When Millennials turned 40 in 2021, CNBC Make It was launched Medieval millennialsA series that examines how the oldest members of this generation grew up against the backdrop of the Great Recession and the Covid-19 pandemic, student loans, stagnating wages and the rising cost of living.
About five years ago, unsatisfied with the life they had spent “chasing the dollar”, Kelli and Charlie Compton quit their jobs as salon owners and managers at an equipment rental in North Carolina, sold most of their belongings, and set off the open road in an Airstream trailer.
Kelli, 35) and Charlie, 36, who work as seasonal camping hosts in locations in California, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, and other states, have come to understand how climate change is disrupting various types of ecosystems and habitats in California The past few years and the Rocky Mountain National Park area in 2020 have been particularly devastating to them, according to Kelli, and have “brought climate change to the fore”.
As a result, they are doing as much as possible to minimize their carbon footprint, Kelli told CNBC Make It. This includes cooking most meals, wearing clothes, and using a composting toilet that doesn’t require water to flush in her 30 foot trailer. The couple decided not to have children due to climatic reasons. “The earth groans,” she says.
They’re making significantly less money now – they raised around $ 40,000 last year compared to $ 150,000 in their previous life, Kelli says – but they’re happier, healthier, and comfortable on their new income because of you current lifestyle requires less of everything. The couple originally intended to be out for a year. Now they have no intention of going back.
“We didn’t necessarily get into this lifestyle because we wanted to be responsible citizens of the world,” she says. “But now, when we look at our carbon footprint, we can really be proud of it.”
Kelli Compton, 35, stands in her Airstream RV in Wyoming.
Courtesy of Kelli Compton
The Comptons are an extreme example – few people are willing to reshape their entire lives to reduce their carbon footprint – but experts say that climate change increasingly affects millennials’ financial decisions as they move into middle age approach.
Around 76% of older millennials between the ages of 33 and 40 believe that climate change is a serious threat to society. This is based on a survey The Harris Poll conducted in March on behalf of CNBC Make It, in which 1,000 US adults were asked about various topics.
Many members of the generation grew up watching Climate change as an existential threatto worry about something global sea level riseand give testimony an ecological disaster Successively. Now that they are settling into careers and family life, climate concerns are affecting how they spend their money, from investing to buying homes to the products they use and the companies that support them.
Carrying a “transitional burden”
Climate change is a hot topic Millennials are considering when to choose investments or buy real estate, says Dann Ryan, a certified financial planner at Real advice in New York City advising millennial clients. It can affect small habits, such as consume less or Prefer sustainable brandsand big life choices like whether to have children or not, he says.
At 35, Ryan is an older millennial himself and says he and other members of his generation are doubling sustainability “because we have to”.
Ryan describes millennials as a “transitional burden” between the unsustainable habits of baby boomers and Gen X, such as increased consumption, and the more socially and environmentally conscious Gen Z. Older millennials believe they have to atone for the mistakes of previous generations while saying the Pointing the way for the next generation and creating a sustainable future for you and your children.
My customers come from humble backgrounds and feel this burden from their newly gained wealth. You feel obliged to do something with it for society.
certified financial planner
“My clients come from humble backgrounds and feel the strain from their newfound wealth,” says Ryan. “They feel obliged to do something with it for society,” for example investing in companies that take measures to reduce their environmental impact.
Jovan Johnson, Certified Financial Planner at Piece of wealth planning in Atlanta, agrees. His millennial customers are particularly interested in sustainable investments, solar power for their homes, and even tax credits for electric cars, he says. These issues are less of a concern with older customers approaching retirement.
“Younger customers want to make a difference,” says Johnson. They seem to feel more acutely than older generations that what they do affects their children and grandchildren, he adds.
And now that more millennials are parents, Johnson says they’re thinking more about the future. That makes all of their financial decisions more weighty: it seems like the way they spend their money is an indication of what the future of the planet should look like. “People realize that their dollars make a difference,” says Johnson.
The concern for these issues is “more of.” [millennials’] Legacy than other generations, “added Harlin Singh, director of sustainable investments at Citi Private Bank, on both a moral and practical level Insurance costs to Food and energy pricesClimate change is already affecting certain aspects of millennial lives, says Singh.
“The reality is that millennials are 40 years old and will be here for 40 to 60 years. They are always concerned about what is going on in your life,” says Singh. Millennials expect this to happen financial impact of climate change events like rising sea levels in their lifetimes.
Kelli Compton doesn’t indulge anyone who makes more traditional career and housing choices. The Airstream lifestyle is not for everyone. At the same time, there are simple things that everyone can do to reduce their carbon footprint, such as buying fewer new things overall. And in her experience, at least, these changes made her and her husband happier overall.
“Does my only composting toilet change the world? No, it doesn’t. Do I feel like I need to make changes where I can? I do,” she says. “Making less money and living on a smaller carbon footprint is a solution for our family.”
CNBC Make It will publish more stories about student loan, employment, wealth, diversity and health in the Millennials of the Middle Ages series. If you are an older millennial (ages 33 to 40), sHare your story with us for a chance to be featured in a future episode.
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Check out: Meet the Middle Aged Millennial: Homeowners, In Debt, and 40 Years Old