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The wealth gap among millennials is widening, creating a stark contrast between the rich elite and the rest of their age group. Recent studies have shown that the disparity between affluent millennials and their struggling counterparts is the largest of any generation. While the majority of millennials face challenges such as student debt, low-wage jobs, unaffordable housing, and minimal savings, the top 10% of millennials are surpassing the wealth accumulation of previous generations.

Millennials, defined as those aged between 28 and 43 today, have encountered numerous financial obstacles. Many came of age during the financial crisis, resulting in lower rates of homeownership, high levels of debt, unstable employment, and delayed family formation. The financial rewards for skilled jobs have significantly increased for the top 10% of millennials, while those in low-status occupations have experienced stagnant or declining incomes.

One key factor contributing to the wealth gap among millennials is the impending “great wealth transfer” from baby boomers to their millennial offspring. It is estimated that between $70 trillion and $90 trillion will be passed down over the next two decades, with a significant portion going to millennials. High-net-worth individuals with assets of $5 million or more are expected to be the primary beneficiaries of this transfer. Wealth management firms have already begun to witness the distribution of these assets to the younger generation.

The increasing disparity in wealth distribution among millennials is likely to lead to heightened tensions within the generation. Social media displays of affluence by the offspring of the wealthy, known as “nepo babies,” could exacerbate class divisions and compel less affluent millennials to overspend to maintain appearances. Surveys have shown that a significant percentage of affluent millennials admit to purchasing items they cannot afford to impress others, often relying on credit cards or loans to fund their lifestyles.

Traditionally, self-made millionaires and billionaires have dominated the American wealth landscape. However, there is a growing trend of inherited wealth among the younger generation. Recent studies have shown that heirs who inherit their fortunes are accumulating more wealth than self-made individuals. This shift in wealth acquisition could impact the attitudes of millennials towards money and success, as well as reshape the nature of wealth creation in the coming years.

The surge in inherited wealth among millennials has created a lucrative market for various industries, including wealth management firms, luxury companies, travel agencies, and real estate brokers. Professionals like Clayton Orrigo, a luxury real estate broker in Manhattan, have capitalized on the influx of moneyed millennials seeking to invest their inherited wealth. Orrigo’s clientele primarily consists of young buyers accessing family trusts to purchase multimillion-dollar properties, highlighting the extreme wealth behind these individuals.

The widening wealth gap among millennials has ushered in a new era of class tension and resentment within the generation. The rise of inherited wealth, coupled with the financial challenges faced by the majority, has created significant disparities in wealth accumulation and lifestyle choices. As millennials navigate this landscape of inequality, it is crucial to address the root causes of these disparities and work towards a more equitable distribution of resources and opportunities for all individuals within the generation.

Wealth

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