Millennials, also known as Generation Y, would no doubt give the American economy a failing grade. With unprecedented student loan debt expected to surpass the amount of credit card debt for the first time by the end of this year to an unemployment rate for college graduates that is double what it was before the recession, it is not surprising that 20-30 year-olds are putting many of their dreams on hold.
A new survey conducted by Generation Opportunity, a grassroots organization, finds that more than three-quarters have or will delay a major life change or purchase due to the stagnant economy:
∙44 percent will delay buying a home
∙28 percent will put off saving for retirement
∙27 percent will be forced to let student loans or other debt slide
∙27 percent will delay going back to school for more education or training
∙23 percent will delay starting a family
∙18 percent will delay getting married
Young people helped propel President Obama to the White House. He won nearly two-thirds of voters under the age of 30. Eighteen-to-24-year-olds were the only age group to show a significant increase in voter turnout in 2008. But according to the Generation Opportunity survey, nearly a third (31 percent) said they are satisfied with his handling of youth and unemployment.
The New York Times recently reported that the jobless rate for college graduates under 25 averaged 9.6 percent over the past year. It was just 3.7 percent before the recession. This does not include those who have stopped looking for jobs or who are working part-time or who are over-qualified for the positions they hold.
President Obama offered college graduates some relief last week as he stumped for his stumping for his “Pay as You Earn” plan. He announced that he would use an executive order to begin as early as 2012 an already approved plan to reduce monthly payments to 10 percent from 15 percent as early as 2012. In addition, he announced that the balance of student loan debt would be forgiven after 20 years of payments instead of 25.
But there is no relief in sight for incoming college students, as Millionaire Corner recently reported. The increase in average tuition and fees at public four-year institutions has outpaced increases at private non-profit schools for the fifth year in a row, according to the College Board.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.