While Canadians freak out over avocado toast and housing prices, let’s see what’s happening with Millennials in the United States.
The financial outlook of American Millennials is complicated. They are the most educated generation and actually save at high rates but have had a rough start in employment, income levels, and student loan debt. And yes, a lot of Millennials live with their parents.
MILLENNIALS ARE THE MOST EDUCATED GENERATION:
When compared to other generations when they were 18-33, Millennials are ahead on education attainment with women leading the men.
For women, only 7% of the Silent Generation held a bachelor’s degree at that age, 14% of Baby Boomers did, and 20% of Gen Xers. A full 27% of Millennial women have at least a bachelor’s degree.
Millennial women are 6% more likely to have at least a bachelor’s degree than men (27% vs. 21%).
Millennial Men are also more educated than the past: 12% of the Silent Generation had at least a Bachelor’s Degree, 17% of Baby Boomers, 18% of GenXers, and 21% of Millennial men.
THIS EDUCATION COMES AT A PRICE
In 2015, 30-39-year-olds held a collective $408 Billion in student loans. Add that to the under thirty-year-olds that held another $376 Billion and the young adults of America hold $784 Billion in student loans.
Student loan debt is not the only debt. 2/3rd of Millennials claimed they had one source of long-term debt. Another 1/3rd of Millennials says they have MORE than one source of long term debt.
The Great Recession has kept Millennials wary of credit card debt, however. The amount of Americans under 35 with credit card debt has reached the lowest level since 1989. Only 37% of Millennials that on their own report having credit card debt.
A ROUGH START TO EMPLOYMENT
American Millennials have entered the workforce in trying economic times and the impact of the recession shows in the employment statistics.
78% of men in The Silent Generation, the Baby Boomers, and the Gen Xers were employed. Only 68% of Millennial men are employed.
For women, employment rates continued to rise by generation (38% of the Silent Generation, 60% of the Baby Boomers, and 69% of Gen Xers were employed) but they have also dropped for Millennials with only 64% of Millennial women employed.
Median incomes are also tough on Millennials. Millennials graduating with debt and a degree now make nearly the same amount as people with no degree in 1989 ($50,727 vs. $49,024 respectively).
MILLENNIALS ACTUALLY ARE LIVING AT HOME
For the first time in American history “living in parents’ home” become the most common living arrangement among young adults. 32.1% of Millennials reported living with parents. In 1940 (just after the Great Depression), 35% of young adults were living at home, but 46% were married or cohabiting in their own household. Today, only 31.6% of Millennials are married or cohabiting in their own household, 14% report living alone/single parents, and 22% say they are in an “other living arrangement.”
Since 2009, for the first time, Millennial men are now more likely to live with a parent than with a spouse – 35% are living with a parent and 28% live with a spouse or are cohabiting. For millennial women, these numbers are flipped. 35% live with a spouse or are cohabiting and 29% live with a parent.
Education levels also have a bearing on whether or not a Millennial is living at home. 36% of not-college educated Millennials are living with a parent and only 19% of college-educated Millennials are living at home.
Home ownership among Millennials is also down. An estimated 34.3% of American Millennials report owning a home. Since 2015, this rate has been historically low compared with previous generations at the same age.
MILLENNIALS ARE THE BEST SAVERS
Because of the employment and living-at-home statistics, most people think Millennials are poor savers. Only 8% of all Americans think Millennials do a “very good” job at saving money, but the stereotypes are wrong.
Though only 15% of Millennials report doing a “very good job” at saving money, 36% of them are actually saving more than 20% of their incomes. Overall, Millennials are saving an average of 19% of their income compared to 14% the Gen Xers and Baby Boomers are saving.
Despite these savings rates, Millennials have saved less than half their parents had at the same age. In 2013, 25-34-year olds had an average net worth of $29,350. In 1989, 25-34-year-olds had an average net worth of $61,277. Millennials are winning in the retirement savings over their parents, however. On average, they have retirement balances of $14,596 (compared with the average of $5,616 in 1989 among the same age group).
Millennials are also prioritizing freedom over traditional retirement. Only 37% of Millennials said they were saving money in order to leave the workforce (compared to 55% of both Baby Boomers and Gen Xers), but 63% of Millennials reported saving money to “live my desired lifestyle” (compared to only 45% of both Baby Boomers and Gen Xers).
MILLENNIALS ARE REDEFINING EVERYTHING
Millennials are changing the landscape of American life. They differ from previous generations in many significant ways:
68% of Millennials have never been married (compared to just 32% of the Silent Generation at the age): The 65% of Millennials that say they want to be married eventually say they are currently:
- not financially prepared (29%)
- have not found someone with the qualities they want (26%)
- too young and not ready to settle down (26%)
American Millennials are also incredibly diverse. 57% identify as non-Hispanic whites (compared to 78% of the Silent Generation) and 21% identify as Hispanic (compared to 8% of the Silent Generation).
Millennial Parents are the most confident: 57% of Millennial moms say they are doing a very good job as a parent (compared to 41% of Baby Boomers and 48% of Gen Xers). Millennial dads are also confident with 43% saying they are doing a very good job as a parent (slightly higher than the 42% of Baby Boomers that said they were and 37% of Gen Xers).
This feature is written by Erica Quinn and originally appeared in InvestmentZen.com.