In the News

The problem, according to all three books, is that for today's young adults, those lean early years -- the Top Ramen phase -- may never give way to the stability and prosperity enjoyed by their boomer parents. A number of factors are blamed, chief among them student loans, credit cards, wage stagnation, the rising costs of health care and home ownership, the disappearance of pensions and the likely collapse of Social Security under the weight of all those retiring boomers.

|

But the sad truth is that an economic boom based on capital appreciation discriminates against the young, who have not had a chance to build up any investments.

|

Two books released in early 2006 are finally attracting mainstream attention to the economic plight of 20- and 30-somethings.

|
The Northern Light

Though their debt levels lag the junior set's, the amount of money the elderly borrow is creeping upwards.

|

Drawing on the best and latest research, Inequality Matters explores the story the numbers tell about how America has changed; dimensions of inequality (education, health, and opportunity); causes of inequality - looking past the usual suspects of technology, trade, and immigration; the persistence of racial disparities; the erosion of democracy and community; and inequality as a moral and religious problem.

|

His main point is that there now exists a global "party of Davos" (Davos being the Swiss ski resort where politicians, businesspeople, journalists, and scholars gather every January for the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum), whose members have more in common with each other than with the peoples of their home countries.

|

Tamara Draut, author of "Strapped: Why America's 20-and 30-Somethings Can't Get Ahead," spoke to TIP SHEET's Linda Stern about how the young can save.

|

The fact that it is not only the super-rich, but the very comfortable who are spending such large sums on gifts and parties is understandable, said Robert H. Frank, author of several books including Luxury Fever: Why Money Fails to Satisfy in an Era of Excess. "When everyone else is spending more, in order for you to achieve a standard, the bar is ratcheted up. People just below the top are close enough that they're influenced."

|
Philadelphia Inquirer

According to a riveting study by a pair of national not-for-profit, nonpartisan organizations, about one-third of all U.S. households categorized as low-income or middle-income are racking up credit card debt to pay for basic living expenses.

|

In stark contrast to their parents' generation, for whom comparing incomes can be awkward, if not downright taboo, bloggers list financial information down to the dollar in retirement, brokerage, and savings accounts. They recommend investments, decry credit-card debt, and wallow together over high taxes, commenting on one another's postings and leaving behind a road map for financial voyeurs.

|