A Blog by Jonathan Low


Feb 10, 2015

Broke Millennials Remain Convinced They'll Be Millionaires One Day

The power of positive thinking? Or the refusal to recognize reality?

46 percent of US millennials live at home with their parents. Not unusual for many parts of the world, but not the norm in the US, at least for the college educated.

40 percent of them are still receiving financial support, which is not all that surprising when the data report that 28 million of them who are not in school make less than $10,000 a year.

The expectation in the US, until recently, had been that every succeeding generation would surpass its parents in economic performance. That is no longer the case, though from the data in the article below, it is evidently still the belief.

This would be cute or inspiring or sad or amusing, if it did not have implications for the way people live and plan and form their views about public policy. For instance, one of the reasons repeatedly cited by lower income Americans for their opposition to higher taxes is that they expect to be in those higher tax brackets themselves some day. And if that day never comes, as is increasingly the case, it is invariably someone else's fault.

It is theoretically possible that millennials will realize their financial dreams. So its not impossible. It's just not likely. The question then being what they plan to do about it. JL

Rob Wile reports in Fusion:

More than a quarter of (millenials) expect to become millionaires in their lifetimes—even as 46 percent of them still live at home with their parents.
Millennials are either impressively optimistic or blissfully ignorant.
More than a quarter of them expect to become millionaires in their lifetimes—even as 46 percent of them still live at home with their parents.
Those numbers are from Fusion’s Massive Millennial Poll, which surveyed 1,000 Americans aged 18-34. (For full results and methodology, click here.)
millennial poll
millennial poll

The apparent disconnect doesn’t end there: While 28 percent of millennials don’t have full-time jobs at the moment, and 40 percent still receive financial support from their parents, nearly every one of them expects to buy a home.

millennial poll

Fusion reported Tuesday that the top one percent of millennial income earners took in about $129,000 in 2013. But those were the lucky few; Fusion also reported that some 28 million people between the ages of 18 and 34 neither go to school nor earn more than $10,000 per year.
Among all demographics, black millennials expressed the greatest confidence that they’d reach seven figures, at 46 percent. Men were next, at 38 percent — compared with 19 percent of women. Older millennials (32 percent among those aged 30-34) and college grads (31 percent) also had high expectations of becoming millionaires.
Those beliefs seem to be at odds with a dismal employment situation, even for college grads. Nineteen percent of 18- to 34-year-olds with at least a bachelor’s degree said they still don’t have full-time jobs. Thirteen percent of them have only part-time jobs, and 6 percent are unemployed and looking for work.
The job market appears least friendly for non-white college grads. Nineteen percent of this group said they only had part-time jobs, and seven percent said they were unemployed and looking for work.
Nevertheless, 65 percent of all millennials, and 75 percent of college graduates, said a degree is “worth the expense.”
millennial poll
Fusion’s Massive Millennial Poll surveyed 1,000 people between the ages of 18 to 34, with a general population sample and an overall margin of error of plus-minus 3.1 percentage points. The interviews were conducted via telephone from Jan. 6 to Jan. 11. For more on our methodology and poll results, click here.


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