Or maybe it’s because the older generations have set up a society that sets them up for failure.
A recent study conducted by the Consumer Federation of America reveals that car insurance companies are charging those who rent their home more in premiums than those who own their home. According to the report, “auto insurance companies charge good drivers as much as 47 percent more for basic liability auto insurance if they don’t own their home.” Across all insurancecompanies, the average increase was approximately 6 percent in the 10 cities that were studied.
It goes without saying that this procedure directly targets lower- and middle-income earners of all ages and younger drivers (such as Millennials) who may not be ready to purchase a home. On top of the litany of other overcharged costs of living, paying more for car insurance makes paying off debt closer to the realm of impossibility.
What other costs of living are making life hard for Millennials?
The big one is college tuition. Some cite an increase of 1,120 percent since records began in 1978. This alone will lay a tremendous burden on anyone who was not fortunate enough to receive a scholarship, grant or family money. Right out the gate, college graduates are drowning in debt once they enter the real world.
While debt-ridden college grads figure out how to get their head above water, they better watch their step…literally. A twisted ankle will cost them more than they have as medical costs have skyrocketed as well. In the past decade, health care inflation has surpassed the consumer price index every year except 2008. Time reported a 131 percent increase in healthcare insurance in the past 10 years…back in 2009.
College is not necessary though. For survival anyway. Food, on the other hand, is. According to this Ole Miss University study, these were the following prices in 1964 set to inflation in 2012 dollars:
- Bread – $1.41/lb
- Milk – $2.15/quart
- Potatoes – $6.44/10 lbs
And these were the prices in 2012:
- Bread – $2.15/lb
- Milk – $3.11/quart
- Potatoes – $8.90/10 lbs
Admittedly, chicken and eggs are down when set for inflation. Which one came first, I don’t know (I’ll see myself out). We spend approximately 7 percent of our income on food, so that amount adds up. It’s also necessary, so cutting food out of our budget is not plausible.
Another survival need is shelter. In January 1975, when many baby boomers were looking to buy their first home, the average cost of a new house was $39,500. In December 2015, the average price of a new home was $346,400. When adjusted to 2015 dollars, a home in 1975 cost $174,018. It literally costs twice as much to own a home. And when “twice as much” equates to six figures, the burden of the cost of living becomes serious.
To wrap this up, here’s a list of the costs of other items in the past (adjusted to 2015 dollars) compared with today:
- Brand new Ford Mustang: 1965 – $18,261, 2015 – $24,145
- Minimum wage: 1976 – $9.58/hr, 2015 – $7.25/hr
- Child-care expenses: 1985 – $87/week, 2010 – $148/week (all 2013 dollars)
- Average monthly cellphone bill: 60s-80s – Did not exist, 2014 – $134
- Average monthly internet bill: 60s-80s – Did not exist, 2015 – $50
I mention the cost of both cellphone and internet bills because those are now considered necessary in the 21st century. One simply cannot compete in 2016 without internet access. In many industries, a smartphone is either needed or at the very least will give you a competitive edge.
So not only does everything from bread to shelter to medical bills cost significantly more, but younger people also have at least two more monthly costs to manage that did not exist with baby boomers and generations before them. When those additional costs can easily reach $200, the financial situation of Millennials becomes even more burdensome. The problem is exacerbated when you consider that wages haven’t budged in decades.
Millennials are being criticized for a need of recognition, free time and other “lazy,” self-congratulating traits. But when you consider the world they were left with, those demands do not seem too absurd.