Millennials, a generation that came of age during one of the greatest economic downturns in our nation’s history, have experienced unique financial hardships that have threatened their economic security and hindered their ability to start independent adult lives. As the largest and most diverse generation in history, and a plurality of our workforce, the financial health of young adults is the financial health of the nation and will dictate our shared economic future. So how are Millennials doing in securing an economic foothold as compared to their parents’ generation?
This report compares the financial health of young Americans in 1989 compared to today’s young adults to reveal major declines across five key factors – income, assets, net wealth, home ownership and retirement savings. In summary, Boomers had higher incomes, owned more homes, and had twice the net assets that Millennials have today. Additional key findings include:
- Millennials have earned a net wealth half that of Boomers at the same age.
- Young adult workers today earn $10,000 less than young adults in 1989, a decline of 20 percent.
- When Boomers were young adults, they owned twice the amount of assets as young adults.
- Disturbing racial inequality persists and grows. Young African Americans’ median wealth declined by a third since 1989.
We propose bipartisan policy solutions that would begin providing a financial safety net for young adults and make building wealth easier.