they've had to cut their spending. Along with this finding, the research showed that 60 per cent of Millennials are experiencing financial stress.

So with all of this in mind, what is the federal government doing to help with this age group?

In the recent federal budget, a $14.6 billion package for cost-of-living relief was announced. It was said rent assistance will also go up by 15 per cent, amounting to an extra $31 a fortnight. Yet the budget delivered little relief to ease the hefty student loan debts of those three million Australians. 


Speaking to Mamamia, Minister for Youth Dr Anne Aly noted that the federal government is boosting income support payments for young people — while also "delivering costs-of-living relief through the biggest increase to rent assistance in 30 years and energy bill relief".


She also said the government has halved the times young Australians need to visit a GP and pharmacist for a repeat script for over 300 medicines, halving the cost of essential medicines and "freeing up more time for work or study". 

Minister Aly finished by saying the government is "continuing to invest in and listen to young Australians, because we know that when young people thrive, so does Australia."

Mark Carter is a keynote speaker, author and specialist in human behaviour, who has seen firsthand the steps young Aussies are having to take to streamline their finances in this economy.

And there's one characteristic in particular that has us thinking.

"Millennials generally speaking don't sacrifice all their comforts during these cost of living times," Mark says to Mamamia.

We're talking about a desire from them to sustain their hobbies and anything that brings a small amount of joy, even if there's a cost involved. It's never something astronomical in terms of cost, but rather seen as a little 'pick-me-up' that makes the day-to-day grind feel worthwhile.

"They come from a different era — the idea of getting the bricks and mortar home, settling down and getting married is a long gone reality. Now it's about making a strong financial commitment to life experiences and budgeting for that specifically. They look for value beyond price in every facet of their life," tells Mark.

In both our media and culture, Millennials as a generation tend to have a lot of s**t thrown at them — they're labelled as entitled, lazy, and then in the next breath labelled cringe for trying and working extremely hard. It's a lot. 

It is a tale as old as time when it comes to this sort of 'generational bullying', Mark noting that "every generation gets canned by the one before them".


The difference with this generation is they're the first to be exposed to technology from a young age. And unlike years ago, now these conversations and generational gripes are visible online for the world to comment on.

But as Mark explains, "this generation copes best by being creative and resourceful," as per the Young Aussie Home of 2023 report.

"They have had the odds stacked against them. This generation hasn't had the time it takes to build up the resources that the generations before have had. Throw in a mix of three financial crises, a pandemic and more," he says.

"I think it's important to add though that Millennials are tenacious. They get creative with side hustles and the spaces they live in, they've made new opportunities for themselves and they value the importance of prioritising joy."

So next time you hear someone having a go at Millennials over their supposed frivolous love for avocado toast — remind them that this generation has been shortchanged economically their whole lives.

Now that's an unlucky break. 

Feature Image: Getty/Mamamia.

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