Generation Brokeass: The Millennials’ Money Issues Are Statistically Bleak & Real

Illustration by Chloe Cushman for National Post
If you’re a 20-something, chances are you’re earning 20% less than people of other age groups in your city.

The last available national Census of Population study says that 42.3% of 4,318,400 Canadians aged 20-29 live at home with their moms and dads. That number is dramatically higher than in preceding decades: 32.1% in the early 90s, 26.9% in the early 80s.

The report offers a variety of reasons for the trend, but most millennials simply feel financially crippled by the cost of housing, higher education, and difficulty finding a career. How can kids hit milestones at the same ages their parents did – first house, first kid – when they’re making less at the same age?

Other Age Groups Are Killin’ it While the Kids Can’t Get a Cut

If you’re a 20-something, chances are you’re earning 20% less than people of other age groups in your city. For example, to quote the Luxembourg Income Study, the under-30 are poorer than those between the ages of 65-79 who are retired – people who aren’t even working anymore!

The same study shows that for couples in their 20s, income growth in North America is “dramatically behind national averages over the past 30 years.” Yet the 30-, 40-,50-somethings “have experienced gains.”

Experts Worry about Long-term Ramifications of a Broke Generation …

The effect of being 20-something’n’broke has long-term ramifications for the fate of the world: experts worry it’ll impair family formation, ie, babymaking for the next workforce’s generation. Fewer productive people isn’t good for the future of our economy.

Some parents have a spare bedroom in their house should their kid have to move back in, others don’t, some moms will cover those nasty loan interest payments, some dads will pay your tuition so you can get a degree.Other financial experts have pointed out the social inequalities that will emerge from this: kids with rich parents will be able to get ahead of their peers for no other reason than their peers are too broke to buy a textbook or take their future would-be partner out on a date.

Some moms and dads can do neither, so some of Generation Broke are functionally disadvantaged in getting a leg up or some breathing room, which can make all the difference in how their lives pan out: some 20-somethings have to forgo the internship that might have led to a job, because it’s an unpaid internship and they have a rent to pay. Etc, etc.

Generation IOU

No matter where you’re from, or what you’re into, if you’re under 30 in 2016, you likely owe someone, or some institute, a great deal of money, and even worse, you owe interest on that money. You’ve got no option but to saddle yourself with debt – everything you want requires a loan. Even a vacation on a credit card. Banks love to get you hooked on loans you’ll never pay off, but pay interest on in perpetuity.

Expensive educations often end in unpaid internships or jobs that don’t pay enough to pay down the loans, and banks get rich off perpetual interest payments on those impossible loans.

Way too much of a Millennial’s monthly budget goes to debt-related payments, which do nothing but keep them broke. Entering adulthood severely in debt slows down or prevents functional entry into adulthood milestones like buying a house or supporting a child.

Less Love = Less Money

Another part of the millennial financial instability crisis is that fewer people in this age bracket are in relationships anymore. Some reports claim as many as 70% of 20-somethings aren’t in relationships anymore: “The share of young adults aged 20 to 29 living as couples has continued its long-term decline.”

In 2011, about 3 in 10 young North American adults in their twenties were in a relationship. Thirty years earlier, in 1981, more than half (51.8%) of young adults were part of couples.

Part of the joy of a relationship is double income: two people = twice the paycheques. Most millennials were conceived when their mother was a 20-something; that’s changed: for a multitude of reasons, many of today’s 20-somethings are more into fleeting Tinder hookups than picket fences. Scientific studies have revealed the under-40 are lonelier than ever, yet, more commitment-phoby than ever.

The Current Economy Is Killing The Will To Do Anything But Nap and Netflix

What happens to one’s lifestyle, or even ambitions, when they need their job as much as they hate their job? Despair, apathy, slothdom, stunted drive in all facets of life, including love lives, because who has time for that between all the studying and double shifts and panic attacks over the bills?

More than ever, the work-life balance is important to people – the under 40 see their professional lives much differently than the over 40: one’s career these days is merely a means to an end, not the purpose of our lives. Sadly, that refreshing attitude has emerged in the most financially screwed generation of modern times.

As one burnt-out local 20-something said, “You just get boxed in, trapped in this box where you can’t evade your financial doom and responsibilities and your life becomes about tackling your stacks of unpaid bills. It makes you submissive to a system that means nothing to you: work, school, work, school, and for what?

“Neither excite me, but it’s how I spend my waking hours: unexcited. I know what I want to be, but it’s not practical to be an entrepreneur in this economy, with those Jesus property rental rates, and everyone too broke to buy what you’re selling anyway.”

According to Forbes, Here Are Some of the “Most Promising Jobs for Millennials”

Nevermind law school or 4 years of med school ‘cause there’s money in it: Forbes recently reported 41% of people working in elevator repair are between the ages of 18 and 34. “Their median income is a healthy $76,650 and the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that job growth in the field will be 25% by 2022.” Get innovative. Think outside the box: most buildings have elevators. Unleash your inner dog-walker, or whatever.

Here’s some stuff to consider, if you’re considering going to, or going back to university:

Are You a Do-gooder? Try:

Fundraiser
Therapist

Are You a People Person? Try:

Agent/Manager of Artists, Athletes, Performers
PR Specialist

Are You into Jobs No One Will Understand? Try:

Surveyors, Cartographers, and Photogrammetrists
Nuclear Engineer

Are You into Science? Try:

Agricultural or Food Scientist
Dietician/Nutritionist

Are You Into Numbers? Try:

Financial Analyst or Advisor
Statistician

Are You into Lab Coats? Try:

Pharmacist
Biomedical Engineer

Are You a Bit of a Computer Nerd? Try:

Software Developer and Programmer
Computer and Information Research Scientist

Are You into Sidekicking It? Try:

Dental Hygienist
Physician’s assistant

Are You into Surprising People Who Ask “So What Do You Do?” Try:

Elevator Installer and Repairer
Actuary

Are You Not into Any of the Above? Try:

Geological Technician
Marketing Specialist

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