Millennials: Rent Your Home, Buy Your Future

A house in the suburbs, career tenure and pension with the same employer, and a portfolio of stocks and bonds for retirement. Every baby boomer’s vision of the American dream.

Until it wasn’t.

The nest eggs of today’s retirees have been rocked by a seemingly endless onslaught of financial calamities, leaving little left to fund those visions of easy-street. First, the tech bubble in 2000, then 9/11, then the housing and financial market meltdown of 2008.

Despite the baby boomers losing trillions of wealth, in many instances, folks in their 20’s and 30’s were greater victims. They saw their childhood homes lost to foreclosure, and their futures mortgaged with student loans and credit card debt as their parents’ savings ran dry. It’s no surprise millennials are taking a contrarian approach to home ownership and stock investing – preparing for the doomsday stock market crash to come again.

How Millennials are Living in Fear of the Next Stock Market Crash

But by trying to avoid the pitfalls that befell their boomer parents, are millennials too skittish to efficiently plan for their own futures? After seeing the data points below, the answer may very well be yes.

  • Millennials are saving more – millennials, and particularly millennial parents, are saving around 10% of their income, doubling the 5% savings rate of their baby boomer parents1
  • Millennials are avoiding stocks – only 13% of millennials are investing in the stock market2
  • Millennials are less focused on homeownership – 62% of millennials believe it’s less likely to build equity through homeownership than it was 20 or 30 years ago, and 67% think renters can be as successful as homeowners.3

You can certainly point to changing preferences and demographics pushing millennials away from homeownership, Regardless they aren’t buying homes at the rates of prior generations. And millennials could benefit from their apathy towards buying homes – with one big caveat – millennials need to put their savings parked in their bank accounts or under their mattresses to work! But if buying stocks or houses is low on their pecking order, where are they looking?

Commercial real estate.

According to a recent Harris Interactive survey, 55% of millennials are interested in real estate investing, the highest percentage of all demographics questioned. Similarly, research from Fannie Mae indicates 85% of millennials think real estate is a good investment.4

But where does one go without a seven-figure bankroll get exposure to commercial real estate? The simple truth is one often can’t go the traditional crowdfunded route without being an accredited investor which is limited to those making over a $250,000 a year.

Online real estate investment platforms, particularly those offering low investment minimums can be the perfect fit for the discerning millennial investor. And since real estate is generally not correlated with stock performance, millennials fearing the next stock market crash can hopefully rest a little easier.

After all, millennials buy everything online – why not their financial future as well?


Eliot Bencuya is CEO and co-founder of stREITwise, an online real estate investment platform for both accredited and non accredited investors. His primary responsibilities include sourcing and executing new investments, procuring asset financing and directing the firm’s investment strategy.Mr. Bencuya has extensive experience identifying, underwriting, and executing value-add real estate investments. Prior to forming stREITwise, he was a Vice President of Acquisitions for Canyon Capital Realty Advisors and the Canyon-Johnson Urban Funds, where he was responsible for originating, underwriting, structuring and executing transactions in the Pacific Northwest, Northern California and Midwest regions. Mr. Bencuya also held positions at Sovereign Investment Company (a subsidiary of the Marcus and Millichap Company) and the investment banking division of Merrill Lynch & Co. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and International Studies from Yale University, and a Masters of Business Administration degree from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. Mr. Bencuya is a member of ULI.

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