Where's the Millennial Middle Class?
It’s a bit of a trope that the millennial generation has had a rough go of it, economically.
After experiencing the Great Financial Crisis during their formative years, attending higher education during a massive debt-fueled student loan bubble, and entering adulthood while home prices were juiced higher and higher, the majority of millennials are now “behind pace,” financially speaking.
In 2015, Pew Research conducted an interesting survey: It found that 89% of Americans considered themselves middle class. The survey then attempted to break down what middle class wealth actually looks like, landing on a median net worth of around $125,000 in today’s dollars.
I was curious how many millennials had surpassed that threshold, and as it turns out, the answer is…not many.
This episode was inspired by headlines about the impending “Great Wealth Transfer,” often positioned as a solution to millennials’ money woes. But will it be? Let’s dig in.
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Transcripts can be found at podcast.moneywithkatie.com.
Mentioned in the Episode
- Fervent Finance satirical tweet: https://twitter.com/ferventfinance/status/1605581737651683330
- Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD): https://data.oecd.org/inequality/income-inequality.htm
- 2019 Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances: https://www.federalreserve.gov/econres/scfindex.htm
- 2015 Pew Research Study on the American Middle Class: https://www.pewresearch.org/social-trends/2015/12/09/the-american-middle-class-is-losing-ground/
- Are Rich People Better Than You? Why Everything We Think We Know About Good Economics Might be Backward, With Nick Hanauer: https://podcast.moneywithkatie.com/are-rich-people-better-than-you-why-everything-we-think-we-know-about-good-economics-might-be-backward-with-nick-hanauer/
- Bridget Casey's "There Is No Such Thing as a Millennial Middle Class": https://www.theglobeandmail.com/investing/personal-finance/young-money/article-there-is-no-such-thing-as-a-millennial-middle-class/
- The Federal Reserve Analysis on intergenerational wealth: https://www.federalreserve.gov/econres/notes/feds-notes/how-does-intergenerational-wealth-transmission-affect-wealth-concentration-20180601.html
- Will ‘the Great Wealth Transfer’ Trigger a Millennial Civil War?: https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/07/will-the-great-wealth-transfer-spark-a-millennial-civil-war.html
- Visuali Capitalist chart on upward mobility: https://www.visualcapitalist.com/the-decline-of-upward-mobility-in-one-chart/
- Coldwell Banker Luxury Report: https://blog.coldwellbankerluxury.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/CBGL-Millennial-Report_SEP19_FINAL-4a.1-1-1.pdf
- Not All Millennials | Generational Wealth and the New Inequality: https://www.thedriftmag.com/not-all-millennials/
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