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Graduates Today Earn Nearly $10,000 Less Than Their Parents, Accounting for Inflation

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Graduates Today Earn Nearly $10,000 Less Than Their Parents, Adjusted for Inflation

When Jacynthe Riviere graduated from college with an accounting degree in 1984, she experienced a job market with ample opportunities and well-paying positions. Starting as a staff auditor, Riviere earned around $18,000, equivalent to over $53,000 in today's dollars. Her income quickly increased to $24,000, a significant 33% jump. In contrast, recent data from Self Financial reveals that 2023 graduates earn an average of $23,278, or $68,342 in today's dollars, which is approximately $7,254 less than their counterparts in 1984.

The Decline in Graduate Salaries

Over the past four decades, graduate salaries have seen a decline of more than 10% after adjusting for inflation, according to the Self Financial report. This decline is concerning, particularly in light of the recent surge in inflation, which has further exacerbated the financial challenges faced by millennials and Gen Z. These younger generations not only contend with lower wages compared to their parents' earnings during their younger years but also carry larger student loan balances.

The Advantage of Technology

Despite these challenges, there are advantages for those just starting out. Technology plays a crucial role in empowering this generation to manage their finances effectively. With smartphones, individuals now have access to a wide range of free or low-cost apps for budgeting, saving, and investing. This technological advantage allows for better financial management and planning.
Building Good Financial Habits
Financial experts emphasize the importance of building good financial habits from the outset. Douglas Boneparth, a certified financial planner and founder of Bone Fide Wealth, highlights the significance of understanding income and expenses and building a cash reserve for emergencies. By mastering these fundamentals, individuals can set themselves up for long-term financial success. It is crucial to stick to a budget and establish an emergency fund to navigate economic ups and downs. Most financial professionals recommend having at least six months' worth of expenses set aside, with additional reserves for sole breadwinners or self-employed individuals. Successfully managing volatility and financial challenges requires discipline and careful planning. In conclusion, while today's graduates face financial challenges, they also have the advantage of technology to help them navigate their financial journey. By building good financial habits, utilizing budgeting apps, and establishing emergency funds, individuals can set themselves on a path towards financial stability and success.

Impact of Declining Graduate Salaries on New Business Formation

In a stark contrast to the past, today's graduates are earning significantly less than their parents, when adjusted for inflation. Jacynthe Riviere, who graduated in 1984, started her career with a salary equivalent to over $53,000 in today's dollars. However, recent data shows that 2023 graduates are earning an average of $23,278, or $68,342 in today's dollars, which is approximately $7,254 less than their counterparts in 1984.

Financial Challenges for Younger Generations

The decline in graduate salaries over the past four decades, coupled with the recent surge in inflation, has intensified the financial challenges faced by millennials and Gen Z. These younger generations are grappling with lower wages and larger student loan balances compared to their parents' generation.

Technological Advantages

Despite these financial hurdles, today's graduates have the advantage of technology. Smartphones and a plethora of free or low-cost apps for budgeting, saving, and investing provide a powerful tool for effective financial management and planning.
Importance of Financial Planning
Financial experts stress the importance of establishing good financial habits early on. Understanding income and expenses, and building a cash reserve for emergencies, are fundamental steps towards long-term financial success. For new businesses, these financial challenges and opportunities present a unique landscape. The financial struggles of younger generations may influence the types of products and services they demand, while their technological savvy opens up new avenues for businesses to engage with them. By understanding and addressing these financial trends, new businesses can position themselves for success in this evolving market.
Story First Published at: https://www.cnbc.com/2023/09/26/todays-graduates-make-less-than-their-parents-adjusted-for-inflation.html
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