Sure, you get richer as you get older... if you were born during the Great Depression
Turns out the older you are, the more likely you are to be a millionaire. Your odds of being a millionaire in your 40s and younger in is 1 in 55. However, if you’re over 65, the odds remarkably improve, you’re looking at 1 in 7 odds.
A paper from economists William Emmons, Bryan Noeth, and Ray Boshara for the St. Louis Fed’s Center for Household Stability, which show that there’s a new wealth gap to worry about, the one between old and young people. The paper for Louis Fed surveyed 40,000 families between 1989 and 2013 to determine what the relationship between one’s age and income is.
Turns out that a lot many of us experience money in the same ways, when you’re young (under 40) you have a limited amount of work experience, very little in the way of wealth and as is most likely the case already burdened with debt. Most young people tend to accumulate student loans, mortgages, etc. at the beginning of their work careers, placing them directly in the red.
And as you get older, the study shows that it’s easier to gather more income and assets. Good news, for someone who has their eye on retirement. Retirees will trade their hard-earned income at the end of their careers, but will find that their net worth thanks to the acquiring big-ticket items like houses.
The study also echoes what we’ve heard from other economists and editorialists: the generation in which you were born in also affects your economic prosperity. Those who were born early in the last century (between 1930 and 1945) profited from America’s rapid economic growth after World War II, and because they weren’t a lot of babies born during The Great Depression, they had almost no competition making them one of the most successful generations. Baby Boomers that followed suffered a little more than their predecessors, sure. They were the first generation that felt the effects of globalization, automation and the loss of labor unions, but it’s really the ones who have come later that are being the hardest hit.
According to the economists calculations, someone born in 1970 (Generation X) has 25% less income and 40% less wealth than an identical person in 1940. It isn’t clear how Millenials will fare, considering that the numbers of jobs that they’ve been on the workforce is still too statistically small to plot, but it doesn’t look good for either Gen X or Millenials.