Millennials Take on the American Dream

by | Oct 29, 2019

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The Millennial Market

  • The American Dream has shifted from getting rich and living the good life to eliminating as much worry as possible, usually done by removing debt.


  • Two significant factors hindering millennials from grabbing ahold of the American Dream are a less-than promising job market and seemingly endless student debt.


  • Millennials have avoided healthcare costs to cut back on spending money even though healthcare has long been a part of the American Dream.


When it was first recognized, the American Dream was a vision of everyone getting rich and living a good life. The focus of the American Dream has changed many times over the decades, and for millennials, it has been shaped by worry for the future.

Millennials worry about student debt and unemployment, issues that have become increasingly common for the millennial generation. So common, they’re given the reputation as the most stressed-out generation

As Americans, we owe more than $1.3 trillion in student-loan debt, and with 12.7 percent of millennials being unemployed as of last year, millennials have a reason to worry.

This anxiety is what has shifted the idea of the American Dream away from fame and fortune toward the seemingly simple goal of eliminating as much worry as possible. Unfortunately, it’s easier said than done.

Everyone saves up practically their whole lives to be able to retire and spend their days relaxing in the sun. But to save money, you need to be making some as well. 

Sure, you can save any loose change you can find, but a steady income makes all the difference. The issue of millennial unemployment after college graduation has a significant impact on when millennials start saving, and how much they do save in the long run. 

Millennials will need more than $1 million to be able to retire comfortably, but millennial unemployment rates are holding many back from being able to save close to $1 million at all.

Another reason why millennials aren’t saving as much for retirement is that they have student loans to pay off. Millennials are so busy directing their money to pay off their student loans that they don’t have much extra to put into a retirement fund. 

A City Financial Group debt study found that college graduates under the age of 35 with student loans spend nearly one-fifth of their income on student loan payments. It gets even more complicated as data from the Pew Research Center found that there has been a decline in wages for young men since 1970.

Such a focus on making student loan payments has left millennials without much for the future, and healthcare is another necessity that millennials are dismissing.

The cost of healthcare has been on the rise since the American Dream was recognized, and it was not much of an issue back then. But in comparison, it would take roughly 58 days to cover healthcare expenses while it took 15 days in 1958.

Healthcare is incredibly expensive, and this has caused millennials to avoid going to the doctor for anything they feel is unnecessary. Millennials have been putting off routine blood work and new prescriptions because of the fear that they might have a hefty medical bill waiting for them in the mail.  

Finding a decent job that provides benefits has become a central goal within the American Dream because it would allow people to worry less about their ability to make payments.

Even though it may all seem very negative, it’s essential to know that the American Dream is not entirely out of reach. Times are always changing, and just because millennials are facing these new obstacles does not mean that they won’t find ways to overcome them in the future.