The economic issues facing today’s young people have resulted in a global epidemic of debt, unemployment and too-high housing prices. And, according to a study released by The Guardian, many Millennials are now earning less than retirees.
The British newspaper studied twentysomethings in several countries and determined they’ve suffered wage losses since before the 2008 financial crisis. This lack of income is forcing Millennials to put off some major life decisions, like buying houses, getting married and having children.
“The situation is tough for young people. They were hit hard by the Great Recession, and their (labor) market situation has improved only little since,” Angel Gurría, secretary general of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, told The Guardian. “This is a problem we must address now urgently. Kicking it down the road will hurt our children and society as a whole.”
Student debt — $1.3 trillion worth of it — is the biggest issue facing U.S. Millennials, while ever-rising housing prices in Australia are excluding the country’s young. And, per The Guardian:
“Across Europe, the issue (centers) more around jobs — and the lack of them. The numbers of thirtysomethings still living with their parents is stubbornly high in countries such as Italy and Spain, with grave implications for birthrates and family formation in places whose demographics are already badly skewed towards elderly people.”
“It is likely to be the first time in (industrialized) history, save for periods of war or natural disaster, that the incomes of young adults have fallen so far when compared with the rest of society,” the paper added.
On the other side of the coin, retired people in the U.S. are now wealthier than Americans under 30. Pensioners, or retirees, in the U.K. are seeing their incomes grow three times faster than young people’s incomes. And in France, the recently retired generate more disposable income than families headed by a person under 50.
It’s the first time young people have had less income than those whose careers are finished.