Commitment can be intimidating for everyone but it appears to be a greater challenge for Millennials than other generations. Whether it’s committing to plans a week in advance or something more serious like marriage, for some reason it’s unnerving. As researchers we need to better understand this aspect of Millennials to ensure engaged focus groups and make sure we have participants who are committed in providing meaningful responses.


CNBC said that Millennials are less likely to own a home, have a full-time job, own a car, or even use a credit card than older American generations when they were that age. In fact 63 percent of individuals aged 18-29 don’t own a credit card. A credit card seems like a short-term commitment over something large like purchasing a house, but there’s still something holding Millennials back. CNBC interviewed a Millennial who commented that there are “increasingly insecure security measures from the credit card companies themselves…It becomes a trust issue.” Millennials value meaningful relationships; we need to build trusted connections to help them feel more committed.


When considering Millennials’ desire to be connected in meaningful relationships, in comparison to other generations they are behind in marriage relationships. Pew says that just “26% of Millennials are married… At the same age 36% of Generation X, 48% of Baby Boomers and 65% of the members of the Silent Generation were married.” Despite their love of sharing experiences with those they care about 69% of unmarried Millennials say they would like to marry, but many, especially those with lower levels of income and education, lack what they deem to be a necessary prerequisite—a solid economic foundation. There’s definite conflict between the desire to have meaningful relationships and the need to feel financially secure.


Financial constraints affect Millennials’ ability to feel independent and have the freedom to choose. Pew says that Millennials are the first in the modern era to have higher levels of student loan debt, poverty and unemployment, and lower levels of wealth and personal income than Gen Xers and Boomers at the same stage of their life. It makes sense that if Millennials have lower levels of income, making commitments like buying a house, a car, or risking debt with credit cards are risky, unattractive options. Providing useful financial incentives is a valuable way to compensate Millennials for their time in focus groups. Millennials schedules are often so tightly knit that it’s hard for them to fit everything in, so providing even a small financial incentive can make a difference in rearranging their priorities. Helping them feel appreciated in any way will motivate them to contribute more to your discussions.

On the flip side, it’s valuable to recognize that Millennials take great pleasure in contributing and making a difference to the world around them as an incentive aside from financial incentives. Inviting them into focus groups where they can feel connected will be mutually beneficial. One life-long commitment that Millennials don’t seem to struggle with is getting tattoos. They are more likely to have one or more tattoos than any other generation. Getting a tattoo is a stimulating experience and an artistic way for Millennials to express themselves. Tattoos can be expensive but are often a one off payment. They make a bold statement about who they are. Show Millennials that you value and appreciate their participation by creating stimulating conversations within focus groups. They love to share their experiences and opinions so encourage Millennials to speak openly and your Millennial participants should be more committed to giving you quality insights.


Post by Camilla

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Fear of Commitment

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