Millennials are in deep trouble financially. But as they drown in student and auto loan debt, they also struggle to find gainful employment. With bills piling up, they’re forced to resort to side gigs and part-time jobs to make ends meet. And at the end of the month, all this struggle doesn’t add up to much, and they carry on unable to save for the future.
But while their reality isn’t a hard one to explain, especially if you understand that monetary policy and government’s intervention in the education and housing businesses have contributed to the high cost of living, millennials are in denial. Instead of saving, they prefer to live in the moment. After all, climate change is going to have catastrophic consequences anyway, so why bother to think of the future?
According to MarketWatch, 88% of millennials believe that climate change is real, and 69% say that it will impact them in their lifetimes. Their perception of the world and the future is so affected by this notion that some will even double down, claiming that it isn’t “hyperbolic to be a little apocalyptic.”
But while two-thirds of all millennials have zero saved for retirement, it’s important to question whether young people are just using climate change as an excuse or whether they are truly worried that they may not live long enough to have a future.
Millennials Can’t Make Money, or Can They?
MarketWatch points out to the sharp increase in mental health issues among young adults and teens in the United States, explaining that the “number of individuals between the ages of 18 and 25 reporting symptoms of major depression increased 52% from 2005 to 2017.” In the meantime, older adults did not experience the same increase, quite the contrary, as some age groups saw major drops instead.
Some of the factors associated with this sharp increase include use of digital media, which reportedly changes how people interact, leading to greater social apprehension, and “eco-anxiety.”
According to an American Psychological Association report from 2018, 72% of millennials said they suffered from emotional distress thanks to the “inevitability of climate change.” Interestingly, about 60% of millennials also claim to have nothing saved for their old age, according to the National Institute on Retirement Security.
While the majority admit that they don’t save because they can’t afford to, many say they have no future to save for.
“There is a certain fatalism in this population relative to more recent generations,” Matt Fellowes, chief executive officer of United Income, an online retirement investment platform said. “Psychologically, this population has had more shocks to expectations about their futures than past generations. From a perception point of view, I hear a lot of cynicism about the ability to build retirement savings or whether they will be able to retire at all.”
This fatalism appears to be affecting other areas of millennials’ lives as well, as a staggering 38% say that couples should consider climate change and its effects when thinking about having children.
In addition, millennials claim to like socialism and socialist policies, as only 45% of young adults claim to see capitalism positively, a considerable drop from 2010, when 68% favored capitalism. Needless to say, these young adults are clearly clueless as to what socialism actually is. If they did have any real knowledge of what happens under a socialist regime, it’s fair to say they would think twice before embracing it.
All things considered, it is clear that millennials are going through a real crisis, but not one of mental anguish due to climate change. If anything, young adults are suffering from lack of economic knowledge and basic familiarity with history.