Report: More than Half of Young Workers Don’t Think They’ll Make as Much Money as Their Parents

By Suzanne Woolley

More than half of young workers in the US don’t expect to do as well financially as their parents, according to a new survey.

Photo by Diva Plavalaguna:

Many young adults started their careers carrying student debt, and they’ve been hit hard by high housing costs and inflation. Many feel they’ll never be able to buy a home as high mortgage rates combine with scarce inventory of available listings to push affordability out of reach.

Rather than saving for a down payment, 42% of adults between the ages of 24 and 35 “generally agreed” that they live paycheck-to-paycheck, according to the survey released Thursday by the TIAA Institute and the AgingWell Hub at Georgetown University.

For respondents making less than $50,000, a full 60% said they didn’t expect to “do as well financially as my parents,” compared with 34% of workers making more than $100,000.

When young adults were asked about where they anticipated their retirement income would come from, personal savings (56%) and retirement plan savings (51%) topped the list, and Social Security was third (38%).

The survey analyzed financial attitudes and behaviors across gender, age, household income and race. It found that a higher percentage of Black and Hispanic/Latino young adults saved on a regular basis, at 33% and 36%, respectively, compared with 29% for White workers. 

The survey found a significant YOLO contingent among young adults. When asked if “thinking about global challenges makes me just want to live for today” 48% identified with that statement. Another 42%, however, identified more with the statement that global challenges “makes me want to plan and be prepared for an uncertain future.”

The survey of 1,009 full-time employed Americans was conducted from March 2 to 7. 

Would you quit your job if your employer started requiring more time in the office? Share your thoughts on work from home and return to office in our latest MLIV Pulse survey.

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