There is no denying personal finance has changed alongside the times. Your grandpa knows that very well. He used to say, “I remember when gas was a dime” and “I used to pay a nickel for a McDonald’s hamburger!” Yes, inflation is sometimes hard to keep up with as time moves on. But we are going to discuss the overall relationship between personal finance and millennials. More specifically, how personal finance has changed for millennials in relation to baby boomers.
Personal finance differs from person to person. Personal finance also differs through generations. Older generations have always complained about younger generations. But not so much about personal finance. Well the younger millennial generation has some ammunition against the older, boomer generation.
How personal finance has changed seems to be more of a heated issue. Leaving out all the politics and the politicians, these are the indisputable facts about the changes in personal finance.
This is how the times have changed in regards to personal finance with millennials vs. boomers:
Personal Finance: Millennials VS. Boomers
For this little “experiment,” we will be taking our baby boomers and millennials and compare specific living expenses. The goal of our experiment is to not only show how millennials and baby boomers experienced personal finance, but to show consumers great personal finance habits for each category.
We will compare the ages of when boomers were young adults, to our young adult millennials. For young adult boomer, we will go back to 1985. And for young adult millennials, we will be in present time here in 2019 / 2020. Our generational timeline is coming from mentalfloss.
Car Insurance Rates
According to the U.S. Bureau Labor of Statistics, car insurance was approximately 380% more expensive in 2019 vs 1985. Compared to the overall yearly inflation rate of 2.56%, yearly car insurance inflation rate was 4.71%. This means car insurance was 84% less expensive in 1985 compared to 2019.
Personal finance tips for car insurance:
- Shop around for your insurance! Don’t settle for one company/rate.
- Improve your credit
- Consider bundling your insurance
- The car you own matters a lot. Save money by switching cars!
College Tuition and Fees
College tuition and fees in 2019 is 616% more expensive than in 1985. Compared to normal inflation rates, the cost of college has skyrocketed since 1985. It has become extremely common for parents to not be able to afford college for their kids. But who would have guessed that college would be 133% more expensive in 2019 vs. 1985. That is extremely significant factoring in how expensive college tuition and fees already is.
Personal Finance Tips for College Students:
- Consider attending community college for the first couple of years. You can transfer to your college of choice after that.
- Public and Private colleges usually vary in terms of pricing.
- Always live with roommates to split living costs
- Never buy textbooks from your college library. If possible, always buy them online.
- 101 saving money tips for college students
Housing / Rent
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, rent prices were 193.49% more expensive in 2019 than 1985. In comparison of the average inflation rate of 2.56, rent’s inflation rate of 3.22% is higher.
Personal Finance tips for Housing
- Having roommates can save you a ton of money when it comes to housing. Each roommate you have halves your rent. Be careful to choose your roommates wisely!
- If you cannot afford housing or just need assistance, please refer to the hud rental assistance provided by the United States Government.
- Housing costs can dramatically differ based on your geological location. Consider moving to another state that has lower housing costs.
- It might sound silly to some, but consider living in a “tiny house” (tiny home). Tiny homes are very small houses that are commonly transportable.
- Don’t let landlords scam or abuse your right as a tenant. If you are ever suspicious of anything in regards to your landlord, document it somehow. Know your rights as a tenant in your state.
For unemployment rate, we are going to look back at December of 2018. In 2018 the unemployment rate was 3.9% vs the unemployment rate in 1985 which was 7.0%. With almost a double of an increase in the unemployment rate, the boomers win this category. The unemployment rate in the last 5 years is a large improvement than the early 1980’s were to Americans.
But a large reason for the decreased unemployment rate is the result of an increase in skilled workers. An increase in skilled workers means more competition for everyday Americans. On an innovation standpoint, this is a great thing. On a overall mental health standpoint, it’s pretty bad.
Healthcare is a huge talking point for politicians. Leading up to the 2020 election, healthcare discussions may be larger than ever before. But as far cost and spending goes, the boomers had it easy.
This New York Times article discusses how in 1985 the cost of healthcare was the lowest it was in 2 decades. The total spending on healthcare was 8.9% of nation’s GDP. On average healthcare costs were around $1,721 per person.
Going back to 2017, $3.5 trillion in 2017, or $10,739 per person, and accounted for 17.9% of Gross Domestic Product. That’s twice as much just on expenditure on our GDP.
Personal Finance Tips on Healthcare
- Get health insurance! This is an absolute must! There are affordable healthcare insurance solutions for you.
- Bill too expensive after hospitalization? Contact the billing department at your hospital. Refute any charges that may seem overpriced.
- GoodRx.com and similar prescription discount companies actually work. You don’t need insurance as well as you can use it in addition to your insurance. Some drug prices and availability vary though.
- Find out more ways to save money on prescription medicine.
Of course these are not all of the areas of consideration when factoring in the cost of living in two different time periods. My goal is to inform Americans of the importance of personal finance. But in the process of informing, I want to specifically help those by giving tips, ideas, methods, and utilities in regards to personal finance along the way.
Galizer is here to help. Always and forever.