Gen Y's Financial Euphoria

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I’m not looking to get The Financial Brand mad at me. Honest. I’m simply trying to show how statistics can be interpreted in different ways.

The Financial Brand posted an article recently on Gen Y’s Money Woes. An excellent compilation of market research statistics about Gen Yers’ financial situation, presented in The Financial Brand’s always-excellent graphical style.

Looking at the data, however, I might interpret some of the findings to be more euphoric than woeful:

  • Fully half of all Gen Yers feel no increased financial stress these days.

  • A majority of Gen Yers don’t consider their financial situation to be bad.

  • Furthermore, two-thirds of Gen Yers’ finances have not worsened.

  • Seven in ten Gen Yers don’t have difficulty managing their spending.

  • Nearly three-quarters of Gen Yers have never been turned down for a loan.

  • 40% of Gen Yers will graduate with no debt.

  • A whopping 89% of Gen Yers don’t expect to be worse off than their parents.

Not so bad, eh? I’ll tell you, I’m no Gen Yer, but man, I feel plenty of financial stress these days with a kid in college that I’m trying to help pay for, and two more that will get there in a few years. And to the 40% of Gen Yers who will graduate without debt I say “congratulations.” I’m no Gen Yer, but man, I sure graduated with a bunch of student loans.

I, too, didn’t expect to be worse off than my parents. And I’m not. Kind of. But they’ve managed to retire, and me….well, I’m not sure I’ll be able to retire as comfortably as they have.

My point here is two-fold: First, that market research statistics are not “truth”, but very open to interpretation.

And second, everybody’s got it bad financially right now.

Personally, I feel a lot more sympathy for Gen Xers who are supposed to be reaching the peak of their earning potential, and the ones most likely to have kids’ college funds they’re trying to saving for, and paying mortgages, etc. If you’re 24, single, and have no kids — you’ve got plenty of time to ride out the bottom of the economic cycle.

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