retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Excellent piece in the New York Times about how "the youngest American adults are facing what is, for most of them, the first serious economic crisis of their working lives. By most measures, they are woefully unprepared.

"While the last few years were largely good ones for the American economy, that did little to help set millennials up with a solid financial foundation. Overloaded with credit card and student debt, and underrepresented in the housing and stock markets, they entered this uncertain period with significant obligations and few resources.

"Their position looks doubly precarious when measured against older generations today and relative to those generations when they were the same age, from 23 to 35 years old."

The story notes that "the inequality among millennials is even more evident when race is taken into account. Young black families at all educational levels have fallen further behind their white peers over the last two decades in measures like household wealth and homeownership, according to research from New America."

These disadvantages, the Times writes, "are already shaping the long-term prospects of young Americans. They are much less likely to be married, have children or own a house than Americans of a similar age in decades past."

KC's View:

And now, with many of them facing major financial issues that will not be resolved even when effective treatments for the Covid-19 have been determined, and a vaccine has been approved and been made widely available, these young people may have to adjust their expectations and belief systems … which is almost certainly going to affect their consumption habits, as well as their social/cultural/political behaviors.

Not that this is a bad thing.  Every generation deals with something … though some generations have greater challenges than others.  They will have to deal with it, though I do think that the culture has some responsibility to helping millennials (not just because they will need the help, but because it will be important to keep the economy and culture thriving.  Keeping them engaged will be in our own self-interest.