May 27, 2014

As Student Loans Loom, Millennials Choose Experiences Over Ownership

The student debt crisis has been making an increasing number of headlines over the past few years, most recently in the Huffington Post, the New York Times and even here on Ziptopia. With over 50% of Zipcar members falling into the Millennial generation (ages 18-34), many Zipsters are on the front lines of this battle against the crush of student loans. If those monthly bills weren’t bad enough, the Pew Research Center’s recent study displays the ripple effect of student debt on the economic health of the next generation.

The study went on to reveal that households headed by a young, college-educated adult without student debt have about seven times the net worth ($64,700) of households headed by a young, college-educated adult with student debt ($8,700). That wealth gap has significant effect on future financial hardships these educated adults will face (and no, bypassing a latte this week doesn’t count as a hardship).

With elevated pressure from the influx of debt, it makes sense that many Millennials exhibit behaviors that shy away from piling up possessions and are instead embracing the sharing economy. Zipcar’s annual Millennials studies showed over 60% of those ages 18-34 prefer experiences to owned possessions. That and we all probably need a vacation after reading the results of the Pew study (who’s with me?).