COVID-19 and the financial impact on millennials

COVID-19 and the financial impact on millennials

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - A UAB professor said as many Americans are dealing with substantial negative financial impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the hardest hit groups of people may be millennials.

University of Alabama at Birmingham Associate Professor Peter Jones, Ph.D., in the College of Arts and Sciences' Department of Political Science and Public Administration, says it is important to remember that older millennials were also affected by the 2001 recession, though the Great Recession and the current recession have been more impactful.

With that recession, millennials were either graduating from college and trying to find work, had found work but lost their job, or kept their job but were unlikely to get raises or negotiate for better pay because they had little leverage.

“With this current recession, millennials — especially younger millennials — were more likely to lose their job than were older generations,” Jones said. “And since millennials are more likely to rent than older generations, the looming eviction crisis will be worse for millennials, too.”

For many industries, employers are not offering the same level of benefits that older generations enjoy — great pensions, health insurance, etc.

“So even when the stock market does well, millennials are not benefiting as much, as compared to older generations at the same point in their lives,” Jones said. “I think it will take some structural changes to the economy to help millennials regroup.”

Jones says he believes two things can potentially save millennials: “One, they still have a few decades before retirement, and a lot can happen in that time, and two, they’re now the largest voting bloc, passing the baby boomers this upcoming election.”

Jones has recommendations for millennials who are trying to regroup:

  • Restructure your debt if you can to take advantage of lower interest rates
  • Work on paying down debt and building up savings
  • Vote and pay attention to what is happening at the local and state levels of government

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