9/9/2020 | By Terri L. Jones

There’s always been a huge disconnect between baby boomers and millennials. Baby boomers have typically viewed millennials as entitled, addicted to their devices, and even lazy. On the other hand, millennials have felt boomers are too concerned with accumulating wealth and are responsible for many problems that their own generation will have to deal with long after boomers are gone. (Pssst, but it is okay to be an “OK Boomer”!)

While boomers have been the largest living generation in the U.S. for decades, millennials have recently edged boomers out of this position. With millennials’ new clout, it’s high time we pushed past the stereotypes and discovered exactly what makes this generation tick.


One of the greatest divides between boomers and millennials is how they work. Boomers are known for their loyalty to companies, sticking with jobs for many years, even decades. However, millennials, who often value contribution to a company over tenure, more easily bounce from job to job. They tend to search for that position where they can have the greatest impact and that can make them happy now, not the one that will bankroll a fat retirement later.

Another key difference that’s boding well for millennial workers right now? This younger generation works well independently and remotely; their boomer counterparts, comparatively, are often more effective working in teams.


In a 2013 Aetna poll, boomers defined “healthy” as not getting sick and maintaining a healthy weight. However, being healthy has a much broader connotation to most in the millennial generation. As important (or even more so) as that number on the scales, exercise and eating well are key elements of millennials’ picture of good health. This is the generation, after all, who is responsible for the explosion of health foods in grocery stores and restaurants, sustainable food practices, and the availability of locally sourced options.


Millennials tend to be more educated than boomers; almost 40 percent hold a bachelor’s degree or higher. (15 percent fewer boomers achieved the same level of education, more often only graduating from high school.) However, these lauded degrees haven’t helped them get ahead in their careers and have even landed them in overwhelming debt. Those circumstances have led millennials to place greater value on present-day fulfillment than future security.


Less than 50 percent of millennials are choosing to get hitched in the age range boomers married: 25 to 37. With the oldest millennials turning 40 this year or next (depending on whose definition you’re using), many are waiting later to tie the knot or deciding to forgo the institution altogether.


Millennials prefer to consume content from their digital devices; they represent half of the households in the U.S. who don’t have TVs. When this generation does watch TV, they may prefer participation shows like “American Idol” or “Master Chef.” Unlike boomers who flocked to the suburbs to live, millennials tend to gravitate toward more urban settings; these offer diversity, economic opportunities, entertainment, and a feeling of status for them.

While boomers and millennials may never agree on everything (or much of anything), knowing and moving toward a place of understanding can lead to greater harmony between the generations and synergistic relationships that benefit each other and the world as a whole.

Terri L. Jones

Terri L. Jones has been writing educational and informative topics for the senior industry for over ten years, and is a frequent and longtime contributor to Seniors Guide.

Terri Jones