BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - More people are taking on debt during the pandemic, according to UAB researcher Dr. Pete Jones.
In particular, one age group is losing their jobs more often, forcing them to make tough decisions.
Those born between 1980 and 2000 are so far the hardest hit by job losses this year.
Younger millennials have the least tenure and are more likely to be the first let go from their jobs, according to Dr. Jones.
He points out that a large group of millennials graduated into the Great Recession of the early 2000s, giving them challenging job prospects and savings opportunities as they began their careers.
Now, with millennials more likely to rent their housing than own it, they’re faced with eviction on top of job loss. He offers advice to those in a stable spot now.
“There are a couple different things I can recommend, obviously interest rates are very low, so if you can, restructure your debt. If you can lower your rates or make lower payments, that’s one option,” said Dr. Jones.
He also recommends saving where you can and making it a habit now.
Jones has recommendations for millennials who are trying to regroup:
- Restructure your debt if you can to take advantage of lower interest rates
- Work on paying down debt and building up savings
- Vote and pay attention to what is happening at the local and state levels of government
While more than half of Americans are invested in the stock market, most of these individuals are invested via a retirement plan, so while they are reaping some benefits from the rising stock market, their gains are much lower than those in the top income and wealth decile.
“It is also a great time to buy and sell,” Jones said. “While interest rates are low and it is a great time to get a mortgage, many millennials are too hampered by student debt or high rent to be able to save a substantial amount for a down payment. For those who were not in a good place financially prior to this recession, this is not a great time. Many millennials fall into this category.”