OK boomer — share the wealth.
When baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) hit a median age of 35 in 1990, they collectively owned 21% of the nation’s wealth.
The millennial generation will hit that 35 median age in four years and they are nowhere near owning that percentage.
In fact, this inter-generational wealth chart drawn by economist Gray Kimbrough using Federal Reserve data is a stark illustration of the yawning millennial wealth deficit.
As a whole, boomers have fared better financially than Gen Xers (born between 1965 and 1980) and millennials (born between 1981 and 1996) throughout every stage of their lives. Boomers currently boast more than half (57%) of the nation’s wealth, while Gen X owns just 16%, and millennials 3%.
Adults under 40 have been accumulating less and less wealth over the past 30 years, plummeting from owning 13% of the wealth in 1989 to less than 7% today.
Indeed, at a median age of 35, Gen Xers owned just 9% of the nation’s wealth in 2008 — less than half what boomers had at that age. And millennials will have to triple their net worth in the next four years to catch up to Generation X at 35, and increase their wealth sevenfold to catch up to boomers at that age.
That will be a difficult feat indeed considering most are saddled with student loan debt which has hit a record collective $1.6 trillion. The Federal Reserve estimates that more than a third of the 45 million Americans burdened by that debt are under 30.
Four in 10 Americans under age 30 described their financial situation as “poor” in a recent Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll. And half doubt their ability to pay for an unexpected bill, which is twice the proportion of people ages 60 and older.
There is some hope on the horizon, however.
Boomers are expecting to pass on their estates to their heirs in what’s being dubbed “the great wealth transfer,” which could see those millennials lucky enough to have relatives with money collecting $59 trillion in wealth and assets.