The Staggering Millennial Wealth Deficit, In One Chart

In Economy On
- Updated

Few things capture the precariousness of life for today’s young adults like a visualization of their wealth.

Economist Gray Kimbrough did just that, using Federal Reserve data to compare how generations fared financially at different points of their life cycles.

Wealth is a measure of what people own: their assets (which typically include homes, cash savings and stocks) minus their debts (like mortgages, student loans, consumer debt). Its importance to an individual, a nation or an entire generation cannot be overstated; it gives families a safety net during hard economic times, such as a layoff, and is intertwined with such milestones of adult life as buying a home, starting a business or retiring comfortably.

As the chart above shows, baby boomers — those born between 1946 and 1964 — collectively owned 21 percent of the nation’s wealth by the time their generation hit a median age of 35 in 1990.

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