Many millennials can't afford basics
Yet another survey explores what many young people already know: Money is tight and prospects are gloomy.
Nearly a quarter of millennials -- people between ages 18 and 34 -- are unable to make ends meet, a new online survey says. It's no wonder. The generation faces lackluster job prospects and mounds of student loan debt.
The millennials are worse off than any other age group, says the survey by WSL/Strategic Retail. Only 17% of those between 35 and 54 said they can't afford basics, and the percentage dropped to 13% for older folks.
The survey is one of a number of recent reports that indicate tough times for many young people.
A survey conducted in December by the Pew Research Center (.pdf file) provided other data about the 18-to-34 group:
- 49% have taken a job they don't want just to pay the bills.
- 24% have taken an unpaid job. You need to put something on the résumé
- 35% have gone back to school because of the economy.
- 24% had their own place but then moved back to their parents' home.
Living with Mom and/or Dad is so common it seems almost normal. Says another Pew
Among adults ages 25 to 34, 61% say they have friends or family members who have moved back in with their parents over the past few years because of economic conditions. Furthermore, three in 10 parents of adult children (29%) report that a child of theirs has moved back in with them in the past few years because of the economy.
Employment, even for those young people with a college degree, has been downright gloomy. In February, the Pew Research Center said:
… since 2010, the share of young adults ages 18 to 24 currently employed (54%) has been its lowest since the government began collecting these data in 1948. And the gap in employment between the young and all working-age adults -- roughly 15 percentage points -- is the widest in recorded history. In addition, young adults employed full time have experienced a greater drop in weekly earnings (down 6%) than any other age group over the past five years.
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And that's not all:
- Another analysis found that nearly 54% of those under 25 with a bachelor's degree were unemployed or underemployed last year, The Associated Press said.
- A survey last year (.pdf file) of people who graduated from college between 2006 and 2010 found that only 53% had full-time jobs and 21% were continuing their education. The rest were underemployed or unemployed.
- "Back in 1984, households headed by Americans 65 and older used to have 10 times the wealth of those 35 and under; by 2009, according to Pew Research, that spread had multiplied to 47 times," Reuters says.
The economy has improved somewhat in the last year, and job prospects are looking up for the new crop of grads. U.S. News & World Report says:
Companies say they will hire 10.2% more grads from this year's class of graduates compared to the previous year, and they'll also pay them more. The median starting salary for 2012 graduates will be $42,569, up 4.5% from 2011.
Let's hope that takes place. Meanwhile, there is a bright spot in the WSL/Strategic Retail report:
A shortage of cash is turning many millennials into top-notch frugal shoppers.
- 80% said it's important to get the lowest price on most things they buy, compared with 69% two years ago.
- 60% said they'd pick a lower-priced item instead of their usual brand.
The Star of Toronto adds:
Only 50% of shoppers ages 35-54 said they would shop off-brand to save money. Only 42% of shoppers ages 55 and up said they are willing to choose a lower-priced brand.
Times were tough when I graduated from college in 1975. I spent a year in VISTA, then went back to school for a master's degree. Sound familiar?
My advice? As the song said back in my college days, "Keep your head to the sky," whether it's faith in yourself or a higher power. Work hard, keep a close eye on your spending, and avoid debt as you would the walking dead.
Are you a new or recent graduate? What do you think about your prospects? What steps have you taken to make ends meet?
More on MSN Money:
What, exactly, do the millennials consider basics and essentials? If you don't have kids and live and spend carefully, you can make it on minimum wage. It's not fun, but it can be done. You can get 25 pounds of potatoes for five dollars and eat for a month. It's boring and not extremely nutritious, but the Irish did it for hundreds of years and they are still around. Drinking water is free or close to it if it comes out of the tap. Rent a studio apartment. Use public transportation, etc. Yeah, minimum wage may mean 'underemployment' but it also means employment - and I'd rather hire someone who's been working for minimum wage than someone who moved back home rather than get a job that was considered not good enough.
Also, what are their degrees in? Obviously not the areas needed in this country. We are headed towards desperate deficits in engineering and medicine (general practitioners) and are bringing thousands of people from other countries to work here because American kids want to major in something 'fun' not something that there's a need for.
My background for these comments is that I am retired from two career's...and receiving benefits from both. Since my wife died, I have applied for three jobs, I was hired by all three. The first I hated and left during the probationary period, I took an intermediate job to keep busy, and I still do part time with them while working a full time job.
You do what you have to do, and that's it
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