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OK Boomer: The Wealth Gap Between Baby Boomers and Millennials

The wealth gap between baby boomers and millennials is easy to explain, but it is rooted in several different things. When you are wondering why millennials have less money, you need to look at how they got there. If you are not sure how baby boomers are doing so well, you need to know about all the help that they got when they were young. Continue reading to learn how this wealth gap happened and what can be done about it.

Baby Boomers Had Help

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Baby boomers went to school for pennies on the dollar compared to what millennials pay intuition today. Most baby boomers were actually able to pay for school while working because the price of tuition was so low compared to their salaries. Millennials must take out huge loans to pay for school because income has not risen as much as inflation or the Gross Domestic Product. 

Baby Boomers went to schools that did not force them to take extra courses and possibly graduate in five years. Plus, baby boomers were going to school in an era when the marginal tax rate was well over 60%. The money that was collected from the ultra-wealthy was invested in things like cheap tuition, medical care, and infrastructure. In short, baby boomers grew up in a better world than millennials.

Millennials Are More Stressed

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Millennials are more stressed than ever before. Students in high school are told that they must take every Advanced Placement course they can find. These students are pushed towards jobs that should make money, but these students need graduate degrees and experience to get entry-level jobs.

By comparison, some baby boomers actually started working for big companies out of high school or while they were still in college. Because of this, baby boomers were able to build the experience they needed to get better jobs. Millennials are forced to take unpaid internships in the hopes of getting a better job in the future.

The student debt crisis is so massive that kids often avoid college because they think they cannot afford it. These very same children are not given any practical options in the workplace, and that is why some students drop out of school. In essence, students feel hopeless as they get into college or enter the workforce.

Millennials might consider going back to school to get a better education, get ready for better-paying jobs, and avoid paying off student loans immediately. 

Millennials Have Not Built-Up Any Wealth

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Millennials have not had the chance to build up any wealth because they are spending all their money on school. Millennial students are put into programs that do not allow them time to work, and these students have no savings when they leave college. As soon as these students get into the workforce, they are forced to pay off their student loans. Because a large percentage of a millennial’s income is going to student debt, they are not able to save money.

Additionally, entry-level jobs pay less than they did in the past. A young person in the workforce may need to take a job outside of their field to pay for their student debt, and they will begin to take out credit cards or extra loans to pay for their living expenses. Plus, it is wise to get a government job or job that will help pay off your student loans for you.

Baby Boomers Enjoyed The Growth Of The Economy And Housing Market

Baby boomers were able to buy houses in the 70s and 80s that were affordable. Baby boomers often kept these homes, paid off 30-year mortgages, and saw the value of their home jump. When baby boomers sell these homes, they could make hundreds of thousands of dollars. Millennials cannot afford to invest in the housing market because they are drowning in student debt.

Baby boomers saw their wages grow, and they kept wages low for the people who work below them. Millennials are fighting for jobs that are not there in some cases, and they must take on more debt while they wait to find the best job.

Baby boomers also invested in the stock market when the value was very low in the 70s and 80s. Millennials do not have the disposable income to invest in the stock market. Plus, stocks are very expensive because popular legacy stocks like IBM, GE, and Amazon are extremely-expensive.

Millennials May Not Make Some of the Best Financial Decisions

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When millennials are trying to make wise financial decisions, they may not do the smart thing when they are in the middle of an emergency. You could consider saving money through a penny app that will round up your purchases. You could use survey apps to make extra money, or you could use a task app that helps you make more money in your spare time. You could even drive for a ride-sharing service. Sometimes in the event of an unexpected emergency, even if a savings fund is in place it may not be enough to cover the sudden expense. Millennials should make an effort to know more about financing options available to them in these unexpected instances and should be able to take care of an emergency that comes up. If you are looking for more info on such topics internet provides the best answer. All you have to do is just ask. 


When you are trying to survive as a millennial in the workforce today, you need to know how America got to where it is today. While baby boomers had all the advantages that you did not get, you should plan to manage your finances in the best way possible. You can stay in school to get a better education and avoid paying your student loans. Plus, you could go into government work or jobs that will actually pay off your student loans for you and cut into the wage gap that baby boomers have created.

About Suzan Vega