LAWRENCE — Researchers at the St. Louis Federal Reserve issued a report this week suggesting that millennials might be better off postponing home ownership by 10 years or more. The advice is counter to traditional wisdom that buying a home is a sound financial move for young people to build financial well-being. Terri Friedline, assistant professor of social welfare, is available to speak with media about the report, financial health for millennials, the importance of building assets through saving and related topics.
The Fed’s report suggests that young adults might be better served by building an asset mix with less debt and real estate relative to their other debts, a recommendation that comes at a time when the housing market is beginning to rebound.
“Millennials are making many tough financial decisions and tradeoffs,” Friedline said. “Should they save for emergencies or pay down their debts? Should they take out loans to fund their college education or pay for daily expenses with credit, even though repaying these debts may mean postponing home ownership or retirement savings? We need to prepare millennials for navigating these financial decisions while at the same time making sure that our policies create supportive economic conditions so their financial tradeoffs don’t inhibit their asset building.”
Friedline recently published research showing that millennials who did not receive both financial education and the experience of making financial decisions for themselves fared more poorly than their peers who did. The study showed that nearly one-third of millennials were “financially excluded,” meaning they did not have either financial education or real-life experience using financial products. Only 19 percent of millennials were “financially capable,” meaning they had both financial education and experience. A faculty director in the Center on Assets, Education and Inclusion in the School of Social Welfare and research fellow at New America, Friedline has conducted extensive research in economic well-being, especially for young people growing up in poverty or who may be at a competitive disadvantage in the American economy.
To schedule an interview, contact Mike Krings at 785-864-8860 or by email.