Millennials - the generational demographic cohort following Generation X, born between the early 1980s and mid-90s - outnumber Generation X and the Baby boomers.
Millennials have been referred to as “echo boomers” due to an acceleration in birth rates starting in the boom years of the early 1980s via interest rate suppression, which continued into the late 90s before the unraveling of the Dot-com bubble. This generation is now coming of age and will be a majority of the labor force by mid-2020s. Their influence in American society is starting to be realized, although it is leaving a negative mark on the economy as one thing is obvious: Millennials and debt go hand-in-hand.
According to NBC News/GenForward survey, the most common form of debt for 18-to 34-year-old Americans is credit card debt. Approximately, 75 percent of the millennial cohort have financial obligations, and they are ‘pausing major life events’ because they are too broke, the report noted.
A quarter of millennials have racked up over $30,000 in bills, including 11 percent who have over $100,000 in debt. Shockingly, only 22 percent of millennials are debt free.
As a result of all this madness, savings is not hip with the millennials, which has limited their economic mobility and left many unprepared for the next financial disaster.
In a Central Bank boom/bust economy, each generation throughout the past century has experienced some form of deleveraging.
What happens next, well, you guessed it — millennials could be the next generation to feel the wrath of natural selection through a deleveraging period, as it all depends on when the next recession strikes. The survey confirms that millennials have the weakest balance sheet, with credit cards playing an even more significant role than pesky student loans.
In a period of wage stagnation along with nearing the latter stages of the second longest economic expansion in U.S. history, credit card debt is the most significant liability on the millennials’ balance sheet. Meanwhile, as the homeownership rate for millennials has rapidly declined, only 20 percent said they have a mortgage or home loan.
The survey indicates that millennials with college degrees tend to utilize credit more often than those without college degrees. Shockingly, nearly 50 percent of all African-American millennials have student loan debt.
“Millennials with college degrees are more likely to have credit card debt (56 percent) than those without college degrees (40 percent). But they are also more likely to make more money — 56 percent of millennials with college degrees make over $50,000 a year compared with 31 percent of millennials without college degrees. Forty-nine percent of African-American millennials have student loan debt — more than any other racial subgroup.”
When it comes to savings, 30 percent of millennials have less than $1,000 in their personal savings accounts, and only 1 percent have over $100,000 saved. About 24 percent of millennials have no savings at all.
“Sixty-two percent of millennials owe more in debt, overall, than they have in a personal savings account. Only about a quarter (24 percent) have more money in their savings account than they owe in debt.”
Two-thirds of millennials said they would have trouble paying an unexpected expense greater than $1,000. The survey added, “African-America and Latino millennials would have a harder time coming up with the money than other racial subgroups.”
Here is the bombshell: “a majority of millennials have hit pause on major life events because of what they owe,” stated the survey. Nearly 34 percent of all millennials are holding off on buying their first home, and about 31 percent are delaying savings for retirement. The report even said debt has “affected millennials’ family structure.” Fourteen percent of millennials have postponed getting married due to high debt levels, and what should be a national crisis: 16 percent have delayed having children.
Somehow, the survey concludes: “millennials overall remain optimistic about the future.” Perhaps, that is because this generation like all the other generations before, tend to live outside their means through the use of credit and are trapped in the mindless propaganda of a never-ending party.
“Even with a lot of debt relative to savings, millennials overall remain optimistic about the future. A majority (58 percent) are optimistic about things like finding and keeping a good job, paying off student loan debt, and being able to afford the lifestyle they want.”
In short, the heavily indebted millennial could soon experience a period of deleveraging, as their balance sheets are extremely weak with no savings to cushion the fall. The party is nearing an end, and the millennial generation will be holding the bag.