Millennials (those born in the early 1980’s through the mid-90’s) aren’t buying homes or having kids like previous generations. This information should only be a surprise to people who haven’t been paying any attention to what’s happening in the world. Millennials are just reacting to what we’ve observed and experienced.
We graduated during a recession. Many millennials graduated during the Great Recession. A lack of job opportunities right after graduation may have permanently affected their careers. For those who graduated before or after, it has had a lasting impact on the job market and our views of job security.
We don’t have job security. If there’s one thing that separates the young from the old in the workforce, it’s the idea of job security and employer loyalty. Working for the same company your entire career and getting a comfortable pension upon retirement is no longer an option for the majority of young workers. We are constantly at risk of losing our jobs and are advised to take investment risks in order to have enough for retirement.
Cost of living continues to rise but salaries aren’t keeping up. Prices continue to rise, but salaries aren’t keeping pace. Many of the newly created jobs are part-time or minimum wage. Adding to the burden is the soaring rent prices in major cities where most of the job opportunities are located.
With the new US president, there’s great uncertainty about access to healthcare and other social programs. Healthcare costs can eat up a large portion of one’s salary and can lead to crippling debt. With a new political administration, we are still unsure if we’ll have affordable insurance and access other programs that have traditionally helped the middle and working classes afford healthcare and other necessities.
The US offers little paid time off compared to other developed nations. Other developed nations offer much more vacation time and parental leave compared to the US. There’s no point in having kids if you can’t spend much time with them and have to pay a good portion of your salary for daycare.
Student debt is preventing us from saving money. Kids and houses cost a lot of money. But for a large number of millennials, student debt is preventing them from saving for these major life events. Millennials were told to go to college in order to make good money, but college costs soared without opportunities for graduates keeping pace.
Due to a lack of financial and job security in our lives, millennials are forced to remain flexible. That means no settling down by purchasing a home or having kids. These are large steps that many people only feel comfortable doing when they can stay in one place for a long time and rely on a steady income.