The good news: millennials are the savviest, best-educated generation to date. The bad news: They're also earning less than ever. The averaged earnings of adults ages 18-34 between 2009 and 2013—$33,880—is the lowest since 1980, the New York Times reports.
Part of the problem, of course, is the slow economy, high unemployment, stagnant wages, and crushing student loan debt that most millennials shoulder. The other part of the problem is the Baby Boomers.
Longer term, rising federal debt payments and increased spending on Social Security and Medicare will inflict a tremendous financial burden on them, threatening their own prospect of receiving promised retirement benefits. To a considerable extent, that’s the fault of my generation, the baby boomers. We were the children of the Greatest Generation, but we may also be the most irresponsible generation.
Millennials also have low net worths—down 43 percent from Gen Xers—and pretty much no savings, which they keep dipping into because their salaries are so pathetic. And although more millennials than ever are attending college, due to rising tuition costs they're also leaving with an average of $35,000 in debt, which is roughly twice the debt of previous generations. As if that weren't enough, the recent spike in federal debt means millennials won't be able to collect on Social Security and Medicare as they age.
So what's the solution? To ease the burden on millennials we'd have to overhaul the nation's economy, lower the cost of college, and reform government benefit programs. Thanks a lot, mom and dad.
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