Right. I seem to recall, as a child, having a 4% interest rate on my savings account. Maybe that was a CD, I don't fully recall at this point, but what I do know is that those rates are a thing of the past. Gone are the days of putting $500 (what I had saved by age 9) into a CD and having $520 to roll over a year later. Now? The best I can find leaves me rolling over a balance of $1042.90 after 3 years on a $1000 minimum deposit. That's $507.50 on $500 after the first year, a 62.5% reduction in earning potential.
But no, millenials have all the same opportunities today as their parents did 30 years ago, what with interest rates not pacing inflation so things we save for end up costing more than if we buy them today. How? Because the $40,000 car we start saving for today at 1.41% APY is gonna be a $24,000 car in 5 years (assuming the 1.7% inflation rate doesn't increase, which has been the trend) by the time we've saved up the $44,000. We'll be a few hundred short by the time we save up the additional $4,000 but, after 7 years, we can finally buy our $45,000 car. Contrast that with the $13,000 price tag our parents had on the same class of car, coupled with interest rates nearer to 4% and inflation nearer to 3.8% and, well, you can already see the interest rates outpaced inflation 31 years ago (I would have said 30 years, but inflation was only 1.1% in 1986 and I'm trying to be fair to my parents), and that's before you consider that, without a degree, the average salary is the same $36,000 today as it was back then, no adjustment for inflation so that $36,000 only goes about half as far after 31 years of inflation. No, really, go look up the data and do the math, we're up 44.519% over 1985 prices.
Anyway, since our parents could stretch the same $36,000 twice as far, they could also save twice as much each year for a car that cost less than 1/3 as much meaning that, even without interest, they could save for their $13,000 car in less than 2 years, at which point they'd have saved $16,000 for a car that would then cost $14,000. Again, before interest. With interest, they'd have closer to $17,000 in the bank, so they could not only afford the car, but also all the options and maybe take their folks out to a nice dinner the night they bought it. And that in less than 1/3 of the time we millenials could do the same.
So, that's assuming no college education. What about that college degree? Well, according to the data at hand, the median wage for someone with a college degree in the 1908's (regardless of debt - take the average of those numbers) falls just shy of $72,000. Today? Just over $56,300. Remember that $72,000 today would stretch about half as far as it did back then. $56,300? That goes about 40% as far as the $72,000 of 30 years ago. That's right, college educated millenials are worth about 40% as much as their college educated parents; that's worse than those without a degree. Sure, they can save up for that car in 5 years instead of 7, but that sure as fuck ain't no 2 years, and doesn't include all the extras, or dinner for Mom and Pop.
Yeah, we have all the opportunities our parents had. For sure.
I'm just happy I was able to position myself, without a degree, to make twice what my dad did with one, so I can continue almost living the same life he did earning $50k before he had me. I also realize that I possess exceptional intelligence (top 5%) and a very strong drive for success; I can't imagine the average millenial, even college educated, even driven, having what I have today, and the numbers support that. I know a lot of people in my age group who are equally successful, no special snowflake here, but they're all of similar intelligence and drive; the other 95% aren't going to achieve what I have.
That's depressing, because I haven't achieved anything of note.