An article was published several days ago concerning the financial assessment of Millennials as presented through the “lens” of corporate America. In this article, it said that corporate America has come to the realization that, due to the financial evisceration of Millennials through institutionalized impoverishment, they have little disposable cash to spend and therefore their efforts are better directed at marketing towards the upcoming market with the Zoomers in hopes of recovering the deficit as well as focusing more on the (for now) cash-laiden boomers:
Right now, millennials represent the largest single consumer group in the United States: they number 83.1 million and they represent a full quarter of the US population. When it comes to corporations targeting consumers, millennials are at the top of the list for those obvious reasons, according to a new article by Adweek. But now, generational expert Alexis Abramson, who has 25 years experience in the field, is claiming that corporations aren’t getting the ROI that they anticipated from millennials.
“There was a great deal of interest [in millennials], but there wasn’t as much due diligence around that group,” she said. “We’ve generalized them as a certain type of person, [but] the reality is the rubber is meeting the road. Companies are starting to understand, ‘Wow, we’re not getting the ROI we thought we might’.”
Her analysis is part of a growing group of evidence that suggests that millennials haven’t been the consumer boon that many corporations expected them to be. Their appeal remains that they are digitally native, mobile oriented, media savvy, politically progressive and well educated. But there’s just one problem: almost none of them seem to have the inly asset corporations care about: disposable cash.
This is one of the top takeaways of a brand new study from Deloitte’s Center for Consumer Insight, which surveyed Kasey Lobaugh, Deloitte’s chief innovation officer for retail and distribution was extremely surprised by the data, especially given that companies have been busy focusing on millennial spending habits.
“[If] you think about the narrative in the marketplace around the changing consumer and the millennial, there’s very little focus on the behaviors that are driven by economics. There’s a narrative driven by some kind of cultural change. One of the things that really shocked me is that the economics of the consumer are really the most singular driver of behavior.”
Millennials have been generalized and targeted because of statements like this one, from the Obama White House in 2014: “Millennials are a technologically connected, diverse and tolerant generation. The priority that millennials place on creativity and innovation augurs well for future economic growth, while their unprecedented enthusiasm for technology has the potential to bring change to traditional economic institutions as well as the labor market.”
But now that millennials have been part of the labor market for over a decade, the sad reality of their buying power has hit potential sellers like a ton of bricks. Spending, per se, isn’t the issue: Millennials spend about $600 billion a year and are on track to spend $1.4 trillion by 2020, according to Accenture data. The problem is that they are saddled with large and unavoidable expenses that reduce their overall purchasing power. These expenses primarily include housing and student debt.
The home ownership rate for Americans aged 25-34 was 37% — 8% below the rates for Gen Xers and baby boomers, according to the Urban Institute, in 2015. Ron Cohen, VP of product strategy for consumer analysis firm Claritas said: “Of the 13.5% of millennials that are heads of households, only around 50% of them own their own homes. The other half are renters—many likely with roommates to share rent and other expenses.”
Lobaugh said: “We have seen a drop in home ownership. It’s not that the millennial somehow doesn’t want to own assets. But what we lose sight of [is] the bifurcating economy. After the downturn [of 2008], it became harder to get a loan. The population that couldn’t get access? They’re renting now.”
And income inequality remains a major issue.
Author and consultant Dan Schwabel said: “One big issue in our world right now is income inequality, and I think you’re seeing that way more in the younger generation. Largely because of the 2008 recession, millennials had a delayed adulthood, and as a result, they’re making adult decisions later in life.”
He continued: “Millennial consumers want the same things as the older generation, except they have to make short-term financial decisions to have a chance of having that kind of life. And it will take them longer. Not only are they getting paid less, but the big elephant in the room is they have $1.53 trillion in student-loan debt.”
Debt, indeed, is the biggest problem facing millennials, despite them being the most educated generation in history:
According to research performed by the George Washington University School of Business, 66% of millennials have more than one type of long-term debt, and nearly half (48%) say they live paycheck to paycheck.
According to Pew research figures, 36% of millennial women and 29% of millennial men have a bachelor’s degree. (For Gen X, those numbers are 28% and 24%, respectively, and for boomers, it’s 20% and 22%.)
Lobaugh continued: “Between 2004 and 2017, student debt rose 160%. Think about that. People are more educated, but we have stagnant wages. The ROI on education isn’t materializing the way they might have hoped.”
Considering the forces at work, blogger Mike Shedlock can’t help but refer to millennials as: “The screwed generation—that was the term I came up with. I believe they are.”over 4,000 American consumers to determine their current consuming habits. The survey found that since 1996, the average net worth of consumers under 35 has dropped by an astonishing 35%. (source, source)
The comment section in this article was explosive, as through the rage and frustration, many people made salient points about how the Millennial impoverishment cannot be simply chalked up to ignorant tropes about “irresponsibility” or avocado toast”, but how the Millennial generation has had their wealth systematically expropriated from them through non-dischargeable student loan debt, a terminally declining economy, the systematic outsourcing of labor, a labor market made to swell by unnatural means, and the emergence of an ultra-rich elite class on top of an impoverished common people similar to how life is in many a “third world” nation.
This is a major trend that I have been warning about. The expansion of student loan debt, how Millennial spending has plummeted, that one-quarter of all credit card debt is going to pay for necessary expenses, a record number of Americans are behind on their car payments, that junk bonds have returned, and how almost half of Americans believe they will never retire reflect the destruction of the Millennial economy. I have warned that based on the current economic situation, it is 2003 all over again and there is only a few years left until another 2008 type meltdown.
This brings me to the tale of Jamie’s mom.
It was summer 2002, and I was going into my senior year of high school. I was working at my summer job earning money when one day during an event at the place I worked at, I got into a conversation with a woman whose daughter, Jamie, was going into her junior year at a different high school. I knew Jamie and her mom knew me and other people at the place I was working, and she asked me about where I was going to college. I told her that I was thinking about staying local with family, and choosing a less costly school because I did not want to take a lot of debt.
Jamie’s mom was a typical Boomer, and she also liked to spend lots of money on things that were shiny or fancy. I do not know how much debt she had or did not have. What I do remember is Jamie’s mom wearing her sunglasses, with her pixie-cut brown hair, and saying how I should not worry about how much debt I should incur because it is the value of the education that matters, and that ‘You will get a good job and be able to pay it back with no problems.’
I can only assume that such was the advice she gave to her daughter, advice which I thankfully did not follow.
2008 was the year the economy crashed, a year after I graduated college and the year in which Jamie graduated. Like many Millennials, I struggled for many years financially and eventually, through much difficulty, working multiple jobs, assistance from family (especially with rent), and a few true blessings, I was able to get back onto better ground. It is certainly not the to same extent as what I was accustomed to, but I can say that I am not saddled with the debt that most Millennials carry.
I do not know if Jamie has debt or not (statistically speaking she would, but I cannot absolutely assert she does because I do not know). Last I knew she was living in an apartment with her boyfriend working for a company, and married him in 2017. She still does not have children.
I say this not to criticize Jamie, but rather to take the words of her mom as I remember them: ‘You will get a good job and be able to pay it back with no problems.’
This was the common attitude espoused by the Boom generation expressed in their own experience. Having grown up in the post-war years of America, they lived through a time of great prosperity and due to the fact that the US was not burdened with debt, they furthered the established policies of the Progressive, “Greatest,” and Silent generations that bore fruit with the Boomers in laying up debt on future generations to fund the expenses of the present.
As I have stated before, it is not entirely correct to wholly blame the Boomers for the crisis today, because they are following in the errors of those who came before them by embracing policies that lead to the socialist system which de facto governs American life in its totality. Certainly the Boomers bear a serious responsibility, but blame must be shared. This includes attributing what is also due to Gen X, the Millennials, and increasingly the Zoomers, as the latter are committing many of the same errors of the Millennials.
President Truman famously had the phrase “the buck stops here” on his desk. It comes to a point where while many people share blame, somebody will have to take up the responsibility of cleaning the mess and settling debts. The Boomers are in the best position to do this, and while likely not clean it all up, could theoretically contribute a lot by helping their Millennial children get a strong financial start so that, with hard work for the future, the Millennials could build a better future for the coming generations. Indeed, this is not to “blame the Boomers” or “make them clean it all up,” but to recognize the collective responsibility that the elders have for the younger. Indeed the younger generations must care for and honor the elderly, but the elderly must also set up the conditions for the younger ones to smoothly grasp the reins of control for society as such happens in all generations, times, places, and cultures. It is supposed to be a symbiotic relationship, not a parasitic one.
But this is not what has happened. Instead, the Boomers have passed off the responsibility by continuing the bad patterns established by their ancestors, and are now telling their children “it is not my problem.”
The Millennials and Zoomers are going to have to deal with the debt issue not by choice, but by force. The Boomers have the power to soften the impact, and they are not doing this. Again, this is not to say that “all of (generation here ) are (negative or positive action here, depending on the context intended to convey)”. It is to speak to that collective responsibility above, where all provide passage from one generation to the next.
The Millennials are not getting married because most of them are flat broke and in debt, and what “assets” they do have are small and have functional purposes, such as a car for getting to work. They are not renting in perpetuity by choice, but by force, because in addition to their student loan burdens, the housing prices are so high, wages so stagnant and declining, inflation raising without end, and job stability declining. Only a stupid person would buy a house in such a situation because even if he could secure the credit line (something which banks are seldom to do for the common man because they know that said loans can be discharged in bankruptcy) that he needs, he would be so leveraged with debt against his assets that one small financial interruption (job loss, declining wages, sudden expenses, etc.) could destroy him. It is a carefully stacked “house of cards” hoping that the tiniest of breezes avoids his table.
What are their parents doing? Largely, their parents simply don’t care, or tell them to “tough up”, or just ignore in hopes the problem will disappear.
Now I would like to tell a story about another person in America to contrast with Jamie’s mom. I’ll call him Thomas.
Thomas did not go to college after high school. He went to work and his father saw the changing economic tides. Having some business experience, he helped his son with getting a job and then helped him to purchase real estate that his son could rent out. Thomas now works his regular job and receives income from his house. His brother, who I will call Charles, likewise did not go to college, but with his father’s help went into construction trades. He likewise is in the same position as his brother, where while both have very different types of jobs, the two men are able to care for their own needs, help others, and have a solid foundation on which to function. Their father is now mostly retired, and save for small ventures he is content to be at home with his wife and work on things that matter to him but without spending lots of money.
The issue at hand is not an attack on college or not, but about thinking ahead for the future. Jamie’s mom espouses the popular thought process, which loaded up her daughter and other Millennials of the same generation with trillions in debt that they cannot ever get rid of per American bankruptcy law. This was an outrageous violation committed against them that has robbed her daughter’s generation and despoiled future generations of their wealth while the Boomers retain their own financial assets and overall refuse to help mitigate the problem. There were millions of “Jamie’s moms,” all whose actions wittingly or unwittingly took part in what was nothing less than the legalized, economic rape of their descendants for untold generations to come in order to serve their current desires.
Thomas’ and Charles’ father was an exception. They are not successful today solely because of their own intelligence, industry, or commitment to hard work, but because their father did what fathers throughout history are supposed to do, which is to sacrifice in order to ensure a smooth change of wealth and power to the next generation. What their father did was, in that way, nothing of extraordinary value as far as it comes to his actions- he was simply doing his job as a father, something which many parents in America have miserably failed to do in the name of selfish indulgence.
This is the source of “Millennial rage,” something which the Zoomers are also coming to embrace. This is the reason why there is an almost militant hatred of Boomers among the younger people and increasing calls for violence. It was the Daily Stormer and 4Chan over the past year that have popularized the phrase “day of the pillow” as a play on the “day of the rope” from the neo-Nazi book The Turner Diaries. The difference is that where on the “day of the rope” is the mass execution of all non-whites and “race traitors” following a successful Nazi revolution, the “day of the pillow” is the execution of the Boomers by smothering them with pillows as they lay dying in their hospital beds by their children for squandering the collective inheritance of their progeny.
The “day of the rope” is a fantastical idea that is better explained as a literary device to encourage genocide and another global war that will likely not happen, and if it does, it would be in the form of a new death camp no different in philosophy than those of the past century. However, the “day of the pillow” is something that Boomers really need to take seriously because it is something personal that could happen. Millennial rage is real, for as many Millennials view their parents as having guided them into bad decisions with permanent, crippling, lifelong consequences, and then refusing to help them or allowing them to suffer is engendering toxic hatred within them that could manifest into violence.
I do not wish violence for anybody. I wish for the good of all people regardless of race or age. It is for this reason I bring this up, because it is real, it is growing, and unless conditions are altered, the Millennials and Zoomers will likely follow through on the warning I gave in December 2017, which is that “Baby Boomers Need To Exercise Compassion Towards Millenials And Generation Z Because Their Own Children And Grandchildren Are Going To Laugh At Their Screams As They Throw Them Into The Ovens And Gas Chambers“.
Corporate America may “give up” on Millennials, but that will not make the problem go away. It will worsen the problem because the Millennials will look at their parents and the marketing directed toward them and upon seeing this and their own poverty and sense of helplessness, will stoke the flames of hatred within them at seeing what they view as the last remains of their inheritance being squandered by those who knew nothing less for the most part than a life of luxury, comfort, and enjoyment.
The Millennials will remember, and they will carry their suffering inside of them. They will carry it to their parents’ hospital bed, where on a visit to them, when the nurse steps out of the room, they will grab the nearest pillow and smother them in the bed. They will ignore their parents’ struggles for life and muffled pleas for mercy, for every moan for help will only compel him to press harder, smiling with sadistic glee and as the hatred burns in his eyes. And as the moans gradually subside, the arms stop shaking, and the heart monitor gives the ominous sound of a flat line as the last gurgle of death comes from their throats, the Millennial rage will subside, for while he cannot and will not enjoy that which his parents had, they could not stop death from coming to them. He will not feel pity or remorse for their deaths, but a sense of relaxation and completion, having become the very angel of death that they feared as he exacted his revenge for the pain he suffered and for which he was scorned during his agony.
Thomas’ and Charles’ father does not have to fear this. They speak highly of him, and while he still likely has many years left, they will mourn his passing as a loss.
I cannot say the same about Jamie’s mom.