Millennials are giving up on this time-honored set of ideals

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Millennials’ financial struggles mean that they’ve given up the idea of living the life their parents did, and are instead envisioning a future on their own terms, mobile banking company Varo Money in a survey of 1,100 millennials conducted in June 2019 by Qualtrics.

While most millennials believe their parents achieved the traditional American Dream (54%), far fewer believe that they can have it for themselves. In the survey, 37% said it would be impossible for them to achieve the traditional American Dream although they seek it. They define the American Dream as owning your own home (46%), financial security (36%), having a steady job and money for retirement (34%).

What do Millennials feel has made the American Dream out-of-reach? Millennials said changing social norms (47%), mountainous student debt (43%),  and a difficult job market (43%).

Also, they’re not completely financially free yet. Nearly half of millennials receive regular financial handouts from their parents (49%), but they also say their parents don’t understand their financial struggles. A full 46% of millennials think their parents’ generation doesn’t understand the financial difficulties of their generation, and one in three (37%) resents their parents for it.

Anxiety and sleepless nights

The majority of millennials report financial challenges–and anxiety over those challenges. Only 5% say they don’t have any money problems, while 54% experience stress and anxiety due to financial pressure and worry nearly every day. One in four millennials worry “constantly” about finances.

Most depressingly, 47% said the stress of it all makes them wants to give up on their dreams.

And it’s affecting their health: a third (35%) of Millennials who experience regular financial stress are losing an hour or more of sleep a night.

The New American Dream

With their parents’ traditional lifestyle perhaps out of reach, Millennials seem to be focusing on a New American Dream. Here, the top priorities don’t include buying a home. They do include financial security (42%), feeling happy and content (36%), and that most American ideal of all, freedom – being able to focus on wants, needs, and passions (33%).

Now they just have to make it all happen.

“While dreams may differ between generations, there’s a common theme—Americans seek financial security to make their dreams come true,” said Colin Walsh, CEO and co-founder of Varo Money.