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December 31st, 2019 at 12:41 pm

The coming boom in Millennial wealth

 

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Historically, much written on Millennials has focused on economic strife and crushing student loan debt. While, as with virtually every other generation in history, many Millennials have struggled financially during their youth, a new report from youth marketing experts YPulse makes four predictions that are suggestive of a significant turnaround being on the horizon.

Before getting to the predictions, it is important to take into account two key factors pertaining to Millennial wealth. First, the U.S. economy has been booming for a sustained period of time. Unemployment reached the point in 2018 where there are more open jobs than workers, the stock market is up, GDP has been growing at a healthy pace, and average real earnings have been increasing. In such an environment, those becoming established in jobs are in a better position to thrive. Moreover, many Millennials have been known to be careful spenders on many consumer products.

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A second factor that bodes well for wealth growth is that student loans are not the albatross they are made out to be for most Millennials. While this does not mean that a significant number of individuals do not struggle with student debt, when one takes a macro view of the situation, it is not as bad as it has often been made out to be. One needs to remember that average level of $30,000 of student loan debt in 2019 would have translated to about $4650 in 1970 when an average aged Baby Boomer was taking out loans.

While it surely is no fun to have to pay off $30,000 in debt, over time this is actually a level that most students can work their way out of. When one considers that nearly half (48%) of overall student loan debt comes from students in graduate school, which typically enhances the chance a higher paying job, the situation appears even more surmountable. Moreover, according to Brookings, fully 30% of students graduate with no debt at all and another 23% with debt of less than $20,000.

Fundamentally, the reason we appear to be at an inflection point in Millennial wealth growth is that as an average aged member of this cohort will have turned 30 by 2020. As such, many are becoming established in the workforce and seeing their incomes rise. This will make it even more important for marketers to understand millennial consumer motivations and behavior.

YPulse’s insightful predictions, discussed below, are suggestive of a dramatic increase in millennial wealth in the coming few decades. While part of this phemomenon is normal in terms of the traditional family life cycle (i.e., most would expect to have more wealth at 55 than 35), YPulse points to four trends that will perpetuate millennial wealth growth:

1) They will start making major milestone purchases

It only makes sense that as millennials hit their 30s purchases will shift toward bigger ticket items such as homes and cars, as opposed to personal experiences and small pleasures. While YPulse’s own data suggests that some millennials may delay milestone purchases even a little further, these purchases are nevertheless are a top goal of most members of the group.

2) Millennial spending may already be keeping the U.S. out of a recession

YPulse points out that as more millennials have set up their own households, they are comfortable spending while paying off debt. Given that millennials overtook Baby Boomers as the largest cohort in population in 2019 and now spend more than any other group, this spending is critical to the long-term health of the economy. Fortunately, millennial spending show more signs of expanding than retreating.

3) Millennials are key to the home buying market and it is “just beginning”

By 2018, millennials accounted for 37% of home purchases, the highest of any age cohort. With many still in their twenties and early thirties, there are surely many more home purchases ahead. It appears that the group, who tend to looking for “good neighborhoods,” relatively short commutes and nice communities will be driving growth in housing markets for the next 20 years.

4) Millennials stand to inherit money from the Baby Boomers

In spite of all too common derogatory remarks from some Boomers about Millennials “living in basements” and the like along with the “Okay Boomer” comeback from some Millennials, familial ties between these generations run deep. As more Boomers pass away in the next few decades, Millennials stand to inherit $68 trillion. In part as a result, YPulse notes that Millennials may end up as the richest generation in U.S. history. Of course there is also much reason to believe that large numbers of Millennials will prosper financially over time on their own as well.

Collectively, these factors bode well for Millennial finances. And the future starts now.

Via Forbes.com

 

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