New research shows millennials in worse financial shape than previous generations

Steve Tawa
June 10, 2019 - 4:00 am

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — It appears that millennials are behind the eight ball, financially. Data shows as they get just a bit closer to approaching middle age, they're in worse financial shape than every living generation ahead of them.

Bad timing is a part of the equation. Millennials born between 1981 and 1996 got hit early in their work life with the financial crisis in 2007 and 2008. 

Eric, 37, while walking out of a coffee shop in Fishtown, blamed baby boomers.

"I felt that a lot of the bail outs that happened didn't do anything for us. That's a result of a government and an economy that's working for corporations, not individuals," he said. 

Then there's the stereotypical millennial, according to Alan Nesbitt, a counselor with Clarifi, the nonprofit that helps people deal with money issues.  

He says it's "obviously an inaccurate assessment," but one commonly used. 

"You have this bike-, Uber-riding, live at home, internet addicted, foodie hobbyist who doesn't have the drive to gain substantial employment," he said. 

Pew Research Center, which says the "financial well-being of millennials is complicated," notes they've accumulated less than older generations had at the same age. 

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Carlos, on the cusp of being from Generation X, which preceded millennials, feels that. 

"Most people of my generation are burdened with education costs considerably higher than what my parents would have paid for the exact same degree," he said. 

The Wall Street Journal found despite record education levels, they aren't finding the same financial stability every other generation has experienced by the same age.

In his late 20s, Jake is a server along with several colleagues who have degrees. 

"I'm pretty hesitant about going to college myself because of that. I'm making the same amount of money as people with college degrees, and I'm struggling to pay the rent and bills, just like anyone else," he said. 

"It's harder to put money away when you're putting $700 to $1,000 a month toward student loans," said 36-year-old Christine, who, while walking her dog outside a coffee shop in Fishtown, says she's trying to build up a retirement fund but it seems a lifetime away. 

"It would be easier without that additional payment. A whole mortgage or rent payment are your student loans, every month," she said.