When you turn 18, you’re psyched. You’re officially an adult with the ability to buy tobacco and pornography. Sure, the luster wears off after your first purchases of said contraband, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t happier as an 18-year-old than a piddly 17-year-old. And then you turn 21, where you can buy all the booze your little heart (and all of your friend’s little hearts desire). But after that, birthdays stop being fun and start getting real. You can rent a car at 25, but you’re now in your mid-to-late twenties. And any birthday after that is just one year closer to 30. Believe me — it’s scary.
But Forbes just released some stats and info on turning the inevitable 35 years old, something that the oldest members of the terribly named “Generation Y” are doing right now. You know, those “millennials” you hear so much about. The statistics, though, are actually encouraging if your life is currently in shambles and you’re unsure of how you’re going to afford happy hour on Friday.
1. Older millennials are employed.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, just 5% of 25-34 year olds are unemployed. Meanwhile, the median salary for Americans between 28 and 36 is $48,000, and 14% earn over $100,000. And our income is improving: Pew reports that weekly earnings for millennials ages 18-34 have increased since 2012.
The study also noted that 40% of millennials between the ages of 18-24 are still in college, so factoring them into unemployment statistics may be a little unfair. But, like, only 5% of 25 to 34-year olds are unemployed? Shit, that sounds pretty fuckin’ good to me. Correct me if I’m wrong, but getting a 95% on something pretty much means you’re acing it so suck one Generation X.
2. They’re managing their debt.
Older millennials are paying back student loans and other debt surprisingly quickly. Though millennials as a group are 2.4 times more likely than average to have outstanding student loans, older millennials are only 1.8 times more likely. According to Pew, Americans under 35 are paying off their student debt faster than any other generation.
In fact, adults under 35 cut their overall levels of debt by 29% from 2007 to 2010 (from $21,912 to $15,473), while older Americans reduced theirs by only 8% ($32,543 to $30,070).
What’s up, world? You come at the kings, you best not miss. I know it doesn’t feel like your $240-per-month payments are doing anything, but just stay current and lets show everyone what we’re made of. I mean, I just got my tax return money back and used it solely to pay off annoying debts that I otherwise didn’t want to allocate my disposable income for. Did it feel good? A little, despite the fact that I could use some new irons. But when I’m balling with minimal debt at the age of 35, you best believe I’ll have a pro bag that I’m toting on my personal cart.
3. They’re saving earlier and more.
A Wells Fargo survey revealed that eight in 10 millennials said “the recession convinced them they must save more now.” As a result, more than half regularly put away, according to TIME. Older Millennials have more saved in their 401(k) than any other generation. The U.S. Chamber Foundation found that millennials started saving for retirement an average of 13 years earlier than Baby Boomers. And, even though they’re further away from retirement, millennials continue to save more than Generation X.
Not so irresponsible sounding anymore now, are we? I may not know *exactly* how my 401(k) works, but I do know that my paycheck is a little lighter for it, which has to be a good thing, right?
4. They’re spending smarter.
Older millennials tend to spend their money on appreciable assets—like the stock market and real estate—not depreciating liabilities—like cars. In fact, only a third of millennials own a car. As consequence, only a third of under 35 year olds owed money on a car in 2011, compared with 44% in 2007.
Twenty percent of adult millennials named owning a home as one of their most important priorities in life, directly behind being a good parent and having a successful marriage.
Finally, while only 27% of younger millennials invest in stocks, nearly half of older millennials do. Older millennials are also 32% more likely than the rest of the nation to engage in online trading.
I don’t exactly feel like I’m “spending smart” when I wake up with two $40-ish receipts in my pocket from the bar the night before, but I do feel smart knowing that I took a $7 Lyft home instead of getting a DUI that’ll eventually cost me $10K when it’s all said and done. Sure, I might get to coach a pee-wee hockey team as a result of said DUI as well, but I’ll keep “spending smart” and maybe I can just eventually buy the Red Wings instead.
5. They are smarter.
Forty percent of today’s 30 year olds went to college, according to Pew Social Trends. Millennials as a whole have the highest high school completion rate in over two decades, with 72% graduating and 68% going on to college.
Yeah, we graduated from high school. NBD but KBD. But they also go one.
But older millennials aren’t just more educated. By some standards, they’re more intelligent. University of Otago psychology and political studies professor Jim Flynn famously found that U.S. IQ scores have steadily risen in the last century; the average person now has a higher IQ than 95% of the population had in 1900.
You hear that, all you 116-year-olds out there? We’re smarter than you by a long shot. But they didn’t stop there. Rather, they ended on a surprisingly inspiring high note.
If you’re not yet impressed with today’s 30-something millennials, consider that they had just entered the workforce during the 2008 recession. Millennials will compose three-quarters of working-age Americans by 2025 . The oldest among them, symbols of resilience, are prepared to lead us.
Sorry we weren’t all handed jobs like you were, Generation X. We’re just out here grinding and scraping for that inch. Now let me get back to spending $4 on an Americano at this artisanal coffee shop instead of voting. .
Image via Shutterstock