When thinking about the disparities between millennials and previous generations — think 'Baby Boomer Steve' meme — it's hard not to feel like we got the short end of the stick. But how bad is it, really?
Though we've long heard discussed how screwed over the millennial generation is compared to those who came before us, a new study from Credit Suisse sheds light on just how bad financial inequality is for the millennial generation.
As Quartz recently reported, millennials in several advanced economies — including the US, Germany, and France — are poised to become the generation with the worst income inequality. The Credit Suisse report hones in on some major issues, some of which we're already familiar with: that millennials are bogged down by student loans, and face more precarious housing markets, to name a few key issues. But how does this all pan out?
Here are some of the main takeaways from the new report.
College isn't accessible to every millennial
Though millennials are, by many accounts, the most educated generation, according to the Pew Research center, as many as 27% of millennials completed at least a bachelor's degree at ages 18-33 as of 2014 compared to 17% of boomers.
But, notes the Credit Suisse study, as of 2013, 37% of Americans in their twenties had some student debt, with members of the class of 2015 owing roughly $35,000. This is about two times as much as counterparts of the same age two decades ago.
It's no surprise. College tuition has more than doubled from 1963 to 2013. Further, because of a perceived return on post-secondary education, millennials often view college as the only option of getting ahead.
Millennials earn less than our parents
Even for those of us who take out loans in order to finance an education that we believe will get us ahead, there are many who earn no more than our parents did, despite the added cost of education.
According to Quartz, the median millennial household makes roughly $40,000 — a full 20% less than boomers at the same point in their lives.
Millennials have more billionaires
Though it may seem counterintuitive, despite the fact that so many of us aren't doing so hot, some of us really are. For example, in 2003 there were 21 billionaires under the age of 40. Today, the number is 46 — more than double.
If this number alone didn't raise too many red flags, consider the fact that not only are there more billionaires, but these billionaires are also worth much more with the richest millennials worth 1 billion more than the richest millennial from 2010.
Millennials are less self-employed
Now, this caught me by surprise; here I was thinking we were the most entrepreneurial generation, but according to the study I was sorely mistaken.
Apparently, millennials are less likely to own or run their own businesses when compared to Gen-Xers or boomers. In fact, in the United States, 2% of millennials are self-employed compared to 8% of Gen-Xers.
Millennials inherit more
Credit Suisse found that only 10-15% of people in their 20s and 30s have inherited wealth, but among those who have, they've inherited quite a bit.
What's more, millennials are set to receive even more money as our parents pass away and leave us money; this is due to the fact that boomers have experienced "healthy gains from a strong stock market [and] ... high house prices."
So where does this leave us? Seemingly, we have a reliance on past generations to help create more income equality. Then again, there's always Gen Z. Maybe they can find a better solution.