'Generation Z' is Coming—and They'll Outnumber the World's Millennials Within a Year

iStock
iStock

Millennials tend to steal the spotlight—whether it be for blowing their savings on avocado toast or killing mayonnaise—but it won’t be a Millennial’s world much longer. As Bloomberg reports, the younger Generation Z is quietly on track to outnumber Millennials in 2019.

Using data from the United Nations, Bloomberg predicted that Gen Z will make up 32 percent of the global population in 2019, compared to an estimated 31.5 percent of Millennials. However, Millennials will still remain the largest group in the world's top four economies: the U.S., China, Japan, and Germany.

"Millennial" has incorrectly become a catch-all term for all young people, but the Pew Research Center defines the group as those born between 1981 and 1996 (22-37 years old). It also defined a "Post-Millennial" group as those who were born in 1997 or later, but not everyone agrees on that criteria.

For its analysis, Bloomberg defined members of Gen Z as those who were born in 2001 or later. This is a population that has never known a world that isn't digitally connected, and many Americans in this age group probably don't remember a time when the country wasn't at war.

For some perspective: 2001 was the year that Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake wore their iconic (and matching) all-denim outfits, camera phones had just been made commercially available, and the first Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings movies had just been released. Most importantly, the oldest members of Gen Z will be turning 18 next year, making them eligible to vote.

This means they will also soon dominate the workforce, but there's some good news in it for employers. Gen Z is widely reported to be less self-centered than their Millennial counterparts; they're characterized by often trying to create their own solutions rather than looking to others for help, according to a report entitled "Rise of Gen Z: New Challenge for Retailers." They also tend to be more optimistic about the economy and social progress, and "anticipate being slightly happier than" Millennials, according to a survey by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd.

[h/t Bloomberg]

What's the Difference Between a Real Estate Agent and a Realtor?

Rawpixel/iStock via Getty Images
Rawpixel/iStock via Getty Images

It’s time to buy or sell a house. You jump online to find a representative who can help you navigate the world of real estate. Some identify as a real estate agent, others are Realtors. (And yes, that’s capitalized. More on that in a moment.) Both list houses for sale and guide buyers through the acquisition process.

Unfortunately, those home-buying catalogs and online listings don’t explain the difference between the two job titles, or the reasons you might want to opt for one over the other. If you’re in the market for a new home, here’s an easy way to understand these two major categories of real estate experts.

A real estate agent is an individual who has been granted a state license to conduct business relating to the purchase, sale, or rental of property. That license is given after the person completes a training course, but the content and duration of that education can vary widely by state. California, for example, requires 135 hours of training, over double that of Virginia (which mandates 60 hours). After passing a written test on both federal and state real estate laws and principles, applicants become licensed to practice as an agent. As of 2018, there were roughly 2 million agents in the United States helping to close deals on 5.34 million existing homes being sold.

A Realtor is a real estate agent of a different stripe. The trademarked term belongs to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), a trade organization founded in 1908. It indicates an agent who has become a member of that organization, has received ethics training, and has agreed to be bound by the group’s code of ethics. Put simply, the code mandates that Realtors perform their duties while putting their client’s interest above their own and avoid exaggeration when describing property characteristics, among other pledges.

“Every Realtor adheres to a strict code of ethics based on professionalism, consumer protection, and the golden rule,” Mantill Williams, vice president of public relations and communication strategy for NAR, tells Mental Floss. “NAR’s Code of Ethics, adopted in 1913, was one of the first codifications of ethical duties adopted by any business group. By becoming a member, you agree to uphold and are held accountable to this code of ethics, which includes obligations to clients, the public, and fellow Realtors.

“For example: When representing a buyer, seller, landlord, tenant, or other client as an agent, Realtors pledge themselves to protect and promote the interests of their client. This obligation to the client is primary, but it does not relieve Realtors of their obligation to treat all parties honestly.”

As of July 2019, there were approximately 1.4 million Realtors practicing in the United States and paying the $150 in dues to NAR annually. While nearly two-thirds are also real estate agents, some are brokers, who took a broker’s license exam after completing training on topics relating to legal issues, taxes, and insurance. Brokers typically need to have been working as a real estate agent for three years before obtaining a broker’s license. One can, of course, be a broker without being a Realtor.

So what does all this mean for you, the consumer? Real estate agents who become Realtors might swear by a Code of Ethics, but is it enforceable? If NAR receives complaints that a member is misrepresenting listings, the violation could lead to their dismissal from the group. An agent, meanwhile, might lose their license only if a crime has been committed. Naturally, any sales agent can perform their duties ethically, but a Realtor is likely to face more accountability—and the consumer more avenues for complaint—if a sale is handled improperly.

Does that mean all Realtors are automatically superior to agents? Not necessarily. Some agents may have more experience than a Realtor or might specialize in one area that fits your needs, like commercial real estate. When choosing a real estate professional, it's a good idea to get recommendations from friends and associates. You can also search for Realtors who have a focus on special consumer groups like military personnel.

While Realtors have a high rate of customer satisfaction—90 percent of homebuyers would recommend their Realtor, according to NAR—it’s best to take time and make a careful choice. Buying a home, after all, is the most expensive thing any of us are ever likely to do.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

The Reason Your Local ALDI Grocery Store Doesn’t Have a Phone Number

Matthew Horwood/Getty Images
Matthew Horwood/Getty Images

ALDI’s streamlined layout, reliably low prices, and lack of name-brand products all make grocery shopping feel much less overwhelming and more personal than it often does at other stores. Having said that, you can’t exactly ring up your friendly neighborhood ALDI the way you would with many local grocery stores.

Search online for a nearby ALDI and you’ll notice that the same phone number is listed next to every location: (855) 955-2534. If you call that number, an automated voice says this:

“Thank you for contacting ALDI U.S. Due to our limited store staffing, the phone numbers for our stores are unlisted. This is part of our savings model that allows us to pass on significant savings to our customers.”

As Reader’s Digest explains, there are only three to five employees working in any given store at a time, and they’re focused on serving customers in person. With fewer workers on the payroll, ALDI can keep its prices as low as possible, directly benefiting customers.

In other words, the company doesn’t want to pay people to answer questions that customers could often answer themselves, since so much information is available on the internet these days. To make sure the answers really are easy to find, ALDI’s website boasts a robust FAQ section, featuring questions like “Why do I need a quarter to use a shopping cart at ALDI?” and “If you don’t have the brands I know, how can I be sure of the quality?” Other tabs include a list of product recalls, a section on Instacart delivery, and a store locator with each location's hours.

If you can’t find the information you’re looking for on the website, there is an option to contact ALDI via email, or call their corporate customer service line during regular business hours at (800) 325-7894.

[h/t Reader’s Digest]

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