Are those born between 1981 and 1992 part of the "lost generation"?
The idea that millennials will eventually retire when they reach their winter years seems to be far-fetched. Straddled with trillion-dollar student loan debt, engulfed with tremendous trillion-dollar consumer debt, left with a weak labor market and victims of a less-than-stellar economy, millennials may never get to experience retirement and instead will be forced to work their entire lives.
In fact, according to many surveys, millennials today do expect to work until they’re buried six feet under (or cremated). This is the result of an economy that has been artificially stimulated and distorted because of central banking policies. Also, social safety nets have essentially become bankrupt due to the shortsightedness of elected officials.
Analysis of United States Census data by Georgetown University this past summer discovered millennials account 40 percent of all unemployed workers. Even as millennials maintain the moniker of being the most educated workforce in history, many new graduates are working in jobs that don’t even require a post-secondary diploma.
Millennials can’t seem to catch a break. Although they are accused of being entitled, bitter and disillusioned, can anyone necessarily blame them? They’ve been fed with deceit that a college degree in any particular field will provide them with a well-paying career.
“These people started college during the boom period, then the market fell apart and they came out of college into a very different environment,” said Ted Beck, president of the National Endowment for Financial Education, in an interview with CNNMoney. “There’s been a deferral of those things we would traditionally think people would start to do at this age. People are not willing to make those commitments until they’re on more solid ground.”
Without these jobs, millennials have failed to accumulate assets. It has become a crisis. Millennials aren’t saving money at all. According to a Moody’s Analytics survey that was obtained by the Wall Street Journal, adults under 35 have a savings rate of negative two percent. Essentially, they’re spending more than they’re earning.
Unfortunately, even if millennials do start saving, they’re given pittance each month thanks to the central banks’ interference in interest rates.
In other words, millennials aren’t saving money, investing, buying a home or settling down with a significant other. To any outsider, it looks as if millennials aren’t growing up - we are constantly inundated with the fact that millennials are still relying on their parents for money and shelter.
Millennials are gradually becoming optimistic because ostensibly jobs are being created, though the labor force participation rate stands at a 37-year low, and much of the positions have been fueled with money-printing and bubble inducement.
“[Millennials] are the generation that are the least likely to be on track for retirement. They’re the generation that will have the most changes with retirement programs changing, pensions going away, taxes going up, and they’re ignored,” said Erik Carter, a certified financial planner with Financial Finesse, in an interview with Forbes. “People aren’t paying as much attention to them and they are falling behind and falling further behind.”
Moreover, we can’t forget about the sandwich generation, a mixture of Generation Xers and millennials. These adults have to care for aging parents and their children, which is also placing a heavy burden on household finances. Instead of putting that bonus into savings, families may have to allocate that additional money to an older relative or their child’s education.
Apparently, having the money to pay for today’s necessities is never enough for today’s 25- to 45-year-olds, unless of course they’re earning at least six-figures each year. Of course, we always find extra cash to pay for an iPhone or that extravagant cable package.
Let’s say for a moment that millennials will, in fact, begin making up for lost time and save at double-digit rates moving forward. What about Social Security? Well, Social Security will likely be insolvent by the time they hit the retirement eligibility age. According to the Associated Press, Medicare will be exhausted by 2026 while Social Security will be wiped out seven years later. The United States government faces $120 trillion in unfunded liabilities and expenditures.
Experts purport that the only way to avoid such a catastrophe is to start trimming entitlement benefits. However, with the U.S. facing congressional elections every two years and presidential contests every four years, this is rather unlikely because Baby Boomers vote and they’ll vote to protect what’s theirs.
Indeed, time may be on the side of millennials, but that time is dwindling very fast. Time remains a finite resource. Several years have past since the economic collapse, but our surroundings don’t seem that much better. The millennial generation will be the one left to pay down trillions of dollars of public debt, revamp the workforce and redefine the concept of retirement.
Perhaps Baby Boomers are fortunate that they’re getting older because they won’t have to deal with any of these pressing issues. But then again, maybe millennials will just give up and leave it to their successors.
Cathy Curtis may have said it best when she published an op-ed on CNBC entitled "Millennials will get shortchanged in retirement":
"These circumstances have created a frustrating challenge for this generation: How do you live as an independent adult and, at the same time, save for the future and retirement?"