The toxic combination of lower earnings and higher student-loan balances—combined with tight credit in the recovery years—has led to Millennials getting shut out of the housing market, and thus losing a seminal way to build wealth.
As a result, Millennials have not benefited from the dramatic rebound in housing prices that has occurred since the financial collapse and the foreclosure crisis. Millennials have also been forced to shell out hundreds of billions of dollars in rent as housing costs have skyrocketed in many urban areas. This represents a large generational transfer of wealth from the young to the old.
Boomers own the houses and bar municipalities from building more of them, thus benefiting from rising prices and soaking up endless rent checks forked over by younger and poorer families. Cost pressures have also made it difficult or impossible for Millennials to save or invest.
Making It Millennial
The share of Americans under the age of 35 who own stocks has meandered down from 55 percent in to 37 percent in , in part because employers are less likely to offer retirement-savings plans and in part because Millennials have nothing left over at the end of the month to put away. This means that Millennials have benefited not a bit from the decade-long boom in stock prices, as their parents and grandparents have.
Millennials are worth less on paper than members of older generations are, and are worth less on paper than members of older generations were at the same point in their lives. Could the Millennials make up this lost ground? Perhaps, if wage growth suddenly and dramatically accelerates, urban cores start to build millions of new homes, and Congress announces a student-loan debt jubilee. But financial experts consider it unlikely. The next recession—this year, next year, whenever it comes—will likely make that Millennial disadvantage even worse.
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Already, Millennials have put off saving and buying homes, as well as getting married and having babies, because of their crummy jobs and weighty student loans. A downturn that leads to higher unemployment and lower wages will force Millennials to wait even longer to start accumulating wealth, making it far harder for them to accumulate any wealth at all. Compound interest is magic , after all.
Their trajectory, already terrible, might get even worse. People are eager to become participants of the local culture. Tourism becomes then not just about admiring the historical or natural typical places of a destination but experiencing a life-changing event. The Sharing Economy was born out of this new idea of a better use of resources. Cities have embraced this new economic model and aligned it with their general interests, job generation, inclusion, sustainability.
Because it uses spare capacity to create economic opportunities and makes better use of resources, it is becoming a crucial development tool for sustainability.
But beyond these broad benefits, it also has the social aspect of creating activities bound to places. Smart cities have something that can add to this experience economy. They already have the knowledge and creative workforce. They can easily create this product.
All there is left to find a way to enrich themselves in order to cater that appetite for newer experiences.
Making It Millennial
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Our future self would love to not worry about debt. Plus you get to lower your taxable income, and therefore the impact on your take home pay will be far less painful that any taxable investment at that time.
The younger generation, for example could learn a lot about saving for retirement from boomers. We want to try to avoid that [not putting money in a k. Catey Hill is MarketWatch's senior content strategist. She writes about how to upgrade your life, and helps readers find great deals on products and services.
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