Millennials are generally better educated than baby boomers and Gen Xers, which should bode well for their retirement savings, but that doesn’t seem to be the case, according to a new study from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.
It compared several economic and social variables among millennials, Gen Xers and “late baby boomers” when they were all at age 25 to 35. Despite their higher education levels, fewer millennials were working between age 25 and 35 compared with earlier generations; their wages were lower — compared with the median for all workers — and they had fewer workplace benefits.
These factors plus a greater burden of student debt have resulted in millennials delaying marriage and home purchases and participating less in retirement plans than older generations at the same age, according to the study by CRR Director Alicia Munnell and Senior Research Advisor Wenliang Hou. About half of millennials own a home by age 35 compared with about 60% of Gen Xers and baby boomers at that age.
The gap between generations is even greater concerning student debt. Almost half of millennials age 25 to 35 owe student debt compared with less than 30% of Gen Xers and just over 20% of late baby boomers, which the study defines as those born between 1954 and 1964 (The comparable Gen Xers were born between 1969 and 1979.)