If Millennials Were Smart

If Millennials were smart, they would have been born earlier. If they were REALLY, smart they would have been born white, male and between 1946 and 1964.

It’s too bad they didn’t look at the statistics before being born like any responsible person would have done (i.e. a baby boomer). If they had done that then they wouldn’t be living with their parents, they wouldn’t have over paid for the “wrong” college degree, they wouldn’t postpone marriage or parenthood and they wouldn’t have had to listen to countless baseless lectures from prior generations.

There is another tired column out in the New York Post titled “Millennial homeowners are making a big mistake.” (Here)

Let’s go through these “mistakes” one by one.

“More millennials are buying homes as the economy rebounds. Now, more than 37 percent of millennials ages 25 to 34 own a home, according to data released this month from the Urban Institute.

The statement “more millennials are buying homes” is a comparison to the number of millennials who were buying homes last year. No where in this article is it reflected that Millennials today are half as likely to own a home as their parents were at the same age. Millennials are not buying as many houses as prior generations and the ones that are, well they are making really big "mistakes". 

“But that doesn’t mean they’re buying or planning to buy homes smartly. Indeed, nearly one in three millennial homeowners (29 percent) have dipped into their retirement funds for down payments (compared to just 17 percent of adults overall) and two in 10 millennials who don’t yet own a home say they plan to tap their IRAs or 401(k)s to buy one.

And here we go with the Millennials aren’t “smart” analysis. Yes, it is true more millennials are dipping into their retirement funds for down payments than prior generations. The idea of owning a home is part of the middle class American dream for which Millennials yearn to be a part of. What this article doesn’t even scratch the surface on is WHY millennials have to dip into retirement funds to afford the baseline part of the American dream. Here are some starters for Ms. Catey Hill, the author of this rag.

  •  Millennials have had to take on 300% more debt in order to go college. Might that be factor?
  • The number of minimum age hours Millennials need to work to pay for four years of public college is 4,459. The number of minimum wage hours a baby boomer needed to work in order to pay for the same degree was 306.
  • The price of houses has skyrocketed while wages have stagnated. In 1970 the median house price to median household income was 1.7 to 1 ($17,000/$9,867). Today, that ratio is 3.3 to 1 ($200,000/$59,039). Millennials have to pay DOUBLE what their parents paid in order to afford a home. Hey, (*scratches head*) might that have something to do with it?
  • In the last 40 years the cost of renting a home or an apartment has increased at more than twice the rate of incomes. 
  • The cost of health insurance is historically astronomical and employers are covering less and less employees. In 1980, 4 out of 5 employees got health insurance through their employer. Today it is just about half. Millennials have the highest uninsured rate in the country and Millennials have more collective medical debt than the baby boomers. Could this be a factor?
  • Our retirement funds suck anyway. The average annual stock market returns for boomers was 6.3%. The projected future stock market returns are expected to be just 2.9%.

But hey, don’t worry millennials, this article has some really helpful and practical advice!

“The fact that nearly one in three millennials who already own their homes have dipped into their retirement nest eggs to finance their down payment is alarming,” said Ryan Bailey, head of the Retail Banking Group at Bank of the West. “Millennials are so eager to become homeowners that some may be inadvertently cutting off their nose to spite their face.” Instead, you should usually just save up for the down payment, leaving your retirement funds intact, Bailey advises.

Thanks Bailey! Do you have an advice on how I can avoid paying double than what my parents did for everything with my stagnated pay check? 

If not, you and Catey can save the lectures. Thanks.


  1. '64 is a little late to the party. They don't call it Generation Jones for nothing. The Jonesers got in at most one or two years of chronological adulthood before Reaganomics (and the accompanying Risk Shift) lowered the boom. If anything GJ is the age cohort of the infamous Deaton/Case study. That said, I was born in '65 and am old enough to have benefited from the "full ride Pell grant," but settled for a permatemp "career" for the two decades following graduation. Seems educational opportunities took a decade or two longer to contract than employment opportunities.

    It would be nice to have the best of both worlds; the relative economic security of the so-called post-war economy, and the relatively fairer society (at least de jure) of the post Civil Rights era. Do you think there is some kind of trade-off between those two desiderata? Or is the system just jacking us around, as usual?


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