Millennials dubbed most unequal generation yet

Millennials dubbed most unequal generation yet

The lavish lifestyles of select millennials are heavily on display across today’s influencer-populated, Instagram-saturated online world. But it turns out such recurrent displays of luxury are hardly limited to social media, as they may very well represent the peripheral layer of a deeper socio-economic gap.

The Global Wealth Report 2017, the leading reference on global household wealth issued by leading financial services company Credit Suisse, suggests that millennials in developed countries such as the U.S., France, Germany and Spain are set to be the most unequal generation to date in terms of income.

“Capital losses in the global financial crisis of 2008–2009 and high subsequent unemployment dealt them serious blows,” the accompanying data book explains, relating Gen Y’s lack of wealth accumulation to factors like rising student debt, tighter mortgage rules, higher house prices, increased income inequality, less access to pensions and lower income mobility.

In addition to the aforementioned notions, millennials do not seem to be quite optimistic about potential inheritances either.

“They expect to inherit less than their immediate predecessors at the same age, perhaps because they know that their parents suffered a substantial reduction in wealth during and following the financial crisis,” the report reads.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, a lucky few have come to achieve billionaire status due to their successful entrepreneurial endeavors, notably in the Internet and high tech sectors, which has propelled a sharp rise in the number of young billionaires over the past several years.

According to the report, there were 21 billionaires aged less than 40 in 2003 and just 24 in 2010, as opposed to 46 in 2017. Their average wealth also witnessed a substantial rise from $3.2 billion in 2010 to a whopping $4.1 billion this year, an increase that has been especially marked in the last couple years.

 Scales of Justice in Frankfurt, Germany Credit:  Michael Coghlan / Flickr

Scales of Justice in Frankfurt, Germany
Credit: Michael Coghlan/Flickr

In conclusion, while some millennials have been fortunate enough to have inherited wealth or received financial support from wealthy boomer parents, or accumulated wealth through entrepreneurship, the majority of the cohort has been far less lucky due to the rigors of unemployment resulting from the financial crisis, accumulating student debt and increased inequality.

“As a result, the Millennials are not only likely to experience greater challenges in building their wealth over time, but also greater wealth inequality than previous generations,” the report concludes.

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