Study: Younger Generations Growing Poorer

In the early 1990s, Mike and the Mechanics sang the maxim, “every generation blames the one before,” adding to it, “and all of their frustrations come beating on your door.”

I know that I’m a prisoner
To all my Father held so dear
I know that I’m a hostage
To all his hopes and fears
I just wish I could have told him in the living years…

I always liked that song. It reminded me of my father, especially the part about the things he held so dear. There were only a few. His faith, his poetry and his family. He hoped beyond hope that we would all do better in life than he had done. And, this dream for him came true.

It’s one of the main tenets of the American dream. More fantasy  now. Every generation will have greater wealth than the one before. But, really, how long could we keep that going? As it turns out, not forever. The up-escalator has ended for younger members of Generation X and older members of Generation Y.

According to a new study by the Urban Institute, Gen X and Gen Y wealth has stagnated. But, this is not new information at all. We’ve been hearing this off and on for five if not 10 years.

Graphic via Urban Institute

We are on the down-escalator, friends. What are you going to do about it?

The authors of the study suggests spending less and saving more lest we find ourselves in grim retirement situations. We’ll have fewer personal resources not to mention slashed government programs, the same ones those over 62 now enjoy.

By the way, the second they became unaffordable and unsustainable they became known as “entitlements.” A lovely word, now a pejorative, that once merely indicated a right to benefits specified by law. It is now used to characterize programs people demand because they possess the “world owes me something” syndrome. I’m talking about Medicare and Social Security, of course. It’s become very uncool for Generation X to talk about their future reliance on the government programs we’ve been paying into since we were old enough to work.

In January, Bryan Goldberg wrote an article for PandoDaily, Young People Are Screwed…Here’s How To Survive.” He outlines four unconventional lessons for Generations Y and Z including foregoing college; making friends with successful people and learning to make something. It’s worth a read.

Artwork via PandoDaily and Bryan Goldberg

Finally, I always liked that Proverb, Your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. I always thought the dreams and visions were confined to the foretelling of only beautiful things, but I could not have been more wrong.

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  1. says

    I’ve started reading Michael Lewis’s “The Big Short” about the financial collapse of 2008. In his view a big part of the collapse was the increasingly unequal distribution of income and wealth which led to lower middle class people taking out subprime mortgages. We have a serious problem going on and many people seem happy to try and balance it on the backs of our younger people.

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