For many, homeownership remains one of the most gratifying, exhilarating experiences one can achieve in adulthood. Part milestone, part Holy Grail – owning your own home is considered a gateway to growing wealth and stability for your future, your retirement and as a legacy for your loved ones.
For the millennial generation, the dream of homeownership is more than challenging. There are several reasons for this. Millennials are taking their time. They are extending their educational degrees. They are putting off marriage and children until they’ve had a chance to explore the world. They are a generation seemingly unbound by the constraints of time and expectations.
However, a recent article in the Wall Street Journal offered a more serious answer for the question of whether or not millennials will enjoy the fruits of homeownership – student debt. According to writers Josh Mitchell and Laura Kusisto, the Federal Reserve has linked rising student debt – a total that has reached a staggering $1.5 trillion – to a drop in homeownership among young Americans.
This is a challenge worthy of an inspired conversation, because for every challenge there are solutions. We just have to put our heads together on it, right? The first question to answer is why do we care? Well, aside from wanting the same chance at prosperity for our kids as we had at their age, most homeowners would agree that a robust home-buying market is good for everyone.
Since affordability is the issue, let’s consider our source. Millennials, on the whole, are generally better educated than previous generations and some are taking their big degrees and moving to the big city while others stay put. It’s time we recognize that monumental student debt that brought them their big degrees is also driving their approach to life. For many the idea of living at home with Mom and Dad is a better option – why go broke? They need choices that provide value and opportunity.
This could look like shared housing that innovates a new way of living. It could be outside-the-box lending options, or it could be educational seminars that generate creative savings plans with goals tailored to this younger generation of consumers.
Do you have a millennial camping out at your home? Resolutions can be found, it is simply a matter of creating opportunities to help this new generation find its way to financial growth and stability.