Why '80s and '90s babies see money a lot differently than their parents do.

OK, here's the thing: Millennials get a lot of flack. A lot of it.

As a millennial myself, I see where the stereotypes start and where they end, but I know one thing for certain: We're shaking things up. And in a world where the status quo isn't always right, that's not a bad thing.


A re-imagination of a Time magazine cover. Image by Max Gaines/Flickr.

Millennials have changed how some workplaces operate — shoutout to flexible work options and companies committed to social change. Millennials are the generation that helped elect the first black U.S. president and helped make social sharing an integral part of daily life, creating entire new industries to support it. The status quo is shifting.

But as much as the millennial generation is defined by advancement and a desire for change, it's also been shaped by hard economic times.

With fluctuating economies, a lack of financial literacy, mounting student debt, and the growing assumption that retirement is a luxury many just won't be able to afford, money is definitely on our minds.

Image via Damian Gadal/Flickr.

Is it in our conversations, though? There are so many benefits to talking about money. One of the biggest benefits is simply realizing that you're not the only one facing certain challenges. But even for millennials who seem pretty comfortable talking about everything else, not talking about money — aka the money taboo — is still somewhat the norm.

Why is that?

Talking about money makes people feel vulnerable — and that can be pretty uncomfortable.

When someone understands your finances, they understand so much of your life because money is, in many ways, the foundation on which we build our lives. And society itself has a complicated relationship with money. In an essay on the money taboo, Richard Trachtman cites psychologist Carol Lloyd:

"In a society that claims to be a classless meritocracy on the one hand and a capitalist paradise on the other, there is no acceptable level of wealth. We have to pretend to be equal even as we know ourselves to have vastly different opportunities depending on our income."

Money talk invites judgment. It also used to be seen (and often still is) as kinda rude.

Emily Post, the queen of manners, made it very clear in her 1922 book of etiquette that money shouldn't be a topic of social conversation:

"Only a vulgarian talks ceaselessly about how much this or that cost him... A very well-bred man intensely dislikes the mention of money and never speaks of it (out of business hours) if he can avoid it."

Change may be in the air, though. Millennials are speaking up and talking about money in ways no other generation has.

According to Facebook IQ, 40% of the financial conversations taking place there are driven by millennials, on everything from credit cards to investments.

Image via Elizabeth Hahn/Flickr.

So while in-person conversations about money may still be a little tricky to navigate, social media has done millennials a solid, offering a way to discuss money and poke fun at both the successes and struggles of financial management without feeling like a social leper.

Elite Daily — which calls itself "The Voice of Generation Y" on Instagram and has 1.4 million followers backing that claim — regularly pokes fun at the financial struggles millennials are facing.

Image via Elite Daily Instagram.

Needless to say, they're not shy about discussing the struggle, and they do it in a away that's so quintessentially millennial: memes. With thousands of likes and thousands of people tagging their friends on each post, it's an avenue for discussion and a good reminder that we're all in this struggle together.

Image via Elite Daily Instagram.

But, memes aside, millennials are actually pretty financially conservative.

And it's confusing the heck out of major industries, which are struggling to connect with the millennial audience to no avail. According to a Consumer Expenditure Survey, millennials aren't buying cars like previous generations did. And when they buy cars, they aren't driving as much. And houses? Well, millennials are passing on that too, for now.

Here's the thing: Millennials have seen how fragile wealth is.

With the stock market collapse, wealthy families lost the luxury of not discussing money. Middle-class and working-class families had to work even harder and stress the importance of money even further. Some never recovered after jobs were lost, parents aged, and income dwindled.

Image via Michael Coghlan/Flickr.

Millennials saw their parents struggling with the economy and arguing and talking about money.

Can you really blame millennials for being wary? We're more than aware of how big of a role money plays in our lives, and saddled with debt — student debt and national debt — there's a large hill to climb to feel some sense of financial stability.

So, are millennials really talking more about money? If not more, then definitely differently.

It's pretty clear that millennials are thinking about and engaging with money differently — our grandparents weren't commiserating on social media about living from paycheck to paycheck.

But are millennials talking about money more? The answer appears to be a cautious yes. The taboo still exists, but things are changing.

Image via Matus Laslofi/Flickr.

Reinventing the wheel is part of the millennial identity, and as people are trying to figure out how to manage their money on their terms and protect their children's futures, conversations are taking place.

One thing is certain: Times are changing and our relationship with money is a big part of that evolution.

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I'm staring at my screen watching the President of the United States speak before a stadium full of people in North Carolina. He launches into a lie-laced attack on Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, and the crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Send her back! Send her back! Send her back!"

The President does nothing. Says nothing. He just stands there and waits for the crowd to finish their outburst.

WATCH: Trump rally crowd chants 'send her back' after he criticizes Rep. Ilhan Omar www.youtube.com

My mind flashes to another President of the United States speaking to a stadium full of people in North Carolina in 2016. A heckler in the crowd—an old man in uniform holding up a TRUMP sign—starts shouting, disrupting the speech. The crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!"

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

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Policing women's bodies — and by consequence their clothes — is nothing new to women across the globe. But this mother's "legging problem" is particularly ridiculous.

What someone wears, regardless of gender, is a personal choice. Sadly, many folks like Maryann White, mother of four sons, think women's attire — particularly women's leggings are a threat to men.

While sitting in mass at the University of Notre Dame, White was aghast by the spandex attire the young women in front of her were sporting.

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Men are sharing examples of how they step up and step in when they see problematic behaviors in their peers, and people are here for it.

Twitter user "feminist next door" posed an inquiry to her followers, asking "good guys" to share times they saw misogyny or predatory behavior and did something about it. "What did you say," she asked. "What are your suggestions for the other other men in this situation?" She added a perfectly fitting hashtag: #NotCoolMan.

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