Siobhan Joffe says the Australian dream of owning a house is so far out of reach that she softens the blow by spending her money on eating out and travel.
A new survey has found Australian millennials like her are pessimistic about the future with only about 35 per cent believing they will be happier than their parents.
"Ideally, the security of owning a house would be awesome but it's becoming more and more unrealistic at this point," the 22-year-old advertising student who works as a barista said.
"A lot of young people just expect that it's not going to be on the cards for them so you use your money on things like food, going out, travel and enjoying your life instead."
Ms Joffe's views are typical of those expressed in a Deloitte survey of more than 10,000 people born between 1983 and 1994 in 36 countries including Australia, which found only about 39 per cent believed they would be better off than their parents.
Millennials are defined as anyone reaching young adulthood in the early 21st century. Typically they were born between the early 1980s and late 1990s.
The pressure of social media weighs heavily on millennials, Ms Joffe said, and can often negatively affect their self-esteem and happiness.
"People only post the best parts of their lives on social media and often it's superficial and not an indication of their own happiness, but what they want to portray to the world," she said.
"But you can't help but compare it to your own life. I think that's a pressure that our parents' generation never had to go through. It's created an individualistic 'selfie' society which has meant our generation has in way lost that sense of community and the idea of working to a united goal."
But Ms Joffe, whose parents came from South Africa as migrants, said her parents faced other obstacles moving to a new land.
"As migrants they've definitely had their own struggles and in a way it's been easier for me to migrate to Australia," she said. "But I think there is also a sense of pressure to do well and make something of yourself because my parents have worked really hard to give me the opportunities they have.”
The survey also found that the concerns of millennials have shifted.
Last year, crime, corruption, war and political tension were among the top concerns of Australian millennials.
This year, climate change, unemployment and income inequality are weighing on their minds.
Deloitte Australia’s chief operating officer David Hill says while overall levels of pessimism have improved compared to last year, Australian millennials remain gloomier about the future than their global counterparts.
Almost 40 per cent of Australian millennials surveyed believed they would be better off than their parents, compared to 51 per cent globally.
“Considering the relative strength of the Australian economy, it’s notable that our millennials are so pessimistic,” said Mr Hill.
“However, youth unemployment is at 12.5 per cent, well above the national average of 5.6 per cent, and the rise of the gig economy means work is more uncertain for many.
"There is a pressing need for us as a nation to prioritise opportunities for our young; they are our future and as digital natives, they hold the keys to our future competitiveness on the global stage.”
The proportion of the 337 Australian millennials surveyed who said business had a positive impact on society dropped from close to three quarters in 2017 to less than half in 2018.
Two-thirds (63 per cent) said they believed political leaders were having a negative impact on society, while only 23 per cent said they believe politicians are having a positive impact on society.
Anna Patty is Workplace Editor for The Sydney Morning Herald. She is a former Education Editor, State Political Reporter and Health Reporter. Her reports on inequity in schools funding led to the Gonski reforms and won her national awards. Her coverage of health exposed unnecessary patient deaths at Campbelltown Hospital and led to judicial and parliamentary inquiries. At The Times of London, she exposed flaws in international medical trials.