Ready for some feel-good news?
Because otherwise, we’re talking about the New York Times‘s piece on the difficulty young adults under age 40 are having amassing savings. New research reveals that Americans in this age range have saved less money than their parents’ generation had at the same age—even though the wealth of the average American has doubled since then.
First of all, you can thank the Times for adding fuel to your parents’ “When I was your age …” fire. At least there’s something to tell them in response: It seems that Gen X and Gen Y have been caught in a cross-fire of overwhelming student loans, declining median income, a housing collapse and stagnant pay.
So it really isn’t your fault.
And then there’s the least reassuring sentence ever written about the younger generations’ financial challenge: “The authors [of the study] said the situation facing young Americans might be unprecedented.”
The problem isn’t just that younger Americans don’t have the money to take that cruise around the Mediterranean they’ve been coveting. It’s also that time is a deciding factor when it comes to building wealth. The earlier you start, the better—and by extension, the longer you put it off, the less chance you have to recover.
At least we can find some comfort (there has to be some upside to this) in the fact that we aren’t struggling beneath student loan debt and stagnant wages on our own—we’re all in this together.