Under 40s Left Behind in Wealth-Building

Tuesday, March 19, 2013
(photo: thinkstock)

Americans in their 20s and 30s are doing worse than others the same age did 30 years ago when it comes to wealth accumulation, according to a new study from the Urban Institute.


The average wealth in 2010 for members of Generation X and the Millennial Generation was 7% below that of Americans in their 20s and 30s back in 1983, the report states.


Many economic factors have made it tougher for younger Americans today to earn and save money. These range from stagnant salaries to fewer job openings to a crippled housing market to enormous amounts of student loan debt.


According to the report, “those born in 1943–51 are wealthier than those born in 1934–42, who are wealthier than those born in 1925–33. This pattern does not hold for the younger among us. People born starting in 1952 no longer find their wealth above the prior cohort.” The net worth of those 47 and older is about double that of the same age 27 years ago. But those in their mid-30s or younger have not benefited from the doubling of the economy and have not accumulated more wealth than the same age groups 27 years earlier.

-David Wallechinsky, Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Younger Generations Lag Parents in Wealth-Building (by Annie Lowrey, New York Times)

Lost Generations? Wealth Building among Young Americans (by Eugene Steuerle, Signe-Mary McKernan, Caroline Ratcliffe, and Sisi Zhang, Urban Institute) (pdf)


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