Young People Own Nothing
Raised on the internet, in a world disrupted by climate change, younger generations are challenging the status quos of ownership, wealth-building, and investing.
June 10, 2021
America today looks nothing like it did generations ago, and that’s changed the way young people are thinking about the traditional concepts of ownership, wealth-building, and investing.
Climate change, growing student debt and living costs, racial barriers, and COVID-19 have made the future—social, political, and economic—even less secure for Millennials and Gen Z.
Young adults are beginning their careers on unstable footing. Millennials entered adulthood during the Great Recession, a period marked by higher education funding cuts, rising college costs, and slow wage growth. Now, the economic effects of the pandemic have robbed many of these same individuals and their younger peers of the chance to advance in their careers.
Back in the day, Baby Boomers paid thousands of dollars per year less for college than today’s students. Likewise, the cost of purchasing a house increased by over 50% since 1989. For Gen Z, whose oldest members are only 24 years old, student debt is only rising and may soon rival that of Millennials.
Young people are also far more diverse than older generations and thus more likely to experience structural racism. Today, the average white family has almost eight times as much wealth as the average Black family and more than five times as much as the typical Hispanic family.
After years of putting our heads in the sand over the issue of climate change, young adults are bearing the brunt of the environmental impacts while also working to solve the crisis. This could make Gen Z the most transient in history.
For much of Gen Z and the Millennial generations, owning a home in the suburbs—long seen as the “American Dream”—is unattainable. For many people, it’s just plain unappealing because of the environmental impact of sprawl.
Bottom line: young people pretty much own nothing and these economic, societal, and climatic trends are only making matters worse. Unless the post-COVID economic boom becomes more inclusive, there will continue to be less homeownership among young generations.
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Where Do Millennials and Gen Z Invest?
What little cash young people have accrued (and haven’t already put towards, say, paying off student debt) they are adamantly spending on experiences, rather than possessions. Whether because of their affinity for social media or their pessimism about the future, Millennials and Gen Z prefer to live it up while they can, despite being on a tighter budget.
This perspective also translates to how young people are investing. Recession experts have said that, after the COVID-19 pandemic, Gen Z will have a much harder time building wealth from investing in stocks and bonds than Boomers, or even Millennials. As a result, young people are increasingly drawn towards alternative means of building wealth. Entrepreneurship is one such route, which has been bolstered by social media’s focus on identity and community mentorship.
Real estate investing is another more promising path for wealth creation that many young people are interested in, but few have been given adequate access to the space.
Millennials and Gen Z have a strong desire to invest in their futures and find stability in an increasingly unstable world. Even stronger are their values, which heavily inform their investing decisions in a way that older generations didn’t experience. What if young people were given the opportunity to build wealth, invest in the places they love, and do so without compromising their values?
We believe this period of post-pandemic rebirth could be the perfect time for a complete rethinking of wealth and ownership.
That’s why we are introducing a new way to invest in ownership that empowers everyone, regardless of age or background, to own property. We are allowing people to own within their own community, and in others like it. We’re getting rid of the unnecessary fees that typically only older, wealthy “accredited investors" can afford, and we’re empowering the masses to experience ownership.
We believe the future is defined not only by the economy but also by what we care about. Together, we can create lively and diverse communities that take the concept of ownership beyond the status quo.
New forms of ownership are ready to emerge to meet the changing world.
In spite of the uncertainty of COVID-19 and other economic hardships young people are facing, we’ve made it our mission to provide a way to own that is accessible to everyone.
Join our waitlist to be involved in the future of real estate—a future that is more inclusive, exciting, and enriching. Join us as we turn everyone into an owner and profoundly change the way we interact with housing.