Americans in their thirties have gotten a raw deal: They’ve experienced two recessions during their working lives, and as a result, many of them are struggling to get ahead. Add in a mortgage and children to the equation, and it’s easy to see why a new report asks whether 30-somethings are part of a “lost generation.”
The Urban Institute finds that while older generations (age 38 and up) managed to accumulate wealth between 1983 and 2010, those between the ages of 29 and 37 have seen their net wealth drop by 21 percent.
One of the biggest challenges for the age group is income. Relatively high unemployment (and underemployment) rates mean that it’s difficult to grow income at a time when people should be climbing the career ladder and getting raises. As a result, many 30-somethings are also putting their personal lives on hold. Last year, a Pew Research Center study found that one in three people between the ages of 18 and 34 put off either marriage or a baby because of the economy.
So what can 30-somethings do to deal with this difficult situation? Saving as much as possible, and taking advantage of workplace benefits such as tax-advantaged retirement accounts, is a good place to start. For more suggestions, see our checklist for five money moves to make before age 30.