Well as much as I would like to say to Millennials, “pull up your boot straps, and let’s get it on”, the US is wallowing through its third decade of stagnant wage growth, and the gulf between the Top 1% and the middle class is larger than the Gulf of Oman on a balmy Middle Eastern afternoon.
In fact 15% of the Millennials are currently unemployed, many are pushing back retirement dates already, and most haven’t even begun to put a strategy in place for long term savings. It’s the sign of the times, and not the sign of the Aquarius.
Millennials have aspirations, but are hindered by the economic stagnation. In a recent study by The CPA’s of America (July 2014), ¾ of Millennials want what others around them have, ½ use a credit card to pay for ongoing monthly expense, and ¼ have missed a payment on a credit card, bank loan, or other debt instrument in the past 12 months.
What’s the court of public opinion have to say on the issue?
In this month’s Though Starter from Ipsos Public Affairs, Most Millennials Eschew Weddings For Retirement Funds, we investigate the financial situation of Millennials, and their spending and saving habits, as they come of age during spend thrifty, and belt tightening economic times of the early twenty-first century.
Conducted in October 2014, the results found that the majority (58%) of American Millennials currently feel pretty good about their financial situation. This shocks me. Why? Unless I am living on Survivor Island with only a jar of Peanut Butter (I have no nut allergies), I wouldn’t feel pretty good about working and growing up in my formative post college years during a Recession-Depression. It must be the Gen-X in me pouring out from a can of Mountain Dew (the drink not the Jerry Garcia song).
As with most segments of the US population, Millennials aren’t too dissimilar from Johnny and Suzy Q. Public when it comes to what keeps them up at night, and causes them financial concern. When asked what are your top financial concerns, Millennials cited money doesn’t go far enough (36%), college expenses/loans (32%), low wages (27%), and paying off credit cards (24%), as their top concerns.
Debt du jour with a side order of credit-card-poutine has affected more than just Millennials earnings potential and savings potential. Credit scores find themselves sliding down the wire into the Abyss without the chance of Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio having enough arms to save these souls from the cold watery depths.
Bankrate.com fielded a study in February of 2014, which talked about the challenges staying afloat on the S.S. Millennial. It’s about making good decisions, and balancing living expenses with discretionary expenses. One key data point shows the challenges of keeping credit scores in good standing:
- 18-24 years old (Millennials) 638 (Avg.)
- 25-34 years old (Millennials) 655 (Avg.)
- 35-44 years old 660 (Avg.)
- 45-54 years old 685 (Avg.)
- 55+ years old 725 (Avg.)
We were curious what Millennials plan to spend their money on in the coming year. So when asked, we were happy to see retirement top the list, and weddings (no offense Bride-zilla) at the bottom of the list. Saving for retirement came in at (45%), closely followed by vacations (44%), and college tuition/loans (36%), and all the way in the back of the pack was weddings (16%).
Is it a sign of the sensible times, or the fact an average wedding in 2015 is estimated to run you a cool $25,200, as cited in Wedding Report 2014.