At the age of 30, Maria has already travelled to eight countries and knows dozens of cities throughout Brazil. Differently from her parents when they reached the third decade of their lives, the young lady doesn’t own a house or a car. Frankly, Maria doesn’t seem to care about that. Maria, a fictitious name, represents Generation Y, young adults who don’t seem to care about definitive choices, such as buying a house. On the contrary, they feel better leading a “gypsy” life, trying out new homes, neighborhoods and cities, together with partners, friends, or even pets.
The explanation is simple: this generation of 30 to 35 years of age, differently from its preceding generations, doesn’t measure success by material goods, but values moments, variety of experiences, and absorption of new cultures and lifestyles. To them, it’s more worthwhile to collect experiences, whether by living in different places, or by trips and exchanges, knowing other countries, or even other states in Brazil, instead of firstly becoming homeowners, which used to be everyone’s dream. It’s much better not to worry about parking space or the upkeep of a car if it’s possible to get a lift in a comfortable vehicle offered by numerous apps.
In liquid times, with a bow to Polish sociologist and philosopher Zygmunt Bauman, the transience of sensations reigns. The fear of “tiring” of an expensive material good, added to wanting their life choices to be different from the ones of their parents, and even the consciousness of the economic crisis that devastated the world in the past decade (and is still reverberating in this country), makes incurring debts (thinking of the future, such as buying real estate) an unattractive choice.
The generation that lived for 10, 20 or 30 years in their parents’ house, often the same house for all these years, now wants to live in a place for the length of a rental contract, until a rise in social status allows them to move to a higher class neighborhood and/or to a place closer to work. According to Forbes, the average stay in the same job for workers of this generation is of 3 years. Therefore, it doesn’t make sense to think of the future in buying a house in a place that might become far from the next job.
The same goes for “summer homes”. Instead of spending every holiday in the same place for years and years, what Generation Y really wants is to rent a room in an inn, a hotel, or an “Airbnb”.
Each generation has its own characteristics. Though it might seem strange to those who are used to measuring success and attaching a meaning of stability and financial guarantee to possession of real estate and vehicles, there is nothing wrong with the young Y adults. To them, nobody can take away what they have to tell, since learning and memories are priceless. After all, moving house is good, inside and out, from one house to another, and another, and another…