According to a new report conducted by the University of Michigan, Haver Analytics and Deutsche Bank Global Research, those aged 35 or younger now have less consumer confidence than people 55 or older. This is the first time that Millennials have reached a point of less optimism about their consumer confidence than their parents.
The two main factors that are playing a significant role in this realization is student loan debt and rising home prices. Millennials are currently shouldering more student loan debt than any other generation according to the article by MarketWatch entitled “For the first time, young Americans have less optimism than those aged 55 and older.” This debt is forcing them to delay major life events such as getting married and buying a home.
In a 2017 study conducted by the Pew Research Center, only “37% of Americans believe that today’s children will grow up better off financially than their parents.” The study notes that this sentiment has remained practically unchanged since 2015. One indicator that could perhaps shed some light on this concern is the negative net worth of Millennials. According to a report conducted by Young Invincibles and shared by Student Loan Hero, they “compared the wealth of current 25- to 34-year-olds to the same age group in 1989. Millennials earned lower incomes, were less likely to own a home and had a lower net worth than their parents’ generation.”
Moreover, this is the first time in 130 years that Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 are “more likely to be living at home with their parents than living with a spouse or partner in their own household” according to the above cited MarketWatch article. Being part of the millennial generation, I have seen this first hand with my friends. The main reason why many are living at home is for the purpose of saving money for a down payment on their own home.
This can be seen with some of the more promising statistics shared by MarketWatch from Bank of America’s “Better Money Habits” report. The report found after surveying 2, millennials aged 23 to 37, “nearly half (47%) of working millennials have $15,000 or more in savings.” The report also found that many millennials are working with a planned budget and have savings goals. However, money remains a primary concern for millennials because many of us lived through the Great Recession and saw how our parents struggled through that time period.
It is clear that the student loan debt crisis has more far-reaching implications than just heavy loan payments. We are currently witnessing a shift in when adults move out, when they get married (if at all), and when they are purchasing their own homes. With the cost of college continuing to rise, it appears that this trend will persist in the near future.