Despite often being referred to as “the unluckiest generation,” the millennial cohort has done surprisingly well for itself since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to new data released by the Federal Reserve, the wealth of American millennials has more than doubled since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, from $4.55 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2019 to $9.13 trillion by the end of 2021.
Those born between 1981 and 1996 are a growing force in investing and yet, they still fall way behind their parents’ generations in terms of wealth. The same Fed data reveals that the baby-boom generation saw its wealth increase roughly 28% to over $71 trillion since the pandemic began, while Generation X saw a 65% gain to around $42 trillion.
Today’s millennials have more economic power than any generation that preceded them. They are earning more, saving more and investing earlier and at a higher rate than previous generations. Yet, the pandemic has brought upon feelings of financial futility and the “Great Resignation” for this group.
Add in working through recession, wars, soaring housing and rental costs, and consumer prices not seen in 40 years, and there is a growing sense among millennials that they will never get what they want, that older generations had it easier, and that they will be left behind.
Since the pandemic started, 55% of millennials have put their retirement planning on hold and 43% said their emergency savings will be less in 2022 than when the pandemic began.
This demographic cohort isn’t the only one struggling. According to a recent survey from PYMNTS and LendingClub, 65% of Generation Z — people born between 1997 and 2012 — were living paycheck to paycheck at the end of 2021.
But Gen Z is young and just starting out. The financial sector knows that newer generations have it in them to drive their capital to new frontiers, on new platforms, with new priorities. Whether millennials will deem it all worth the effort remains to be seen.
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