Millennials, or Americans between 18 and 34, are the best-educated generation to date. But they make less, save less and have more debt than their predecessors in the same age group.
Their average earnings is the lowest since 1980, when comparing previous same-age generations, reports The New York Times.
The average Millennial earned $33,883 (in 2013 dollars) between 2009 and 2013. That’s down 9.3 percent (after adjusting for inflation) in just a decade. Older Americans have done considerably better. (Earnings of all full-time workers were roughly flat between 2000 and 2011.)
A range of factors are keeping Millennials from earning more than their previous generational counterparts. Among the factors: a still-recovering economy, high unemployment in their age groups, stagnant wages, and growing student-loan debt.
There are other financial setbacks facing millennials. Their net worth is down 43 percent, on average, compared to Gen Xers. And Millennials don’t have much in savings.
The biggest strength of Millennials — that more of their age group are attending college than at any time in history — also amounts to their financial downfall. Rising tuition costs are leaving them with an average of $35,000 in debt, which is roughly twice the debt of previous generations.
From the Times report: “Saddled with debt and thin paychecks, millennials are delaying purchasing cars and new homes, low mortgage rates notwithstanding. By June of this year, homeownership among Americans under 35 fell to 34.8 percent, down from a high of 43.6 percent in 2004.”