Student record

Economic Trauma of Generation Y: Recession, Student Debt, Inflation

  • Millennials have been carrying economic baggage since the Great Recession.
  • While some are doing well financially, others have faced a host of challenges.
  • Student debt, the housing crisis and now inflation are just a few of their economic problems.

Millennials just can’t take a break.

The generation, made up of people aged 26 to 41 this year, has long been experiencing notorious economic bad luck. Although they have been subjected to the narrative of a frivolous generation that prefers to spend money on avocado toast, the reality is that their entry into adulthood has been compromised by the economy.

“In a way, millennials are part of a large, accidental social experiment,” Kenan Fikri, director of research at the Economic Innovation Group, previously told Insider. “We have never launched an entire generation with so much financial baggage.”

He added that they are unique because they graduated in the throes of the Great Recession. From there, they found themselves saddled with student loan debt and soaring living costs only to weather their second recession before they turned 40. Now, as they enter a stage of life filled with big spending, their finances are being blighted by inflation.

Of course, not all millennials fit this bill. Some millennials, whom generational researcher Jason Dorsey has dubbed “mega-millennials” for the “outsized advantage” they have over their less fortunate peers, do not identify with the negative stereotypes associated with their generation because they feel ahead of the game.

“It’s almost like they have a head start,” Dorsey told Insider, referring to the subset of millennials who don’t fit the mainstream media narrative of their generation. “They worked and did normal work-related things, but often they don’t attract attention.”

But the average millennial feels behind in their careers and finances. Here is a complete timeline of all the economic dominoes that have fallen on their way to financial stability.