Millennials have a much lower net worth than previous generations, according to a new study.
The average net worth of Americans between the ages of 18 to 35 is less than $8,000 -- about 34 percent lower than in 1996, a Deloitte study published Wednesday found.
Despite clichés that millennials are “ruining everything from movies to marriage,” the study found millennials are actually under more economic pressure because of numerous increased costs over the last decade.
According to The Washington Post, education costs have increased by 65 percent in the last 10 years. The study found that student debt has increased by 160 percent between 2004 and 2017. Other costs, including food, health care, housing and transportation, have also increased.
“What we learned is that the consumer hasn't fundamentally changed, but to the extent they are changing is because the environment around them is evolving, characterized by economic constraints and new competitive options,” the study said. “They’re changing because of the financial constraints they find themselves in.”
The Post reported that people in their 20s and 30s a decade ago spent about 12 percent of their incomes on education, health care and rent, but millennials today are spending about 17 percent of their incomes on those expenses, while spending on dining out or alcohol has stayed about the same, at about 11 percent.
The study, which surveyed more than 4,000 consumers, found that millennials are waiting to get married and buy homes because of the rising costs, not because they want to wait.
“The narrative out there is that millennials are ruining everything, from breakfast cereal to weddings, but what matters to consumers today isn’t much different than it was 50 years ago,” Kasey M. Lobaugh, Deloitte’s chief retail innovation officer and the study’s lead author said, according to The Post.
“Generally speaking, there have not been dramatic changes in how consumers spend their money,” he added.
The study did find that in the U.S. “the retail market has been growing and continues to expand,” with a 13 percent increase since 2005. However, researchers attribute that to population growth instead of people spending more money.