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- Twenty-eight percent of millennials think they’re worse off financially than they thought they’d be a decade ago, according to an INSIDER and Morning Consult survey.
- A variety of economic factors have played a role in delaying some millennials’ wealth-building process.
- The Great Recession, student-loan debt, and a higher cost of living have made it difficult for millennials to save.
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Twenty-eight percent of millennials think they’re worse off financially than they thought they’d be a decade ago, according to an INSIDER and Morning Consult survey. Of the 4,400 Americans polled, 1,207 identified as millennials, defined in the survey as those aged 22 to 37 (237 respondents did not select a generation).
Of those who answered the question, more than half who think they’re worse off financially consider themselves poor, while 34% of respondents consider themselves working class – only 14% of the people who answered think they’re middle class.
The financial crisis led to a tough job market and wage stagnation for the oldest millennials, causing them to delay traditional adulthood milestones as the economy made it more difficult to save, Jason Dorsey, a consultant, researcher of millennials, and president of the Center for Generational Kinetics, previously told Business Insider. They often weren’t able to save or accumulate the amount of wealth they hoped or expected to, he said.
Millennials born in the 1980s specifically are at the greatest risk of becoming a “lost generation” for wealth accumulation, according to a 2018 report by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
According to the survey, 35% of millennials who think they’re worse off financially than they had expected to be don’t have a savings account, and 33% of those who do have only $5,000 or less saved.
Retirement savings aren’t faring any better for this group. Thirty-seven percent of millennials don’t save for retirement at all, and 30% saves 10% or less a month, according to the survey.
Dorsey said that older millennials, some of whom have decided they won’t ever be able to retire, need to play catch-up with their finances if they want to stop working someday.
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The burden of student-loan debt, which totaled nearly $1.5 trillion in 2018, according to Student Loan Hero, doesn’t make saving any easier. Of the millennials who think they’re worse off financially, 33% are still paying off student loans; 23% previously paid them off.
There’s also a higher cost of living to contend with. While millennials have benefited from a 67% rise in wages since 1970, according to research by Student Loan Hero, this increase hasn’t kept up with inflating living costs: Rent and home prices have increased faster than incomes in the US.