Author: Benjamin Lee
We’ll be the first to admit it; millennials have it tough. To the unaware, millennials are defined as people born in the years 1980 to 1996. With an unpromising market, crippling debt and the prospect of not being able to ever retire, it’s not easy being a millennial. Further adding insult to injury is the fact that millennials are usually stereotyped as being lazy, entitled and unmotivated.
However, the fact of the matter is that the times are changing. Changing at such a pace where it’s become nearly impossible to keep up. This article isn’t some piece whining about how the younger generation has it hard, but a look into the financial and economic difficulties faced by a new generation.
1. Property prices have reached ridiculous levels
In recent years, property prices all over the world have skyrocketed. So much in fact that a significant portion of millennials will most likely be unable to afford to own a home. Despite some “experts” claiming that millennials spend most of their funds on frivolous things like the often memed Avocado toast and parties, this is simply not the case.
To put it bluntly, millennials simply do not have the financial capability to purchase a home. While the market may have undergone a severe correction during the 2004 sub-prime crisis, millennials were simply too young back then to benefit from the low prices of that period.
Now with the property market on the up, home ownership may be a bridge too far to cross for millennials.
2. College education is more important than ever
Advancements in technology have brought about significant changes and improved our quality of life. However, it also means that tertiary education is now more important than ever and in a time where it has become increasingly unaffordable.
In stark contrast, the baby boomer generation was able to secure gainful employment with just a high-school diploma. Consequently, a new generation has now become saddled with crippling study loans in order to obtain a degree.
Even college sports athletes can suffer from this problem. According to Brian Cain, young baseball athletes can be affected by this problem, due to the stress and the ambition to be drafted and become an MLB expert pick.
When this happens, youngsters lose the passion they have for the sport and the game, as they become absorbed by the pressure and the routine, from both their prospect of a possible – but uncertain – sporting career, colliding with their college ambitions.
Further adding to the problem is the fact that the nature of employment has changed drastically over the years, which brings us to our next point.
3. Incomes have fallen
The good news is that unemployment levels are at the lowest that they’ve been. Experts have claimed that the U.S economy is now fully employed. However, in this day and age, holding a job is not enough to survive.
The above graph shows that wages are in fact far below that of the targeted level. In 2018, wages rose by about 2.8% which sounds good on paper. However, if you take into account the fact that inflation rose by 2.7%, you’re looking at literally zero wage growth.
With rising globalization and businesses constantly striving to cut costs, holding a single full-time job is simply unsustainable. As a result, millennials have turned to alternative sources of income. From taking on freelance work to working part-time, the employment landscape has changed for the worse for many millennials.
4. Retirement may be just a pipe dream
Financial freedom and retirement are looking like a distant pipe dream for the millennial generation. Where baby boomers were able to put aside money for retirement, stagnant salaries and rising costs of living means that this is highly unlikely for millennials.
For example, Japanese youth are hesitant to get hitched and have children for fear of the future. Rising economic instability and changing ideals have put many off the prospect of nuptials. This is a sentiment echoed by many millennials in the U.S who find themselves simply being unable to afford a family or marriage.
With changing economic conditions and rising costs of living, it goes without saying that millennials do indeed have it tough. As the uncertainty continues, it may be awhile before millennials can finally move out of their parent’s place.