The Center For College Affordability and Productivity reported that nearly half of the college graduates from the class of 2010 are working in jobs that don't require a bachelor's degree. A full 38% have taken gigs that don't even require a high school education. According to The Associated Press, that has dropped the median wage for college graduates significantly since 2000.
It's why the large group of millennials that considers itself either conservative or somewhat conservative (34%) has 52% of its average portfolio dedicating to cash, compared with 23% cash for other investors.
Basically, they don't want to get blindsided as badly as Generation X was in the last recession. The Pew Charitable Trusts says the leading edge of Generation X -- folks born from 1966 to 1975 -- lost about 45% of its wealth during the Great Recession. What little net worth it had plummeted from an average of $75,000 in 2007 to just $42,000 in 2010 and was further depressed by the fact that Gen X missed out on the dot-com and housing booms.
Meanwhile, according to a 2012 Insured Retirement Institute report, only a third of Gen Xers are "very confident" about having enough money to live comfortably during retirement. Professor Glenn Crellin of the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington notes that, on the whole, less than 60% of Gen X owns a home -- well below the 70% to 80% rates of the three preceding generations.
By sheltering themselves from similar risk, millennials are feeling more confident about their own futures. Their parents, however, don't seem so sure. While the majority of millennials (57%) believe that they already have achieved financial stability, or will in the future, only 18% of baby boomers feel their kids will have as much financial responsibility as they have.
In fact, 59% of baby boomers feel that their adult children need more help to succeed than they did at their age and provide financial (32%) and emotional (63%) support. The millennials think it's their parents who are going to need hand-holding as the years progress. After watching their parents' retirement and investing plans scrubbed by the recession, concerns about parents rank near the top of millennials' personal financial concerns. Seeing themselves as the unfortunate filling of a sandwich generation that has to care for both its children and parents, Millennials are more concerned about their parents' financial situations (21%) than either Gen X (15%) or the boomers (4%) were.
-- Written by Jason Notte in Portland, Ore.
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