Can't afford basic needs? Odds are you’re a millennial, according to a new survey.
One quarter of millennials, or the generation aged 18 to 34, aren’t making enough money to cover basic needs, according to a survey of nearly 2,000 adults of various ages by retail trend research firm WSL Strategic Retail (h/t Chicago Tribune). By comparison, only 17 percent of adults between the ages of 35 to 54, and 13 percent of those 55 and older reported having the same problem.
The results are hardly surprising considering the financial challenges young adults now face. At 54 percent, the employment rate for Americans aged 18 to 24 is at its lowest in more than 60 years, according to the Pew Research Center. On top of that, some estimates say the current value of student loan debt is more than $1 trillion, while the Federal Reserve Bank of New York pegs it at about $870 billion. The New York Fed estimates that two-thirds of that debt is held by people under 30.
As a result of such finacial strain, many millennials are being forced to make lifestyle changes. When it comes to retail, 60 percent said they now choose a cheaper brand over their preferred one. Likewise, most millennials now go online to check for the lowest price before making a purchase.
Indeed, as young adults shopping habits change some retailers have been forced to adapt as well. Brands like Gap and American Eagle are now striving to balance affordable prices with the latest fashion trends.
In addition to shopping choices, millenials have also had to make changes when it comes to their living standards. Last year, 5.9 million people aged 18 to 34 lived with their parents, according to U.S. Census Bureau data cited by the Wall Street Journal.
Perhaps unexpectedly, however, it’s those who come from wealthy families that are more likely to live at home, as less privileged millennials are finding their families can't afford to support them financially into adulthood.