Helping Gen Y Weather the Economic Storm

by Mark Arnold

Americans under the age of 35 are suffering the largest wealth gap on record between older and younger Americans. This group of young people known as Generation Y or Millennials (people born in 1982 or after), has taken a bigger hit than any other demographic from the unstable American economy. Because this group is also the largest generation, its spending habits will impact the amount of time it takes for our economy to recover.

For example, these young people are living with their parents longer than any other generation. At one time, it was a decision many were making to have more discretionary income while saving for major life events like getting married, having a family and buying a house. Currently, it’s because they are still recovering from a recession that ended three years ago. The national unemployment rate have been hovering around 8 percent for years, but the unemployment rate for people ages 18 to 29 has been at 12 percent. It’s even higher for people 20 years old and under, who struggle with a rate of nearly 20 percent unemployment.

This generation also struggles with the highest debt level in the country, but it’s not from credit cards. It’s from student loans. The average student finishes college with more than $20,000 in student loan debt. For graduate students, it’s more than $42,000. Without adequate jobs to pay this debt, Millennials are finding themselves strapped financially.

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