Nearly 15 years after the Great Recession hit, the eldest millennials are finally doing alright.
Graduating into a blighted job market put them on a rocky road to building both their career and wealth, which was only further hampered by massive student debt and soaring living costs for things like homes and health care. But data over the past year has revealed that the cohort is making a comeback from their economic challenges in the job market and in their bank accounts.
Research shows that those who graduate during a recession could see stagnation in financial growth for up to 15 years. The St. Louis Fed previously deemed millennials born in the 1980s at risk of becoming a “lost generation” for wealth accumulation. As of 2016, their median wealth levels were 34% below older generations when they were a similar age, making them the slowest cohort to recover from the Great Recession.
“Not only is their wealth shortfall in 2016 very large in percentage terms, but the typical 1980s family actually lost ground in relative terms between 2010 and 2016, a period of rapidly rising asset values that buoyed the wealth of all older cohorts,” the St. Louis Fed report read.
But a follow-up report last year found “millennials may not be as ‘lost’ as we once thought.” It revealed that the cohort made serious ground in building wealth. As of 2019, they had narrowed their wealth deficit to 11%. Of course, this doesn’t take into consideration effects from coronavirus recession, as full data for this period isn’t yet available.