06/22/2012

Edwin StephensLong-Term Investing & Financial Planning for LEOs
with Edwin Stephens

The Facebook Generation: Millennials are reshaping the American economy

In the United States, are the 78 Million ‘Baby Boomers’ (born between 1946-1964) are preparing to take a back seat to the 98 million young people — generally known as Generation Y or Millennials (born between 1981-2000).  As this “Facebook Generation” begins rounding the corner from their late 20s to their early 30s, they’re reshaping the American economy.

In late May, Facebook sold 82 million shares in the first 30 seconds of trading on Nasdaq. A $38.00 price tag valued the world’s most popular social network at $104 billion dollars. The Initial Public Offering (IPO), with 421 million shares on sale, was expected to rise up to $18 billion (yes, with a ‘B’). Analysts say it is a big windfall for a company that began just eight years ago with no obvious way of making money.

Facebook’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg (age 28) has a 25 percent ownership stake in the company but he has a 56 percent say in the daily operations of Facebook. Mr. Zuckerberg whose ownership interest is currently valued at $19.1 billion, is expected to gain the most from the IPO, with co-founders Dustin Moskovitz $5.1 billion and Eduardo Saverin also gaining billions within hours of the stocks offering. Napster founder and former Facebook employee Sean Parker is also said to be in line to earn billions from his stock in the company.

What Impact Does the Facebook Generation Have?
According to online publication AllGov, the California taxpayers will be a big winner with Facebook going public. The California Legislative Analyst’s office recently said the trading of Facebook shares, which is based in Menlo Park (Calif.), may generate as much as $2.1 billion dollars in tax revenue through the end of the next fiscal year. It is estimated that California could receive about $500 million dollars by June 30 and another $1.6 billion dollars by the end of June 2013.

Tax revenues in the Silicon Valley, where Facebook is headquartered, may also get a boost from the IPO. Realtors expect plenty of new home buys in Menlo Park and other nearby communities as shareholders of the social media giant use some of their new found wealth to buy property.

In February 2010, the Pew Research Center conducted an exhaustive study on the behaviors, values and opinions of the teens and twenty-somethings that make up the Millennial Generation.

The Pew Research report is entitled, “Millennials A Portrait of Generation Next: Confident, Connected, and Open to Change.”

Why be Concerned with the Facebook Generation?
Even without further research, we already know a few big things about Millennials.

• They are the most ethnically-and racially-diverse cohort of youth in the nation’s history — among those ages 13 to 29,18.5 percent are Hispanic; 14.2 percent are black,4.3 percent are Asian,3.2 percent are mixed race or other, and 59.8 percent (a record low) are white
• They are starting out as the most politically progressive age group in modern history — in the 2008 election, Millennials voted for Barack Obama over John McCain by a margin of 66 to 32 percent, while adults age 30 and over split their votes 50 -49 percent (in the four decades since the development of Election Day exit polling, this is the largest gap ever seen in a presidential election between the votes of those under and over age 30)
• They are the first generation in human history who regard tweeting and texting, along with Facebook, YouTube, Google and Wikipedia, not as astonishing innovations of the digital era, but as everyday parts of their social lives and their search for understanding
• They are the least religiously observant youths since survey research began charting religious behavior.
• They are more inclined toward trust in institutions than were either of their two predecessor generations — Gen Xers (who are now ages 30 to 45) and Baby Boomers (now ages 46 to 64) when they were coming of age.

According to the online publication Wikipedia.org, the Millennials are sometimes called the “Trophy Generation” or “Trophy Kids” — a term that reflects the trend in competitive sports, as well as many other aspects of life, where mere participation is frequently enough for a reward.

It has been reported that this is an issue in corporate environments. Some employers are concerned that Millennials have too great expectations from the workplace. Studies predict that Generation Y will switch jobs frequently, holding far more than Generation X due to their lofty expectations. To address these new challenges, many organizations are studying the social behavioral patterns of Millennials and are trying to devise programs that decrease intergenerational estrangement.  They are also trying to increase relationships of reciprocal understanding between older employees and Millennials, while at the same time making Millennials more comfortable.

The Facebook Generation is Reshaping the American Economy
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook and his Millennial peers at companies such as Twitter, Zappos.com, Zynga, Yelp.com, YouTube and Foursquare for food lovers demonstrate that the American economy is being reshaped and transformed by the social media revolution.

If the American worker is to compete and survive in the new economy, then he must learn new skills, adjust and adapt to the reality that his labor to earn a living in the 21st Century will be a direct result of the Millennial social entrepreneurs.

About the author

Edwin K. Stephens is the Managing General Partner of The Stephens Group, an investment and asset management firm he founded in January 1993. The Stephens Group helps individuals, pension funds, public agencies, and private corporations with their financial planning needs. The firm’s objective is to provide good sound advice that is in keeping with its philosophy of maximizing profits through conservative fiscal management. Stephens is a licensed Series 6 Registered Representative. He is an Insurance Agent who is licensed in both California and Arizona. Stephens, who has previously authored articles on financial management and investment strategies for the San Francisco Police Officers Association Journal, counts among his clients many law enforcers and other public safety professionals in the San Francisco Bay. Stephens conducts financial planning seminars throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and Arizona. Stephens received a degree in English Literature from San Francisco State University in 1983. Securities transactions though McClurg Capital. Please go to www.CommodoreEds.com.

Contact Edwin Stephens.

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