Millennials are way behind previous generations on retirement preparedness. Entering the labor market in tough times, millennials earn lower wages and have fewer fringe benefits than gen-Xers and late baby boomers did as young adults.
So what are some local Wharton MBAs who are also millennials doing to change that?
First, the data: Millennials — those born in the last 20 years before 2000 — carry substantial student debt, began their careers following the Great Recession, and operate in a labor market where a declining share of jobs provide pension and health benefits. These factors have delayed major life milestones such as getting married, owning a home, and saving for retirement. “In short, millennials are behind,” concluded Alicia Munnell, director of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College and Wenliang Hou, senior research adviser at the center.
Millennials started out on a strong note. A much larger percentage of both men and women have a college degree than was the case for earlier cohorts in America. And a college education continues to have significant economic value: A 2014 Pew Study reported that, for millennials, median income was 63 percent higher for college graduates than for high school graduates; their unemployment rate was 8 percent lower; and they reported more job satisfaction.
However, working millennials with an education are also less likely than previous Generation X-ers and baby boomers to receive important fringe benefits, such as retirement and health insurance through their employer. And the big anchor on finances? College loans: Almost half of millennial households age 25-35 are burdened by student debt and, among those households with debt, the outstanding loan balance amounts to more than one-third of earnings, the Boston College research found.
So how are millennials successfully bucking this trend? Swati Patel and other MBA students at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School also needed help learning to save, invest, and budget — even though they’re in business school.