Why Aren’t Young People Buying Cars and Property Anymore?

It used to be that the traditional markers of success were a large, comfortable family home, and a nice car – perhaps a 4×4, or even a sports car.

But new research has discovered that the current generation – often referred to as millennials – are increasingly shunning these material things. According to statistics, home ownership in the younger generation is at the lowest it’s been for decades, and the automotive industry is feeling the effects, too. Fewer young adults are buying cars – and when they do buy a vehicle, it’s often used, rather than brand new.

So what’s caused this sudden sea change in attitudes towards these traditional markers of career success and wealth? We’ve pinpointed just a few of them…


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“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

We’ve entered a generation where the experiences which we have, the people we spend time with and the memories we create are more important than the material possessions we have in our homes.

A psychology professor from Cornell University, Dr Thomas Gilovich, summed it up perfectly when he told Fast Company: “You can really like your material stuff. You can even think that part of your identity is connected to those things. But nonetheless they remain separate from you. In contrast, your experiences really are part of you. We are the sum total of our experiences.”

For the younger generation, spending money on exciting new experiences which enrich their lives and create everlasting memories is more important than investing in bricks and mortar, designer goods or flashy cars.

Why buy when you can rent?

Investing in something as important as property means you’re tied to one location for the foreseeable future. It’s like putting a pair of handcuffs on your life and career prospects! You’ll be forced to stay in one spot for a very long period of time, possibly up to 25 years, until you’ve paid off your mortgage.

Renting, on the other hand, allows you to move anywhere at any time. You can take short-term contracts in desirable locations, before moving onto somewhere else you’ve always wanted to see and experience. The younger people of today realise that you are not rich through your possessions, but through your experiences and your values.

Shorter career spans mean flexibility is key

For members of older generations, it was normal to spend decades with the same company in the same job. But the millennial generation change jobs on average every three years – and they need the flexibility to cope with that. Being tied to a mortgage or a car lease means they don’t have the freedom to go where the most innovative, exciting jobs are.

Experiences are inherently social

Being able to interact socially with peers is a vital part of who we all are as humans. But when it comes to keeping up conversation, you’ll certainly find that the most interesting and engaging people are the ones who’ve had the most exciting experiences – not the ones who have already bought their first home and upgraded their car.

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste it, to experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”

Eleonor Roosevelt

For a more enriched social life, the answer for millennials is simple: shun those material possessions for exciting experiences that make even better stories.

Stay Hungry,


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