Remember when Goldman Sachs spent all that time and treasure digging deep into Millennial culture only to conclude that Millennials are an inscrutable tangle of cheap assholes?
Well, lo these many years later, the Federal Reserve is revealing its own findings of a deep dive into a cultural study of Millennials. And much like Goldman before them, Fed researchers are a little flummoxed by this generation of homeless Uber-riding adult children viewing the world through the prism of their parents Netflix subscription. In short, the Fed doesn't see much actual difference between Millennials and their ancestors, other than one thing:
Relative to members of earlier generations, millennials are more racially diverse, more educated, and more likely to have deferred marriage; these comparisons are continuations of longer-run trends in the population. Millennials are less well off than members of earlier generations when they were young, with lower earnings, fewer assets, and less wealth. For debt, millennials hold levels similar to those of Generation X and more than those of the baby boomers. Conditional on their age and other factors, millennials do not appear to have preferences for consumption that differ significantly from those of earlier generations.
Yup, you read it correctly: Millennials are just as basic as their parents, they're just poor as fuck. Because the internet begat the iPhone which begat the Amazon Echo, Fed researchers are basically arguing that we are confusing disruptive consumer behavior for old consumer behavior but outside of physical stores and in smaller quantities...
Second, economic trends, such as the introduction of new goods and technology, can affect each generation differently, with younger generations typically being more willing to adopt these innovations. Accordingly, some economic behaviors that appear to reflect the unique tastes and preferences of a new generation might actually just reflect general technological change.
...because these sad assholes have no money...
For balance sheet variables, we show that millennials own fewer assets than members of earlier generations and also have less debt at the individual level than Generation X. The comparison is somewhat different for debt at the household level, as millennial households appear to have roughly the same debt as Generation X and higher debt than the baby boomers.
In summation, the central bank of the United States has taken a cold statistical look at Millennials and are happy to report that SUVs and split-level ranch homes will be in demand again soon, once these overgrown children figure out how to make their purchasing power more potent than a 27-year-old skateboard designer living in their childhood bedroom.
Take that, China!