The Next Generation: Rescuing the Economy or Plunging It Further Into Decline?

I’ve spent the past couple of weeks working on a package of articles for The Fiscal Times focused on the spending habits of those ages 18 to 30 — so-called “milennials.” I’ve been fascinated to discover that although this age group is facing one of the worst employment situations ever, many are inherently optimistic. I’ve been mulling this over with particular personal interest. My daughter, about to turn 21, will graduate from college next year, and I fear for her prospects during this down economy. But speaking with so many millennials, I didn’t get the impression that there’s a need to worry. Not only do many have comfortable jobs, but they believe they’ll earn enough money over their lifetime to afford all that they crave. And they’re spending as if they’re already living the high life, despite staggering college loan and credit card debt. Millennials represent the fastest growing sector of the luxury market. The appearance of having made it often trumps consideration of whether you can afford a luxury item. It got me to thinking: have these millennials learned the lessons that plunged us into the recession? Is their spending likely to wreak havoc on both their personal lives and the nation as a whole? Or will their persistent optimism succeed in helping to turn the economy around? Only time will tell.

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