Debt and the Millennial Generation : an Analysis of Accumulation, Finance, and Impact
Tagget, Jack E.
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The purpose of this research is to explore debt through a Millennial lens. Millennials, born between 1980 and 1999 by most commonly accepted guidelines, have . seen their world change through the introduction of globalization, the rise of the Internet age, and adulthood marked by the tum of the 21st century. As expected by their birth years, the Millennial generation makes up the fastest growing segment of the workforce. As companies compete for available talent, employers simply cannot ignore the needs, desires, and attitudes of this extensively unique generation. As with each generation that preceded it, Millennials have come to be defined by a set of characteristics formed mainly by the world and culture they grew up in. Beyond their tendencies, characteristics, and identities, Millennials shape their lives around credit, just as so many American generations have done before them. However, Millennials repay, accumulate, and shape their lives around debt in vastly different ways than previous generations. This thesis will analyze that accumulation, as well as the impact that it has on financial flexibility and lifetime achievement. Using a survey created to measure sentiment in regard to debt, Millennial respondents provided data that highlights the drivers of debt accumulation, their debt distributions, the impacts of debt on their finances, as well as sentiments regarding their educations and career choices. 122 respondents indicated their attitudes regarding debts in 3 7 individual questions, and the responses were statistically analyzed to show trends and correlations between their lives and debts. The implications of this study and research thesis show how Millennial debt can be debilitating on a massive scale, and may have a negative impact on society.