But the reality is that most young adults under 40 struggle with financial insecurity that their parents and grandparents never encountered in their lifetimes. This population of 70+ million is Saddled with staggering student loan debt, high cost of living (where half your monthly earnings goes to housing expenses), marrying at a later age, and less likely to own a home. We grew up during a time when wages became stagnated, looked for affordability and convenience in the shared economy. The vast majority cannot depend on their parents; almost 20% of adults between the ages of 18 and 34 lives in poverty. Hobbes writes:
What is different about us as individuals compared to previous generations is minor. What is different about the world around us is profound. Salaries have stagnated and entire sectors have cratered. At the same time, the cost of every prerequisite of a secure existence—education, housing and health care—has inflated into the stratosphere. From job security to the social safety net, all the structures that insulate us from ruin are eroding. And the opportunities leading to a middle-class life—the ones that boomers lucked into—are being lifted out of our reach. Add it all up and it’s no surprise that we’re the first generation in modern history to end up poorer than our parents.In many ways, we graduated from college during a recession that caused the housing bubble and wages have stagnated while the cost of essentials such as housing and healthcare have increased exponentially. Our retirement savings look grim because many work in the low-wage service economy that does not offer retirement benefits. We also look to the shared economy for affordability and convenience. The lost decade for the millennial generation will have long-term implications for the future of the middle class in American society if nothing is done to reverse this trend of financial insecurity.