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Millennials’ wealth more than doubled to over $9 trillion since the pandemic began, but Baby Boomers are still worth almost 8 times as much

March 22, 2022, 6:33 PM UTC

If you’re a millennial, the pandemic might have made you rich.

But it probably made your parents even richer.

U.S. millennials, born between 1981 and 1996, have lived through the Great Recession, brutal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and an ongoing pandemic that has already killed over 6 million people. 

The so-called “unluckiest generation” hasn’t always had it easy, but it turns out they did pretty well for themselves during the pandemic—at least in terms of their net worth.

U.S. Millennial wealth more than doubled since the outbreak of COVID-19 from $4.55 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2019 to $9.13 trillion by the end of 2021, according to newly released Federal Reserve data

Of course, Baby Boomers are still worth nearly eight times as much. The older cohort saw their wealth increase roughly 28% to over $71 trillion since the pandemic began, while Gen-X saw a 65% jump to roughly $42 trillion.

Millennials still hold far less wealth than previous generations did at similar ages. When boomers were around the same age as millennials today, they held roughly 22% of the nation’s wealth compared to Millennials’ 7%, Fed data shows.

Millennials are also facing soaring home and rental prices, rising mortgage rates, and consumer price increases not seen in four-decades as experts warn “stagflation” may be the next wrecking ball to hit the generation.

Many millennials think the American Dream is dead

Despite the recent increase in millennial net worth, 45% of all millennials feel like they will never have the things they want in life because of their lack of funds, and even more than that believe the American Dream is dead as rising expenses continue to outweigh income and wealth gains.

COVID-19 has only made the problem worse, even with the uptick in younger generations’ wealth. Since the pandemic, 55% of millennials were forced to put their retirement planning on hold as they didn’t “see the point of saving for retirement until things return to normal,” according to Fidelity Investment’s 2022 State of Retirement Planning Survey, and another 43% of millennials said their emergency savings will be less in 2022 than they were at the start of the pandemic, a recent BankRate survey showed.

Gen-Z is having even more trouble than their older peers. 65% of people born between 1997 and 2012 were living paycheck to paycheck at the end of 2021, according to the a recent survey from PYMNTS and LendingClub. Despite being the most educated generations in history, and the seemingly neverending stream of financial and investing advise at their fingertips, America’s younger generations are struggling.

The tough times have led many to quit their jobs in the so-called “Great Resignation,” with hopes of finding a better deal elsewhere. Employers have increased pay and benefits in response, but for now, millennials and Gen-Z are stuck well behind older generations in terms of wealth—and it may remain that way for some time.

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