Millennials: Heading Toward a Generational Showdown?

Blog Post
Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Andrew York, a Millennial financial planner in New Hampshire, fears the country is heading for “a big family fight” over federal budget priorities.

“You’re going to have the parents fighting the kids over who’s paying for what,” he predicts.

On last week’s episode of “Facing the Future”, I was joined by York and Alexandria Sosnowski,  who are both members of The Concord Coalition’s New Hampshire Advisory Board. Sosnowski, also a Millennial, is an attorney.

We discussed Millennial perspectives on key government programs like Social Security and Medicare and the extent to which the federal budget invests -- or fails to invest -- in future generations.

York and Sosnowski agreed that most Millenials are not expecting Social Security to benefit their generation to the same extent it benefits Baby Boomers.

“Personally speaking, I have a bundle of student debt that will be weighing me down for some time, which will inevitably reduce my amount of potential retirement planning and savings,” Sosnowski said.

“As Baby Boomers delay retirement more and more. . .you will see our generation not moving up as quickly in jobs and wages, and there will be a delay in that sense as well,” she said.

As a financial adviser, York encourages young professionals to plan for retirement without substantially relying on Social Security benefits.

He and Sosnowski view topics like Social Security and Medicare as particularly “wonky” and complicated but important to understand, with a large impact on current and future generations.

Both Sosnowski and York think Congress needs some prodding to engage in necessary reforms.

“Nobody wants to take the political capital to make such an argument, foot the bill and and really push for it,” Sosnowski said.

She added that “maybe some politicians don’t think they will be around in 15 years when this is really a crisis.”

“To use a popular term,” York said, “it’s got to go ‘viral’ somehow, and it’s got to be top of mind, because if something is a big deal, then the politicians talk about it.”

Robert L. Bixby, executive director of The Concord Coalition, joined the show to discuss a recent report from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) criticizing U.S. fiscal and economic policies.

The IMF report had a theme similar to those from the Federal Reserve and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

Bixby said the IMF projects that the immediate economic outlook for the United States is good, with nearly 3 percent growth this year and strong growth in 2019 as well. But beyond the next few years, economic growth would slow considerably.  

“The one outlier is the OMB, the President's Office of Management and Budget,” Bixby said.

He -- like the IMF, the Fed and CBO -- disagrees with the administration’s projection of continuous, robust economic growth generated by recent tax cuts.

“If you look at it like a shot of adrenaline. . .when the adrenaline wears off, things aren’t going to look that good and it may have a hangover affect,” Bixby said. “It may actually look worse.”

I host “Facing the Future” each week on WKXL Concord News Radio (N.H.), which is also available via podcast. Join us as we discuss issues relating to national fiscal policy with budget experts, industry leaders, elected officials and candidates for public office. Past broadcasts are available here. You can now subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google Play or through RSS.