Are Millennials Redefining Success?

Lately, there seems to be much debate about the key characteristics that define millennials.

Despite the fact that we are the fastest growing generation in the business, we have been branded as self-centred know-it-alls with poor work ethic, who are the first to shy away from anything requiring long term effort.

We have been described as spoiled, entitled and prone to question authority and there seems to be a decent amount of literature written about the downside to hiring our generation and what employers can do to manage us better. Ouch!

So is there any merit to these claims? Or are we just misunderstood?

If we have a closer look at how we differ from previous generations, I believe it’s the latter. If we dig deeper it becomes evident we have taken the classic formula of what our parents and grandparents have used to define success and restructured it to fit not only our individual’s needs but the needs of our changing society as well as our depleting planet.

Rather than compartmentalising lifestyle elements such as work, money, family and health, we are applying a more holistic approach and throwing out old strategies that aren’t serving us or our environment anymore. And yeah sure, like any generation, there are some bad apples, but that shouldn’t take away from what we’ve managed to achieve and what we continue to strive towards.

Take a look at these areas of millennials redefining success:

Family Values

Some would say Gen Ys no longer respect the traditional family structure or have determined marriage an outdated concept.

While that may be the case for some, more importantly we have brought understanding, compassion and acceptance to the fact that there has and will continue to be different types of families. Ones that may or may not have children, same-sex partnerships or cohabitations that define their own rules.

We have started the conversation by asking: “Who’s to say one is better than the other?”

We have challenged the old school way of thinking by refocusing the value on happiness rather than the composition of the family unit. Is this really a lost respect for family or just the opposite?


We are not settling for uninspiring positions in the workplace.

The days of holding onto one job for a lifetime is over, and for good reason. People grow, circumstances change and there’s plenty of evidence to back up the fact that sticking with a role that no longer brings joy or sparks creativity is of no benefit to anyone, individually and for the organisation.

As Lisa Curtis writes in her article Happiness Is the New Success; Why Millennials Are Reprioritizing, success for millennials has shifted from business as usual to bitterness. “A transition from climbing the ladder of unfulfilling societal expectation and consumerism to blazing a trail with a life guided by a holistic focus on well-being, community and sustainability.”

Nicely put.

But how about this? According to a study called Life Done Better – Why Generation Y are the ones to watch we are said to be taking a unique approach to our careers to creating a better standard of living for ourselves and society in general. See the pattern emerging?

The report highlights our innovative and effective approach to work has given us the ability to adapt to high-speed change. Millennials embrace the technological revolution we are in. We see a future that is built on having multiple income streams through blending work, passion and life interests.

We are the entrepreneurs that are creating and reinventing our modern world and making it better and easier. And we are willing to back ourselves with 1 in 3 working on an idea that we are happy to take out a personal loan for to get it off the ground.

Poor work ethic? Lacking commitment? I think not.

Work-Life Balance

According to Cali Williams, when we say we want balance we don’t mean working less.

We mean working differently and more flexibly. His article, 3 Reasons “Balance” has become a Dirty Word at Work explains how the structure of the average workplace has dramatically changed in the last 20 years and we now have much fewer boundaries physically and time wise between our job and our personal lives.

In his words, Gen Y’s are “simply acknowledging this new reality”. As a result we are looking at different ways to improve our overall efficiency.

Sitting at a desk from 9-5 like our predecessors did and pretending the digital revolution hasn’t changed anything won’t make it less true. We are embracing the more flexible working environments and all the benefits and opportunities that come with this change. And the organisations that are jumping on board are proving to be the ones who are thriving.

Personal Finance

A comfortable retirement is no longer the goal.

We have long realised that the education system has failed us on the financial management side of things. We have gone into the world unprepared. But we know relying on our super to fund our future is not enough either and we’re pursuing other means of wealth creation and educating ourselves accordingly, cue WE.

And the results speak for themselves. Compared to previous generations where building wealth was reserved for the already affluent and middle-aged, we are acting early.

According to an in-house survey, 42% of millennials have already invested in property, 36% have invested in shares and 42% are persistently paying off a mortgage. Not bad. In addition, 70% of us agree that we are completely responsible for our financial futures and acknowledge that our financial positions directly link to our daily actions and decisions.

We are also more willing to take risks than our parents and learn from our mistakes. We’re placing more value on the acquisition of experiences that enhance our wellbeing than on material possessions that put limitations on lifestyle.

Want more proof? Check out our member Case Studies and read about their inspirational goals and achievements.

Spoiled and entitled? Try diligent and accountable!


We’ve replaced milkshakes for green smoothies, fast food for real food and made active living our permanent mantra.

We’re all about prevention when it comes to our health. We no longer rely on fabricated food charts or mainstream practices as the be all and end all of health.

Research shows that we’re not only willing to pay more for premium health foods but we also prioritise sustainably sourced. According to Jodie Stewart, co-founder of About Life, millennials makeup 30% of the whole food consumer market, have a high involvement and education around food quality and are much more concerned with preserving health.

We also engage in more gym-based activities than any other generation and make up the largest buying group of activewear in Australia and overseas.

If bettering ourselves in all areas means being the best version of who we can be, then isn’t that a damn good measure of success?

As WE CEO Sarah Riegelhuth brilliantly points out in her article, Live with Intention this Year, with every decision we have two clear choices or mindsets: either adopting a positive attitude, practicing gratitude and intentionally creating the life we want or allowing things to happen around us, reacting negatively and focusing on the difficulties of life.

Millennials have simply committed to taking the first approach and that is how we are redefining success!


If being the best version of yourself, building wealth and redefining what success means to you is on your goal list for 2018, take the first step and book your Free Strategy Session.


Article by Evie Tramer
Disclaimer: all information contained within this article is of a general nature. It should not be relied upon when making financial decisions. Please consult a professional financial advisor or planner (like us!) before acting.