Millennials are leading a new money-trend

‘Hire power’ could help to put you in control

Millennials – anyone currently aged between 23 and 38 years old – often get a bad rap when it comes to their money habits. At Virgin Money, we think millennials have been criticised for too long for the way they live their lives and spend their money. We think it’s time to reframe the conversation around this topic.

We’ve researched how millennials truly manage their cash. A lot of us now live a very ‘on-demand’ lifestyle – we can have what we want, when we want it – and this flexibility to choose and adapt a lifestyle is especially important to millennials. Our research suggests that this generation is in fact leading a new social trend, one that we’re calling ‘Hire Power’, and we think we could all learn a thing or two from this!

What’s ‘Hire Power’ all about?

Many are choosing to loan, rather than own outright, with three in 10 doing this because it allows so much more freedom over their finances. It’s no huge surprise, given the range of things available for hire or with monthly payment options out there: outfits and accessories for events, music streaming services (for example, Spotify, iTunes), recipe box subscriptions (think HelloFresh, Mindful Chef), even pet borrowing websites (such as Borrow My Doggy)!

This ‘try before you buy’ attitude is empowering and enables younger generations to make smart decisions by experiencing everything life has to offer before making any long-term commitments. Millennials are choosing a host of options such as where they live, career paths and cars based on experimenting with them first: rent can be cancelled, which means people can move house or go travelling, and contracts can be changed at very short notice, resulting in increased cash to use or invest elsewhere and more financial freedom. 

Contrary to popular belief, it’s possible millennials might just be the savviest generation yet when it comes to money and are establishing smart habits.


Laura Whitmore explains more

It’s more important than ever to be able to talk about money and to feel in control of your financial destiny – spending on what you want, when you want, especially with increasing pressures coming from social media, so we’re keen to make Hire Power a positive and long-lasting trend. 

We’ve teamed up with TV presenter and Hire Power ambassador, Laura Whitmore, to help spread the message: ‘As a millennial I can relate to the results of the study and the feelings of “hire power” we have. I also think it’s really important for us to all talk about money more openly, and to feel empowered by our money.

‘I’m definitely part of the hire power movement – I regularly rent clothes, which is great from both a sustainability and cost point of view and it means the items are continuously recycled. I’m a huge fan of beauty subscription services including Glossybox and Birch Box – they make it a fun and easy way to try before I buy so I can find out which products suit me before splashing out on them.

‘Before deciding to buy a home I tested London out by living in three different properties. This allowed me to experience a range of neighbourhoods before making a long-term commitment and as a result I felt more confident when buying.’


What the research shows

Our research shows that the top 10 subscription services used by millennials are:

  1. TV/Video streaming (e.g. Netflix, Amazon Prime)
  2. Music streaming (e.g. Spotify, iTunes)
  3. Smartphone app subscriptions including games
  4. Library or book swapping/e-books
  5. Magazine subscription
  6. Beauty product/make up subscription
  7. Clothing/accessory subscription/hire (e.g. Girl Meets Dress, Hurr)
  8. Cinema subscription
  9. Meal plan/recipe box
  10. Snack/sweet treat subscription

How will you use your 'hire power'? Tell us on social media by tagging us on Twitter or Instagram and use #HirePower in your comments!


Research conducted with 2,000 UK millennials in August 2019.

Before making financial decisions always do research, or talk to a financial adviser. Views are those of our mentors and customers and do not constitute financial advice.