No group in America has been hit harder during the current recession than young adults. Millions of Americans are graduating from college with virtually no money, lots of debt and with very dim employment prospects. Those who don’t go to college are even worse off. All their lives these young Americans were taught if they studied hard, got an education and worked within the system that good jobs and the American Dream would be waiting for them. But now millions of them are realizing that all of their studying and hard work is not providing them with the rewards that they always thought they would get. This is causing large numbers of young American adults to become depressed and disillusioned. In fact, record numbers of them are moving back in with their parents. But without decent jobs, what are they supposed to do?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in March the national rate of unemployment in the United States was 9.7%, but for Americans younger than 25 it was 18.8%. In fact, according to a Pew Research Center study, approximately 37% of all Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 have either been unemployed or underemployed at some point during the recession.
Things are even worse for those under the age of 20. According to a new report based on U.S. Census Bureau data, only 26 percent of American teens between the ages of 16 and 19 had jobs in late 2009 which represents a record low since statistics began to be kept back in 1948.
But the inability to get good jobs is only part of the story….
*The Pew Research Center study also found that only 61% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 are covered by some form of a health plan.
*According to a National Foundation for Credit Counseling survey, only 58% of those in “Generation Y” pay their monthly bills on time.
*Not only that, but according to a November MetLife poll, nearly 70% of those in “Generation Y” are not building up a cash cushion, and 43% are accumulating too much credit card debt.
*According to Fidelity Investments, those in Generation Y have more than three credit cards on average, and 20 percent of them carry a balance of at least $10,000.
So what does all this mean?
It means we are raising a generation of young Americans that are a financial mess.
But isn’t that our own fault?
After all, most young Americans have never received any formal training on how to manage their money, and the role models of financial responsibility they do have (the rest of us) are hardly worth emulating.
But if each generation of Americans is becoming increasingly financially irresponsible, what does that mean for the future of this nation?