According to Morning Consult’s State of Consumer Banking & Payments report, nearly half (45 percent) of the generation is very or completely concerned that their financial situation will prevent them from having the things they want in life. This is higher than the overall share of US adults, who feel this way 35% of the time.
According to the survey, millennials are also more financially behind than their parents — 38% of the generation, compared to a quarter of all adults polled, reported being frequently or always financially behind. Furthermore, 46 percent of millennials reported that their finances always or frequently control their lives, compared to 33 percent of all adults.
According to the Morning Consult findings, millennials have a lower perception of their financial well-being than the national average. That’s because the economic odds have always been stacked against American millennials, who have experienced two recessions before the age of 40 while dealing with sky-high living expenses and student debt. Such obstacles have made it more difficult for them to achieve the postwar version of the American Dream, which includes a suburban home, marriage, and children.
According to Ernie Tedeschi, senior policy economist for the White House, millennials’ experiences have been influenced by “different economic conditions and realities” than boomers or Gen Xers. He explained that “this has implications for individual career prospects and affects their sense of dynamism.”
The financial consequences of recessions can last for more than a decade.
The oldest members of the generation graduated into the Great Recession’s blighted job market, putting them on a rocky path to establishing a foothold in their careers and, thus, building wealth. According to research, those who graduate during a recession may experience financial stagnation for up to 15 years.
It doesn’t help that many millennials are saddled with massive amounts of student debt — an average of $38,887 per borrower — while also paying skyrocketing living expenses such as rent and healthcare.
By 2020, the generation had experienced their second recession before reaching the age of 40, while still dealing with the financial consequences of the previous one. At the time, Mark Muro, a senior fellow and policy director at the Brookings Institution, told Insider, “Given the severity of the Great Recession, Millennials have suffered long-term consequences.” They are still overshadowed by it, and new consequential burdens are on their way. “
While the coronavirus recession was much shorter in duration and recovered much faster than the 2008 financial crisis, it was not without consequences, including job losses and a housing crisis that locked many millennials out of the market just as they were about to buy their first homes.
It isn’t all doom and gloom. There are signs that the millennials of the 1980s are finally recovering from their financial woes: they’ve made progress in accumulating wealth, and they’re the only cohort at or above pre-pandemic employment levels. But, given that they are experiencing inflation for the first time in their lives, it’s not surprising that they are concerned about money.
Because as soon as millennials clear one economic hurdle, another one appears in their path.