Millennials do not have a great reputation with older generations.
They are seen as the participation-trophy generation, used to the idea that everybody wins, which makes them largely unfit for real life. At least in perception, the millennials are a soft generation, spoiled by being told they are special and great, when they may in fact be average.
Whether millennials are actually the worst is one of the topics Alison Southwick, Rick Engdahl, and Robert Brokamp address in this edition of Motley Fool Answers. They have fun with the topic, laying out some of the issues with the generation while also debunking some of the myths. Southwick and Brokamp also tackle a number of other topics including answering questions about required minimum distributions.
A transcript follows the video.
This podcast was recorded on July 27, 2016.
Alison Southwick: This is Motley Fool Answers. I'm Alison Southwick, and I am joined, as always, by Robert Brokamp, personal finance expert, here, at The Motley Fool. Hi, Bro, how are you doing?
Robert Brokamp: Just great, Alison. And how about you?
Southwick: I'm doing great. Our listeners wouldn't know this, but we took a couple of weeks off, and so it's actually been a while since I've sat across the table from you and had a nice conversation.
Brokamp: Did you miss me?
Brokamp: Oh, man. That is an overwhelmingly mediocre response. That's all I'm going to say.
Southwick: Well, you asked. I mean, this is hard work making this sausage every week. It was nice to have a couple of weeks off.
Brokamp: It was.
Southwick: But I missed our listeners. How about that?
Brokamp: There you go.
Southwick: I'll tell you that.
Brokamp: Every single one of youse.
Southwick: Every single one of youse. On today's episode, millennials. They're the worst! Am I right? Maybe not. Maybe so. There are only about 50 bajillion surveys, studies, and articles about millennials every day offering conflicting advice. So today, we're going to look at five of the most prevailing opinions on millennials, and see if they are actually true. We're also going to answer a couple of questions about required minimum distributions and then have our very own Battle of the Generations. Duh duh da! All that and more on this week's episode of Motley Fool Answers.
Southwick: Time for Answers, Answers. Required minimum distributions aren't a thrilling topic, but...
Brokamp: No, they're not...
Southwick: ...what if I sing it in an enthusiastic way?
Brokamp: Oh, that would be great. Please do.
[Sings] Required minimum dis-tri-bu-tions! Yes! Get some! Did that help?
Brokamp: That's going to be the highlight of the next five minutes of this show.
Southwick: All right. We have a couple of questions you want to tackle, yes?
Southwick: The first one comes from [Rollo]: "My question has to do with traditional IRA -- [sings] required minimum with-drawals! Do I have to convert to cash to make the withdrawal? Can I move my stocks directly to a Roth or another account?"
And then the second question comes from Linda: "When you turn 70 1/2, do you need to withdraw all of the required amount at one time, or can it be a monthly withdrawal? Does it apply to all IRAs, individually, or combined totals? Are there any clearly written instructions for this?"
Brokamp: Well, Alison, as you pointed out, this is not a thrilling topic, but it is important because not only do required minimum distributions dictate when you have to take money out of your retirement accounts, they also relate to whether you can continue to put money in. It's actually kind of complicated, and each retirement account is different, so let's go through the roll call, here. First of all, traditional IRAs. You have to start taking money out at age 70 1/2.
Southwick: Take a step back. Why do I have to?
Brokamp: I think what Uncle Sam is saying is we have deferred the taxation on this account, but we don't want to defer it forever. We'd like you to take the money out so we can get our taxes at some point. I'm guessing that's why.
Brokamp: In other words, you have to take the money out even if you don't need it, and even if you're still working. And that also means, even if you're still working, you can't contribute to a traditional IRA. A Roth IRA is different. You don't need to take the money out, and even if you're 80 to 90, as long as you're still working, you can contribute to the Roth IRA.
Retirement accounts from work, like a 401(k), are a little different. As long as you're working, you don't have to take the money out, whether it's a Roth or traditional. Once you stop, you have to start taking the money out, even if it's a Roth 401(k).
Brokamp: But you can bypass that by just transferring it over to a Roth IRA. Then you don't have to worry about the required minimum distributions.
Southwick: Ugh! It is confusing.
Brokamp: I know, it is confusing. And then there are the IRAs that you inherit. If you are the spouse of the person and you inherit it, you can basically make it your own IRA. If you are not the spouse (maybe you're a kid, grandkid), you actually have to start taking out required minimum distributions even if you're like 5 years old. You have to start taking the money out. So this doesn't just apply to people who are age 70 1/2.
There are some proposed rules of changing this, so that in inherited IRAs, you have to take the money out within five years, but so far right now the rules are, you only have to take a little bit out each year and then let the rest grow.
So those are the rules of the different accounts, but to answer some of these other questions, first of all, if you have multiple IRAs, you can take the required minimum distribution out of just one of the IRAs. If you have multiple retirement accounts -- 401(k)s -- you have to take it out from each individual account.
However, it does not have to be in cash, and this is what [Rollo] was asking about. You can only put cash in a retirement account, but you can actually take stocks out of the account. It's called an in-kind distribution. Why would you want to do that?
Well, maybe you don't need the money. It's invested in a stock that you don't want to sell. So instead of taking the cash out, you just take out your Apple stock or whatever stock you own. You could, of course, just sell it and then buy it outside of it, but you save yourself a couple of commissions by doing it that way. You still have to pay taxes on it.
Another question [Rollo] had was can you take the required minimum distribution and just put it into a Roth, and the quick answer is no. That's considered a conversion, and a conversion does not satisfy the requirement of required minimum distribution. However, if you have a big, old, fat traditional IRA, and you know you're going to be paying big required distributions, by starting to convert some of that money to Roth earlier, you will be reducing your future required minimum distributions, because that traditional account will be smaller.
Finally, you may be asking where you figure out your required minimum distribution. It's actually based on a factor based on your age. For example, if you are 70...
Alison: And a half...
Brokamp: ...and a half...
Southwick: ...such as Linda...
Brokamp: ...such as Linda, you go this exciting IRS table. You take the value of your account from December 31 of the previous year and you divide it by, if you're 70, 27.4. So you're taking out a little less than 4% of the account each year. And that number grows as you get older, so the IRS has a table all the way up until you're 115 or over. If you make it that far, your factor is 1.9, so you actually have to take out more than half of your account...
Brokamp: ...each year, if you make it that far. Once you calculate the amount you have to withdraw, you can do it all at once, or you can spread it out over the course of the year, maybe monthly, but just make sure you have it all taken out by December 31 of that year.
The good thing is, you probably don't have to look that up. If you have a good account provider, a good brokerage, or a good financial advisor, they will help you with this. They might even do it for you and then send you a letter in the mail. Just make sure that you do it, because if you don't, the penalty is 50% of the amount that you were supposed to take out. If you forget, you can file a waiver. Send a nice letter to the IRS. They might give you a break one time. But you definitely have to do it. If you really want to read the nitty-gritty, you can find it all in the exciting IRS Publication 590-B.
Southwick: Ooh, 590-B.
Brokamp: Can you sing that?
Southwick: [Sings] 590-B. I don't know.
Brokamp: That was good.
Southwick: Should I do the whole [singing] IRS Publication 590-B.
Brokamp: Oh, yeah.
Southwick: We're going to make this fun, damn it.
Brokamp: There you go.
Southwick: If I get pulled in, show over. I will do that. Thanks, Bro. That was...
Southwick: That was rough. I mean, there's just a lot there. A lot to unpack.
Brokamp: Well, it demonstrates how complicated it is, so you definitely have to learn a little bit more. But the penalty is steep. There are very few IRS penalties that are 50% of something, so definitely make sure you know what you're doing.
Ad: This podcast is sponsored by Rocket Mortgage.
[Miley Cyrus' "Party in the USA" plays] So I put my hands up, they're playing my song, the butterflies fly away. I'm noddin' my head like yeah. Movin' my hips like yeah.
Southwick: If you type "Millennials are" into Google, it auto-completes with "lazy"...
Southwick: ..."idiots," "not lazy," and "screwed." It may be different for you, but that's how Google completes it for me. So regardless of what millennials are, they are, undeniably, the largest living generation, according to the Census Bureau. Millennials are those aged 18 to 34 and there are 75.4 million of them in this country.
Brokamp: That's a lot.
Southwick: They just surpassed the boomers, who are aged 51 to 69, and there's about 75 million of them in the country.
Southwick: I could tell you about Gen Xers and how many there are, but nobody cares.
Brokamp: Speaking as three Gen Xers, by the way...
Southwick: Yeah. No one cares about us.
Brokamp: No one cares about us.
Southwick: That's fine. But today we're going to look at some of the commonly held beliefs about millennials, and see if they really are the special snowflakes of lazy entitlement everyone says they are. Let's dive into the commonly held belief that millennials are entitled narcissists.
Brokamp: Is it true?
Southwick: Well, you maybe have seen the Saturday Night Live skit where it was a millennial girl who goes into her boss's office and she's like, "Um, I need a raise. I need a promotion!" And he's like, "Oh, OK. I'm sorry. How long have you been working here?" And she's like, "I've been working here for three full days! I need a promotion." Incidentally, my millennial accent is the same as if I was doing a Valley girl accent.
Brokamp: I was just going to say. That feels an awful lot like the '80s. It's nice to think...
Southwick: It's very similar.
Southwick: There's a lot of research out there, and the prevailing idea is that millennials are entitled and narcissistic. [When] they start a job, they expect a promotion immediately. And need constant praise. And all of that.
However, let's go see what Harvard Business Review has to say about this. A group of researchers from George Washington University and the Department of Defense (ah, OK) analyzed more than 20 published and unpublished studies looking at generational differences, mostly in the workplace, and they found that they don't really exist, and that the small differences in the workplace are likely attributed to factors such as the stage of life more than their unique generation.
Brokamp: In other words, all young people are slightly self-absorbed.
Southwick: Slightly? I would maybe take out slightly. But yes, the idea, as Elspeth Reeve wrote in The Atlantic, is not that people born after 1980 are narcissists. It's that young people are narcissists and that they get over themselves as they get older.
Brokamp: When you read through all this, did you come across any theory for why millennials have this reputation, or is it just that when we were younger (when we Gen Xers were this age) that's what the baby boomers were saying about us. It's what every generation says about the next generation.
Southwick: If you think about when we were young Gen Xers (and I am actually right on the cusp of being a millennial Gen Xer), that was the idea of Gen Xers, right? Like we were all self-absorbed, and so moody. Right, Rick? Rick, I feel like you are more smack in the middle of Gen X as opposed to Bro and I.
Rick Engdahl: Maybe it's just me, but I remember being a lot less, um, sure of myself...
Engdahl: ...as a Gen Xer kid than most millennials I see today. Probably I just worked with smarter people than I was then.
Southwick: I believe that, too.
Brokamp: I listen to the Cracked podcast, and they did a series basically asking this question. Are people more narcissistic? I think they basically came to the conclusion that it's true. But one of the reasons why people think it is, is because of things like Facebook, and Instagram, and things that we didn't have when we were younger where it's basically all about "I'm just going to take a picture of me, and tell everyone what I'm doing every day." It just feels very self-absorbed.
Southwick: Or they feel more accepted. It's totally fine.
Brokamp: And I can only imagine what kind of goofy stuff I would have put on Facebook when I was a teenager.
Southwick: Oh, I'm so glad it wasn't around back then.
Brokamp: Oh, my gosh. The cheesy stuff I would have said. So embarrassing.
Southwick: Ugh! Right.
Engdahl: I don't think I was very narcissistic, but I'll have to check my diary to be sure.
Southwick: The next commonly held belief about millennials is that they are more purpose-driven and want to make a difference in the world. See, this isn't a bad one. This is a good one. They want to go change the world and make it a better place, and they want their work to matter.
Brokamp: That's very admirable.
Southwick: It is admirable. It's not a bad thing.
Brokamp: Is it true?
Southwick: Well, it's not necessarily wrong, but the fact is that everybody is purpose-driven and wants to make a difference in the world. It's not uniquely millennial. IBM's Institute for Business Value released a report. They found, after surveying a ton of employees across 12 countries and six industries, that the same percentage of millennials (25%) want to make a positive impact on their organization as Gen Xers and baby boomers.
Brokamp: My favorite millennial, by the way, is my 24-year-old daughter, and I have certainly seen her have this -- I don't know if you'd call it growth -- I'm going to go out and save the world. Then you go out and get a job, and then you just have to become more practically minded. I would think this is also an age-related thing to a certain degree. Once you get into the workforce and have a family, you just have to become more practical.
Southwick: Right. And how many of us -- be honest -- when we were in our 20s, thought for five seconds that we were going to go join the Peace Corps, and go to another country, and make a difference in the world.
Brokamp: I joined the Teachers' Service Corps.
Brokamp: Yes, absolutely. And I have plans to one day do it again. But not at this point in my life.
Southwick: And you're not a millennial.
Brokamp: And I am not a millennial that I know of.
Southwick: The next commonly held belief about millennials is that they job-hop like crazy and they don't stay at the same workplace for very long at all. Which...
Brokamp: It is?
Southwick: It's a myth. The myth of job-hopping for millennials is just a myth, and it shows that today's young people are actually less professionally itinerant than previous generations. This comes from FiveThirtyEight.com. The idea, again, is that when you're young, you're just naturally in jobs that you're not going to stick around at for very long, and you are going to be job-hopping more. Some summers you're a lifeguard, and then maybe later on you're working at school. You're doing all these different jobs because you're young and that's what you do when you're young.
Brokamp: You definitely hear more about it. Things like the gig economy where people are trying not to have full-time jobs. They're trying to piece together a sort of freelance life. I suppose it's been going on before this. We just hear about it more.
Southwick: The experts say, when they talk about this, that pursuing millennial-specific employee engagement strategies are just a waste of time, and an employer would be better served by just making their place better for everybody. So if you want to retain millennials (everyone's writing articles about how you keep your millennials), just work hard to keep everybody.
Brokamp: That's so interesting. Where do these things come from?
Southwick: Where do these myths come from?
Southwick: Well, with a lot of these, the moral of the story ends up being that everybody was like this when they were in their 20s. So, I don't know. Commonly held belief about millennials No. 4. Your typical millennial is college-educated and living in the city, but also, somehow, sleeping on their parents' couch. According, however, to BLS [Bureau of Labor Statistics] data, most millennials didn't graduate from college, and they aren't living in the city -- and generally hate being called millennial, by the way. And also, people in their 20s are far more often moving to the suburbs than to the cities. In the other direction.
Southwick: So, why is this? Why is there this perception? Someone in one of these articles I read put out the idea that -- or at least the generally held belief is that -- reporters who work for digital news media sites are predominantly millennials living in cities...
Southwick: ...so they are predominantly reporting on themselves and the millennials that they see around them.
Engdahl: So narcissistic.
Southwick: So narcissistic. Which we would expect of someone in their 20s, anyway, so fine. You get a pass. The idea is that they are only reporting on what they see, and they're completely ignoring the fact that most of America lives in places like Omaha and in the suburbs, and not in L.A., D.C., and New York City.
Our fifth and final predominantly held belief about millennials is that they are bad with money. Oh, wait. Maybe they're good with money. Because again, the surveys and studies on this are all over the place.
For example, the headline of a Goldman Sachs study was "Millennials Don't Trust the Stock Market." But when you actually look at the numbers, you see that about 20% said they do believe it's the best way to save for the future. Another 45% said only in small amounts or only in low-risk investments. That's actually a good amount of millennials who believe in the stock market. And when you look at overall surveys of people -- of everybody -- generally 52% of people said they aren't invested in the stock market.
Southwick: And this was Bankrate. The survey specifically mentioned, "What about a 401(k)?" And people were like, "Nope." So when you compare the numbers, millennials aren't necessarily that different from everybody else in the world when it comes to trusting the stock market or investing in the stock market. They are also going to be younger, so they're not necessarily going to have as much money to invest in the stock market.
Southwick: But I think the jury is still out on whether or not they are good or bad with the money. Apparently they save a lot.
Brokamp: I think it's clear that the average millennial is graduating from college with a lot more debt than the average Gen X person did, or the average baby boomer...
Brokamp: ...so to the extent that they are not good with money, or they're not investing in the stock market, I totally understand because they are starting their careers with a burden that a lot of us didn't have.
Southwick: Yes. So one study found that millennials start saving and investing, on average, at the age of 23. Compare that to Gen X, which is 26, and 32% for younger baby boomers.
Brokamp: That's great.
Southwick: That's not too bad, but everyone's like, "Oh, they're horrible with money. Oh, they're great with money." Who knows? So those are five really commonly held beliefs about millennials, but here are some others that are headlines from stories that I read today. I just Googled "millennials" and this is what came up.
Millennials are thinking too much about work and that's making them miserable. Millennials are not wearing bras...
Brokamp: I'm not, either.
Southwick: Millennials are the worst generation. Millennials love home-makeover shows. They are more racially diverse. They are not going to solve racism in the U.S. They are generation nice. They are the me generation. They make horrible money mistakes. They are better with money than you. And my favorite is from Forbes: "Millennials Are Doomed to Face an Existential Crisis That Will Define the Rest of Their Lives." Which I think is a very Gen X thing to say.
Brokamp: What's the crisis? Now I'm curious. I have to read this article.
Southwick: I didn't even go past the headline. I was like, "This is ridiculous. That's clickbaiting and I'm not going to fall for it."
Brokamp: You're not going to fall for it. You're too good for that.
Southwick: So those are millennials. What's the moral of the story? Do you want to hear my moral?
Brokamp: I would love to hear your moral.
Southwick: The moral of the story that I gained by digging through way too many studies about millennials is that they are way overanalyzed in the media, for one. But all of these different surveys and studies that contradict each other -- or support each other -- every last one of them is true, but also not true, because there are 75 million millennials in this country, and yes, they're dumb. But so were you. They do stupid things. They're narcissistic, and so were you when you were in your 20s. And for now, millennials are the future, until someday they're going to be old enough to complain about the younger generation. And the circle of life goes on. So -- millennials.
Brokamp: We love you. We love you, millennials.
Southwick: We love you. And I'm not just saying that because, again, I am on the cusp of being a millennial, but you can tell the difference between me and a true millennial. Let's finish with a quote, shall we. This is a quote from a famous person describing the younger generation: "The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants .... They contradict their parents ... and tyrannize their teachers." And this quote was said by Socrates, as attributed by Plato, so as you can see...
Southwick: ...older generations have been bitching about younger generations since long before millennials were around.
[The Who's "My Generation" plays] People try to put us d-down (talkin' 'bout my generation). Just because we get around (talkin' 'bout my generation).
Southwick: We just finished talking a lot about millennials and how they aren't so different from everybody else, but which generation is truly the best? We decided to pit a boomer, a Gen Xer, and a millennial against each other in a game we're calling Battle of the Generations. So we have today, in the studio, someone representing the baby-boomer generation, and that is Rex.
Rex Moore: Hello.
Southwick: What do you do, here, at the Fool?
Moore: I do a lot of things. Mostly video articles, written articles. Things like that.
Southwick: And you are a baby boomer.
Moore: I am.
Southwick: Very tail-end.
Moore: Yes, I hit the tail end of the boom.
Southwick: And then we also have someone representing Generation X, and that is our own Robert Brokamp.
Brokamp: Hi, I do a podcast here.
Moore: That's all.
Southwick: And then finally we have our representative of the millennial generation, and that's Alex, and she's the communication intern for the summer.
Alex Milligan: Hi!
Southwick: And, Alex, you are a graduating senior and you're heading off to wonderful things, right?
Southwick: UVA. So this is how it's going to work. Before the show, each of you brought me three [examples of] lingo, slang, or things from your generation. How this is going to work is I'm going to say a phrase from one of the generations, and the other two people who are not of that generation will have to define it and then use it in a sentence. And then whoever is right gets a point, and whoever is wrong loses a point to the person from that generation. Does that make sense?
Southwick: So the first phrase comes to us from the baby-boomer generation courtesy of Rex, so Bro and Alex, this will be for you to answer. The first one is four on the floor. Do either of you think you know the meaning of that?
Brokamp: It's something you tell your dog to do when he's on the couch. "Get off the couch! Put four on the floor!"
Southwick: I like that! No! Alex, what's your best guess?
Milligan: I'm going to guess it's a dance move, where you have your hands and your feet on the ground.
Southwick: And could you use that in a sentence, please.
Milligan: Rex looked stupid doing his new dance move, four on the floor!
Southwick: All right, Rex.
Moore: Both are wrong. I started with the easiest one, I thought.
Southwick: I didn't know it either. What does four on the floor mean?
Moore: It's a four-speed transmission with the gearshift on the floor, as opposed to the steering column or what have you. It was big in hot rods back in the day. Four on the floor.
Southwick: Back in the day!
Moore: Back in CB radio days.
Southwick: All right, the next one comes to us from the Gen X generation. Bro, this is yours. And the word is Kajagoogoo. Do either of you know what Kajagoogoo means?
Moore: I think it's a dance move where Bro puts his feet and hands on the floor.
Brokamp: But I don't look stupid, let me just say.
Moore: Yeah, you never look stupid doing that.
Southwick: Could you use that in a sentence, Rex?
Moore: Kajagoogoo, baby.
Southwick: You are wrong! You are, in fact, wrong.
Moore: Oh, I figured that.
Southwick: Alex, could you try to define Kajagoogoo for us?
Milligan: I'm going to go with a made-up term of one of Bro's kids.
Milligan: So when you're feeding them, his kid would go Kajagoogoo and that's how you would know.
Brokamp: Well, that's kind of close, but not really. It is the name of a band!
Milligan: Oh, that was not close.
Brokamp: The famous song "Too Shy," but the reason it was close was they chose the name because it's the sound that a baby makes.
Southwick: Oh, really! Oh, that's very close.
Southwick: Do you feel like giving her partial credit for that, or no?
Milligan: Half point. Half point.
Brokamp: I'll give her a half point. I think that's good.
Moore: We are on a roll.
Brokamp: "Too Shy." Everyone remember that? I'm going to teach you later, and then you're going to have to sing it with that funny voice of yours.
Engdahl: Wait, wait, wait. Do that now.
Southwick: What's he going to do?
Engdahl: Teach the song, and sing in the funny voice.
Southwick: Oh, yeah. Here we go.
Brokamp: OK, ready? [Sings] Too shy shy. Doo, di, di, di. That's all I know.
Rick and Milligan: [Sing] Hush, hush, eye to eye. Doo, di, di, di.
Brokamp: For those of you who cannot see us through the podcast, you have to understand that Alex has this way of -- how would you describe your technique there?
Milligan: That's serious intel. I can't expose my secret.
Southwick: She's making the noise with her hand. The next one is from the millennial generation.
Southwick: And the word is basic. Do either of you think you know the meaning of the term basic?
Brokamp: I don't think she's talking the program language, or the training.
Milligan: Or the pH.
Brokamp: Or the pH. Nice.
Southwick: Who would like to go first?
Moore: If it's not a dance move, I don't know.
Brokamp: It is a new band called Ace of Basic.
Southwick: Could you use that in a sentence?
Brokamp: No, I could not.
Southwick: Rex, what do you think basic means?
Moore: Other than something that's just too obvious to comment on, like, "Oh, that's too basic," I have no idea.
Southwick: OK. You're both wrong.
Southwick: But, Alex, what does it mean?
Milligan: Basic is when someone, usually a girl, sticks to their stereotype, whether it be their racial stereotype, or just what someone assumes they would do, and they're very unaware of it. So for example, if you see a girl wearing Uggs with her Starbucks coffee, she is very basic.
Moore: I like it.
Moore: I'm going to start using that, now.
Southwick: No, you're not allowed to praise her.
Moore: I like it.
Southwick: So after one round, generation millennial has two and a half points, baby boomers has two points, and Bro has one and a half points.
Moore: Oh, because they're negative points. Nobody got anything right, so...
Milligan: I got half a point.
Southwick: She got a half point.
Moore: I think she's ahead a half, zero, to zero, right?
Southwick: No, when you stump other...
Moore: See, this is this millennial math. What is it?
Milligan: You get points when you stump others.
Southwick: You get points when you stump other people. Now it's time for our next baby boomer one. The Tet Offensive.
Moore: Anybody know?
Brokamp: It was during the Vietnam War. Was that when they went into Cambodia? I don't know.
Moore: I give no clues...
Brokamp: On the History channel, I saw something about the Tet Offensive. That's my sentence.
Southwick: I think that is a perfect way to use it, yes.
Moore: I think Alex might have a clue, over here. She's gaping.
Southwick: Yeah, she's looking like she's remembering something.
Milligan: No, I just feel bad. This is one of my AP U.S. History flashcards, last year, and I don't remember.
Moore: I gave them a shot, then, huh?
Milligan: So my sentence is, "I'm sorry, Ms. Hudgins. I don't remember what the Tet Offensive is." I think you were right, Bro. It's something [about] the war.
Moore: Well, I had to get something with the Vietnam War in for the baby-boomer generation. This was the turning point in the war. The North Vietnamese launched an offensive. It's 1968, I think. And it shocked the country that they were able to be that well-coordinated. And in the end, the U.S. and their allies wound up repelling it and winning it easily, but it turned the tide of U.S. public opinion, and after that, the war was no longer tenable.
Brokamp: Got it. Very interesting.
Milligan: So close.
Moore: Don't make fun of it, Alison.
Brokamp: Do I get partial credit?
Moore: Alison was trying to talk me out of using that. It wasn't too fun, but...
Southwick: No, it's not fun.
Moore: ...but you have to get the war in.
Brokamp: I want credit.
Southwick: Do you want partial credit? I think Bro deserves maybe a half point.
Moore: He knew the Vietnam War.
Southwick: We'll give him a half point.
Southwick: This math is getting rough. The next one comes to us from the Gen X generation, courtesy of Bro, and it is voodoo economics.
Milligan: Is this the same thing as the invisible hand?
Brokamp: I don't think so.
Moore: I might get a half credit on this.
Southwick: All right, Rex. See what you can do.
Moore: I know it came about during one of the presidential campaigns, and it was probably one of the Reagan campaigns where he accused his opponent of using made-up economic theory that didn't really fit together and make sense.
Southwick: Ya. Alex, do you have a guess?
Milligan: Yes, that's what I was going to say, but if I had to take a second guess, it would be the idea that if you just leave the market by itself, somehow it will magically fix itself.
Southwick: All right.
Brokamp: Rex, you were actually very close. It was during the campaign when Reagan was running in 1980. The person who used the term was George H.W. Bush...
Moore: Oh, wow...
Brokamp: ...because he was running against Reagan before he became his vice-presidential candidate. And those of you who saw Ferris Bueller's Day Off may remember Ben Stein using that term, voodoo economics, and the irony of that is, voodoo economics is often applied to supply-side economics, and that term was coined by Herbert Stein, the economist and Ben Stein's father.
Brokamp: That was the hidden joke of him using that term.
Southwick: And we all laughed, didn't we.
Brokamp: That is a reference to Herb Stein, isn't it? Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha.
Southwick: Oh, we have fun. The next one comes courtesy of the millennial generation, and the word is extra.
Moore: Is she still using words? The. The word is the.
Southwick: They're changing the language right in front of you.
Southwick: Who wants to go first?
Brokamp: That's when you have five on the floor. I think that's what that means.
Moore: I'm not even going to pretend to know this one.
Brokamp: I don't know. I am not aware if it's new or used.
Southwick: You're not even going to try to make up...
Brokamp: I can make up a couple of things.
Moore: I would say that it's related to the drug ecstasy. Maybe it's when you take two.
Brokamp: That is good.
Southwick: Well, the correct answer is...
Milligan: It's when you go above and beyond when you don't need to, aka, doing the most. For example, if instead of going to one breakfast place, you went and got your breakfast from three different places because you couldn't decide on one thing from one place. That would be extra.
Brokamp: So it's kind of...
Moore: It's kind of what it means.
Southwick: It's kind of what it means.
Milligan: Trick question.
Southwick: The last one from the baby boomer generation. It is "Say goodnight, Dick."
Brokamp: Um, well. I want to say it has something to do with Dick Cavett. I don't know. Or when you would have slumber parties with Richard Nixon.
Southwick: As we all did.
Moore: As we all did!
Brokamp: As we all did!
Milligan: Dick and Jane, the book?
Brokamp: That was good.
Moore: I thought Bro would get this one, actually.
Milligan: Thanks for your confidence in me.
Moore: You weren't alive, then.
Brokamp: Are you sure I was?
Moore: So if we...
Brokamp: Go for a hint. Give me a hint, there.
Moore: Have you heard of Laugh-In? Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In?
Brokamp: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Moore: That was the most popular show in the late '60s, early '70s.
Brokamp: Goldie Hawn was on it.
Moore: You've got it, baby. So that was the sign-off. "Say good night, Dick." Good night, Dick.
Southwick: I thought Gracie and George Burns used to do that long before Laugh-In. He would say, "Say good night, Gracie." And she would say, "Good night, Gracie."
Moore: Maybe so.
Southwick: They stole it!
Brokamp: I was quite young when Laugh-In was on. I don't think my parents would let me watch it.
Moore: Sock it to me, baby.
Southwick: Oh, it was probably pretty racy.
Brokamp: It was pretty racy. Those skirts were very short.
Moore: It was the Saturday Night Live of its generation.
Brokamp: Yeah, when you had four channels.
Engdahl: Bro had to watch Hee Haw, instead, right?
Brokamp: That is so funny. I watched a lot of Hee Haw...
Moore: Me too.
Brokamp: ...when my relatives from Ohio, who lived on a farm, would come visit us, we watched a lot of Hee Haw.
Engdahl: [Sings] Dang a lang lang, dang a lang lang, dang a lang lang.
Brokamp: That and my grandmother. My grandmother would then turn it to Lawrence Welk.
Engdahl: [Sings] She met another and phht! She was gone.
Southwick: [Sings] She was gone. Next we have the final one from Generation X, and the phrase is veejay.
Moore: I think I know this one.
Southwick: You know this one? Please define veejay.
Moore: No, he has to go first, because I know it. Remember, that was the rule.
Southwick: No, he's the one who came up with it.
Brokamp: No, this was mine.
Southwick: Alex, how about you go first and give it a stab, and then we'll see if Rex thinks he knows it. Veejay.
Milligan: Vance Joy.
Southwick: Could you use that in a sentence?
Milligan: When I was walking in the airport, I saw veejay.
Southwick: All right, Rex. What do you think the answer is?
Moore: This is when music television came along. Music videos. So before you had deejays, and now they were video deejays and they were shortened to veejays.
Moore: I want my MTV.
Brokamp: And the term was first coined by a woman who worked in a club in New York, and then the founders of MTV went to the club, saw her, and that's where they got the term. But, yes, that's what they called the people who were playing videos on MTV back when MTV played videos.
Moore: Wow, yeah!
Brokamp: Remember those days.
Moore: Were you ever alive when MTV played music videos?
Brokamp: Or has it always been like, "They weren't even showing TV anymore."
Milligan: Teen Mom.
Brokamp: Yes, those are teejays.
Milligan: Pimp My Ride was pretty good, though. Or MTV Cribs.
Southwick: Let's check out what's in the fridge. The answer was always "Cristal." That was the answer. And the final one comes to us from the millennial generation, and the term is goat.
Moore: She keeps using these real words. You can't do that. Goat.
Southwick: Just define goat to the best of your ability.
Brokamp: I feel like it's an acronym, though I can't come up with anything right now.
Southwick: Try! Go ahead and try.
Brokamp: I don't have anything.
Moore: I'll just wild stab it. The way to get to somebody. I mean, literally to get your goat.
Brokamp: I think I'm onto something with this acronym, because I saw them brighten.
Moore: What? Her eyes?
Southwick: I want to see you come up with an acronym for goat. Go for it. Outpop your head.
Brokamp: So maybe I'm wrong.
Milligan: It's just a crazy idea.
Brokamp: We'll alternate. I'll do the G. Girls...
Brokamp: That doesn't make any sense.
Southwick: All right, Bro. You were close that it was an acronym. I'm not going to give you any points...
Brokamp: Oh, well.
Southwick: ...but it means...
Milligan: Greatest of all time.
Brokamp: I like that. I'm going to use that one. See, you called me a goat, and I didn't know it was a compliment. Listen, you old goat!
Southwick: You old goat. I, of course, had an awful time tallying up the score.
Brokamp: So I win! Yay!
Southwick: I don't know. I think I have Bro with six points, and I've got Alex with six and a half points, and then I've got Rex with seven points.
Brokamp: I think we need to call in Arthur Andersen to...
Milligan: Oh, he's been alive the longest, so...
Engdahl: Either way, the millennial gets the trophy.
Moore: What? What is that?
Brokamp: You get a trophy?
Milligan: Go me!
Southwick: Oh, it's this whole thing. The criticism of the generation and how millennials always get a trophy.
Moore: Oh, always gets trophies.
Brokamp: Well, that's true.
Milligan: We deserve them. I showed up.
Southwick: All right, everybody. Thank you so much for joining us and letting me put you through this. I had fun. I hope you guys had fun, too.
Moore: It was good.
Brokamp: It was fun.
Southwick: And you know what? You guys are all...
Milligan: It was goat.
Southwick: It was goat. All right, Alex. Do you want to play us out?
Milligan: [Whispers] What song?
Southwick: [Whispers] I don't know.
Moore: You've got to give her a song.
Brokamp: A good millennial song.
Southwick: What's a good millennial song?
Milligan: [Sings] Doy doy doy doy. Doy doy doy doy. Doy doy doy!
Southwick: [Sings] Doy doy. Oh, look at us going together! Oh!
Moore: OK, bye bye now.
Brokamp: That is high-quality programming.
[Todd Snider's "My Generation" plays] Here's to living off dad as long as you can, and blending in with the crowd, oh my generation, my generation, my generation, God I hope I die before I get old.
Southwick: Thanks to Alex Milligan, Rex Moore, and, of course Robert Brokamp who was too busy playing football in high school to remember any Gen X pop culture.
Brokamp: That's true.
["My Generation" continues playing] Strike a pose -- there's nothing to it.
Southwick: That ends the show. Our email is Answers@Fool.com. I want to thank you guys for sending in postcards. We got about a dozen, I think, so far, but keep sending them in. I love getting them. Every time I get them, the front-desk woman squeals, and then I squeal, and we get excited, and we put them on a pole in the middle of the studio.
Brokamp: That's very nice.
Southwick: It is nice. Have you taken a look at it?
Brokamp: I have, yes. It's very heartwarming.
Southwick: It is. It's awesome. So if you want to send us a postcard, I would love it. And I will squeal. Our address is...
Brokamp: Our squeal mail...
Southwick: Our address is 2000 Duke Street, 4th Floor, Alexandria, VA 22314. The show is edited moodily by Rick Engdahl. You know -- Gen Xers. Ugh! For Robert Brokamp, I'm Alison Southwick. Stay Foolish, everybody.
Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Alison Southwick has no position in any stocks mentioned. Rex Moore owns shares of Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), and Facebook. Robert Brokamp, CFP, owns shares of Facebook and Starbucks. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), Facebook, and Starbucks. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.