The 72 million Americans between the ages of 22 to 40, roughly, piled up $3.8 trillion in debt by the end of last year, 27 percent more than at the end of 2019.
Millennials not only owe more than any other age group, but also have piled it on faster in the last three years than any age group has done since 2007, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Millennials have spent most of their lives in an unfriendly economy.
Many began trying to establish their careers during the Great Recession’s depth in 2007 through 2009. That permanently set back their lifetime earnings trajectory, with many also carrying a heavy load of student debt.
Now the COVID War has cost many additional raises just as they try to survive relentless inflation and higher interest rates.
Many Millennials also feel stuck in lower-level jobs because Baby Boomers are clogging the upper rungs of career ladders, waiting to retire until inflation and the housing market settle.
In January, Millennials’ average credit card balance was roughly $6,750, about 26 percent more than three years earlier, VantageScore Solutions reported.
For older borrowers, average credit card balances declined during the same period.
“We’re seeing a ‘credit gap’ emerge, in that younger, less affluent borrowers are coming under financial pressure from higher living costs and inflation outpacing their incomes again,” VantageScore CEO Silvio Tavares told the Financial Times.
TREND FORECAST: Millennials are the new “lost generation.” They have lost career opportunities to a crippled economy and to Boomers lingering on the job market. They have lost purchasing power to inflation and higher interest rates.
They have lost the opportunity to save as student debt can demand monthly three- and four-figure payments from their paychecks.
They have lost the chance to own a home as home prices rocketed up during the COVID War, mortgage interest rates have more than doubled in the last year, and private equity firms have scooped up tens of thousands of houses to let out as rentals. (See “Private Equity Partners Target $5 Billion in Rental Houses” Jul 27 2021.)
Just as important, Millennials are losing hope in their careers, in their income prospects, and in the American Dream.