Four Reasons Why Millennials Don’t Have Any Money

Four Reasons Why Millennials Don’t Have Any Money

The same forces that are driving massive inequality between the top 1 percent and the rest of us are creating a vast generational wealth gap between baby boomers — my generation — and millennials.Millennials aren’t teenagers anymore. They’re working hard, starting families and trying to build wealth. But as a generation, they’re way behind.

They’re deeper in debt, only half as likely to own a home, and more likely to live in poverty than their parents.

If we want to address their problems, we need to understand those problems.

Number one: Stagnant wages.

Median wages grew by an average of 0.3% per year between 2007 and 2017, including the Great Recession – just as millennials were beginning their careers. Before that, between the mid-1980s and mid-1990s, wages grew at three times that rate.

Second: As wages have stagnated, the costs of essentials like housing and education have been going through the roof.

Millennials own fewer homes, the most common way Americans have built wealth in the past. Education costs have soared. Adjusted for inflation, the average college education in 2018 cost nearly three times what it did in 1978.

Third: As a result of all of this, Debt.

That expensive college education means that the average graduate carries a whopping $28,000 in student loan debt. As a generation, millennials are more than one trillion dollars in the red. In addition, the average young adult carries nearly $5,000 in credit card debt, and this number is growing.

Fourth:Millennials are finding it harder than previous generations to save for the future.

Among Fortune 500 companies, only 81 sponsored a pension plan in 2017, that’s down from 288 twenty years ago. Employers are replacing pensions with essentially “do-it-yourself” savings plans.All of this means that fewer millennials are entering the middle class than previous generations. Most have less than $1,000 in savings. Many young people today won’t be able to retire until 75, if at all.If we don’t start trying to reduce this generational wealth gap — through policies like debt relief, accessible health insurance, paid family leave, affordable housing, and a more equitable tax code for renters — millions of young Americans will struggle to find financial security for the rest of their lives.


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About the Author

Robert ReichROBERT B. REICH, Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, was Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration. Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the last century. He has written thirteen books, including the best sellers “Aftershock" and “The Work of Nations." His latest, "Beyond Outrage," is now out in paperback. He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine and chairman of Common Cause.

Books by Robert Reich

Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few -- by Robert B. Reich

0345806220America was once celebrated for and defined by its large and prosperous middle class. Now, this middle class is shrinking, a new oligarchy is rising, and the country faces its greatest wealth disparity in eighty years. Why is the economic system that made America strong suddenly failing us, and how can it be fixed?

Click here for more info or to order this book on Amazon.

 

Beyond Outrage: What has gone wrong with our economy and our democracy, and how to fix it -- by Robert B. Reich

Beyond OutrageIn this timely book, Robert B. Reich argues that nothing good happens in Washington unless citizens are energized and organized to make sure Washington acts in the public good. The first step is to see the big picture. Beyond Outrage connects the dots, showing why the increasing share of income and wealth going to the top has hobbled jobs and growth for everyone else, undermining our democracy; caused Americans to become increasingly cynical about public life; and turned many Americans against one another. He also explains why the proposals of the “regressive right” are dead wrong and provides a clear roadmap of what must be done instead. Here’s a plan for action for everyone who cares about the future of America.

Click here for more info or to order this book on Amazon.


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