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American millennials are having a harder time keeping up with old money

A departmental store worker checks through dollar bills after releasing an Apple iPad to a customer at its launch in 2012.
Reuters/Eduardo Munoz
Still not enough.
Published This article is more than 2 years old.

Standard & Poor’s has a new report out looking at how millennials will shape the future. It’s largely optimistic, laying out expectations for a recovering economy to loosen up the wallets of young spenders, though it doesn’t fail to discount just how hard the last few years have been.

The reports examines all the usual headwinds: lower incomes, high student debt loads, a tougher job market, and the drags those factors have been on things like big-ticket purchases and homeownership.

But one group of statistics S&P highlights really makes all those trends hit home: the growing wealth gap between older and younger generations, as told by the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances. S&P hasn’t given up hope on the economic future of millennials—the report’s subtitle is “The Kids Are All Right (Or Soon Will Be)”—but charts like these make clear how daunting the journey forward will be.


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