The Cheapest Generation: Why Aren’t Millennials Buying Cars or Houses?
What if Millennials’ aversion to car-buying isn’t a temporary side effect of the recession, but part of a permanent generational shift in tastes and spending habits? It’s a question that applies not only to cars, but to several other traditional categories of big spending—most notably, housing. And its answer has large implications for the future shape of the economy—and for the speed of recovery.
Read more. [Image: Kagan McLeod]
It’s safe to say that a decent number of Tumblr users are a part of the Millennial generation. So, tell us: Do you own a car or house? If not, why?
Wait, you’re saying that environmental factors (stagnant wages, high-and-rising home and gas prices) combined with a generational shift in attitude (or collective generational response to those factors, probably both) could spell trouble for our consumption-dependent economy? You’re saying that when home/car/gas prices soar in an era of rising income inequality, demand decreases? Tell me something I don’t know.
I have a solution and it’s frighteningly easy: pay young workers more. Pay your interns, for example. We love buying shit and throwing money around, but that only works if we have money in the first place. Adjusted for inflation, male college graduates are earning 12% less than their 1969 counterparts. Only a high school diploma? 47% less. Those numbers are probably much worse if limited to 20-somethings.
Unsurprisingly, it’s a not a bunch of “Generation Y” people determining our salaries and hourly wages. I’d love to lead this economy out of the recession, but I have to make rent first.
I don’t know why people are so surprised that young adults brought up by the Baby Boomers, who are responsible for the enormous increase in cost of housing, among many, many, other sins, might 1) reject their parents’ and grandparents’ philosophy and 2) not have enough money to buy the crap their parents and grandparents think is so important.