Kids These Days

Talking heads often say that young adults are struggling more than older generations in this economy. But a recent BMO report suggests that millennials are doing just fine compared to what their parents went through at their age. The study compares the financial situations of young adults today (age 25 – 34) to that of young adults from 3 decades ago.

Millennials looking for jobs today have a 93% chance of finding one (not bad,) compared to only 90% for those in the mid-1980s due to a higher unemployment rate back then. So don’t feel discouraged if you can’t find a job right away 🙂 Just remember that your parents probably had it worse.


The median income of people between 25 to 34 rose from $33,900 in 1984-1988, to $34,700 in 2011, after adjusting for inflation. This means we can buy 2% more goods and services than our parents could in 1984 haha 🙂 #feelingrich. Median net worth of households of generation Y was $52,000 in 2012, almost double that in 1984 ($28,752 in 2012 constant dollars.) Wow.

I understand where the older generation comes from when they say “Kids these days. They don’t know how good they have it.” The recession they experienced in the 80s must have been pretty bad 🙁 But then again, maybe it’s not a fair comparison because the world was such a different place back then 😕

While many baby boomers prospered financially in the past thirty years, one could say that their children are starting new careers and families on an equal, if not firmer, footing in most regions.”
~Sal Guatieri, BMO economist.

As a millennial I realize that on average we do have more debts today than our parents did 30 years ago. And the costs of education and real estate have outpaced inflation so certain things are definitely less affordable to us. But we have better job opportunities than our parents did. We are better educated. We have higher incomes and more purchasing power. We have almost twice as much wealth (net worth) than they had. We even have access to new innovations like the internet and smart phones, which make our lives so much easier. So I’m just glad things aren’t worse for us right now 😀

Random Useless Fact: Sometimes evolution can backfire.


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05/21/2014 12:12 pm

DAMNNNN i made more at 23 year old than the average 25-34. I honestly taught i was doing poorly haha

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05/23/2014 3:44 pm

With hard work you can get anything your want, didn’t believe it before but i sure do now.

05/21/2014 1:13 pm

Depends where you live! In Vancouver most people can not afford a home and many are keeping up appearances with their new Mercedes c class. I wouldn’t think Toronto is not far different. However in smaller communities the frugal living trend is really taking off. Great article!!

save. spend. splurge.
05/21/2014 1:33 pm

I always wondered if we had it easier with technology. With technology it seems like we’re expected to work more, not less. As in 24/7 on call.

Sometimes life was simpler back then without all this stuff to complicate it but I wouldn’t want to be in a job that is really back breaking and labour-intensive (thank god for robot and machines).

We’re also spending a LOT more money on housing than our parents did and getting into a lot more debt as a result.

Hannah @ Wise Dollar
Hannah @ Wise Dollar
05/21/2014 7:29 pm

For my own opinion, one can gain so much in 3-5 years of experience. That was so long enough. But yet annoying, like me, as a nursing student I will be studying for 4 years and I need more years of experience before I can go abroad.

05/22/2014 9:51 am

This is all relatively speaking. Studies means sh!t I think. Stop focusing on the masses, focus on yourself.

Michelle (@BudgetBloggess)
05/24/2014 7:20 am

I got stinking mad when I read this BMO article! When you look at life for millennials as a whole, earning a couple thousand more in salary a year does not compensate for the fact that houses (and condos) now cost ten times your income compared to only four times for boomers. Cost of living for millennials is way more than it was for boomers…salaries have not kept up with housing and the cost of living. Yes, technology has its advantages but I think its also the downfall for millennials, it gives you access to get into more debt. Everything is right there on your phone and you can just shop, shop, shop.
I had the same issue in the late 90’s when I got out of college, everyone wanted the standard 3-5 years experience, they wouldn’t take you seriously otherwise. That’s a fact for any generation I think. What’s worse for millennials is that there are more people out there now and more people graduating with BA’s and MBA’s and it’s hard to differentiate yourself from the masses.