By CHET EICHENBRENNER
If 2012 is forecasted correctly by economists and statisticians, economic apocalypse is on the way and our generation is not helping the case. The statistical risks of our generation and our current economy are on a collision course. Essentially, we are inheriting a terrible economy and generational trends do not seem capable of handling this overwhelming economic mess. We must change our economic behavior or else this might become an unsolvable problem.
The U.S. unemployment rate, with inflation, hit a 28-year high and is forecasted to increase. On average, a member of our generation changes jobs over 20 times and the expected longevity of a job is less than two years. This means employers are less prone to hire our generation and more prone to pay us less money than previous generations.
Our generation is the largest since the baby boom, hosting 20 percent of the world’s population. This result jointly affects the unemployment rate and the rate of consumption. With less money and less job opportunities, our generation is spending and investing less in the market.
Our generation truly utilizes its technological edge. Because of laptops and easy accessibility to the stock market, we can manage our investments like never before. Unfortunately, this management results in a short-term stock cycle and less long-term mutual investment.
The stay-at-home attitude reflects the modern culture. Entertainment prices are increasing to meet their goals. The media marketed for our generation includes movies and concerts. Accordingly, to go out to entertainment the price is more expensive than to stay at home.
Job shifts, technological dependence and a stay-at-home disposition bring our generation into the critique of the economy. However, the greatest factor for our generation increasing economic risk is personal debt.
The freedom to spend and the responsibility of paying off debt correlate our generation as the least active in the economy. We buy what we cannot pay for.
Since our generation started circa 1980, the turn of the century marked a balance of residual debt. Twelve years later in economic recession, the personal debt statistics are staggering.
Approximately 70 percent of us do not keep a cash cushion in the bank account. In 2010 to 2011, 35 percent of hospital visits were not insured. Only 58 percent pay monthly bills on time. The average student debt is $23,200, which is a 24 percent increase from 2004. Not to mention that 20 percent of credit card owners have a debt over $10,000.
To prevent further recession, our generation needs to reflect on its assets. Our fiscal responsibility is only going to perpetuate our languish economy.