The young folks of today live in a brave new world, shaped by the financial decisions of their predecessors and the advent of the internet. Wikipedia cites that Millennials, or Generation Y, are those born between the 1980s to the early 2000s. These children were literally born into a financial crisis where years of deregulation and sub-prime mortgages stole the American Dream. Hopes for a better life were squashed when millionaire bankers rode off into the sunset, pockets stuffed with their parent’s retirement plans.
Here are some scary statistics that millennials of today will need to live with when planning their futures.
For those born during the age of the internet, you may have to keep from laughing when your Grandad tells you to just “Get an education” to secure your future. Unless Grandpa has a tidy sum tucked away for your education, you have two choices, stay home or take on crushing debt. For those in high school, with college tuition prices costing much more than as Grandad’s house, you may need to think twice before applying to college.
According to Saving for College, the projected 4-year average tuition and fees calculated for 2015 and 2033 ranges from $134,600 to $323,900 for private colleges, and $39,400 to $94,800 for public in-state universities. With many parents trying to keep themselves afloat in today’s economy, many millennials don’t have a college fund to draw on when they graduate high school. The cost of two-year colleges and training schools are still high and rising by the year.
9. The Job Market
MarketWatch reports that 40% of the unemployed are millennials. Young people find fierce competition in the workforce, especially for jobs paying over minimum wage. Those who majored in Liberal Arts who have strong “people skills” find themselves crowded out by engineering and computer science majors. As corporations have moved jobs like programming off shore, even those with the latest tech certifications and skills find themselves in dead end job. Many hopeful scientists find that the their on the job experiments come down to putting the right amount of special sauce on a burger.
The result of chronic unemployment for the high tech generation leads to increases in identity fraud and addictions, including a new wave of young heroin users, which cost the taxpayers billions with no effective solution in sight. With welfare reform, women who choose to have unplanned pregnancies do not have the support they need to raise their child and must try to find work or lose benefits. Unskilled workers are battling college grads for jobs at Walmart.
8. Easy Credit
For years credit card companies have camped out a college book stores, hoping to lure unsuspecting students into taking out a card at high interest rates. They figured that these kids had parents paying the bill, so why not? Now the credit peddlers skip the bookstore and are out on the street, offering easy credit for the unemployed, the never employed, and those who have given up hope of ever being employed. A CNBC article, Millennials Look for Easy Credit Outside Banks, cites that in a survey of 1000, 45% use alternate means of credit, including pawn shops and payday loans.
These lenders prey upon those with whom the bank won’t deal, and used to be the last resort for the indigent, like selling blood plasma. The internet is full of “how to” articles geared toward Generation Y, from how to sell your sperm to making quick cash as a medical guinea pig. These were always options for the poor, however, kids from good families who had high hopes for their future must grapple with the reality of their son or daughter donating blood to pay their cell phone bill.
7. Parent Basement Depression
Millennials are the new cash cow customers for pharmaceutical companies. A CBS News survey says that because of their high expectations and dismal realities, this group is more anxious and depressed than their Generation X predecessors. It seems obvious as having no or a low paying job, no opportunities for travel, and having to go back to live with mom and dad contributes to their sense of hopelessness.
The news isn’t all bad, however, as the Brookings Institute found some interesting statistics about the scary good idealism and specialized employment opportunities about the future movers and shakers of our world.
6. American Workforce
By 2025 millennials will make up 75% of the American workforce. Basically, our future is in their hands. They have the power to create and enforce social and financial change.
5. Social Causes
89% said they would most likely do business with those who supported social causes. From the environment to shaping public policy, millennials have more time to reflect on their favorite causes. Communicating on social media, and exposure to 24 hour news coverage since birth, these youths are primed to be agents of social change and look up to those who want to make the world a better place.
4. Consumer Spending
Although, their pockets seem bare, millennials account for more than one trillion dollars in consumer spending. Perhaps the easy credit (statistic 8) is contributes to this spending.
3. Money and Success
87.5% of millennials do not think that that money equals success, compared to about 78% of the total population. “We are the 99%,” was the catchphrase of Occupy Wall Street, where crowds, a large portion of them young people, took to the streets to protest their real or perceived exploitation by corporate greed.
2. Jobs they love
Millennials surveyed say they would rather make just 40K at a job they love than 100K just for the paycheck. Whether this is indeed a fact is up for speculation as many of these workers have not been offered that 100K salary, still the optimism of this generation is admirable, and some do choose to work in less glamorous jobs to support social causes.
1. Generation X
Brooking’s Institute quotes: “The top ideal employers of currently employed Millennials are Google, Apple, Facebook, the U.S. State Department, and Disney,” Generation X’s addiction to social media may factor into some of these preferences. Although statistics show that Generation Y has a lot of the deck stacked against them, their idealism and courage is still somewhat intact, and that may be the weapon they need to survive in the new economy.