Federal Finance Report: Canadians Millennials Are the Wealthiest They’ve Ever Been

Millennials may have a reputation for unpaid internships, low salaries, and failing to fly the nest – but if a new internal government study is to be believed, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

CBC reports that a study by Finance Canada based on five wealth surveys carried out from 1977 and 2012 found that Canadians between 28 and 34 years old are better off than any previous generation.

Inferiority complex be gone. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, mom and dad!

(Wait, I didn’t mean it – please, can I still borrow the car?)

But how can this be? Who are all these affluent YPs, and what about the baby boomers before us?

Well, true, on average we’re wealthier than previous generations – but there’s a bit of a disclaimer (we’ll get to that later).

The research says that Canadians born in the first half of the 1980s have an average net worth of $93,000 per adult, compared to $60,000 per adult in previous generations. Adjusted for inflation that’s 35 per cent less than we millennials.

Plus, all that advice from our parents to save away for a rainy day must be working. According to the study, Canada’s younger generations are saving as much, or more, than their parents did (maybe we should return the favour by buying them a piggy bank?)

It’s important to note that Canadians, unlike some of their friends and neighbours in the United States, Britain and Australia, are doing really well compared to their folks. They’re faring much better than their equivalents in those countries where “younger generations are no longer successively wealthier.”

Perhaps this can in part be explained by another interesting finding from the study. According to the report, unlike past economic downturns, the 2008 recession had very little bearing on the earning potential of today’s generation of young middle-income Canadians. Unlike countries such as U.S and U.K., who were hit hard by the economic slump, Canadians seem to have been fairly unscathed and income levels were actually higher for young people than for those in the 2000s.

However – and here’s the but – critics have pointed out that despite the findings showing greater wealth among all youth, a growing wealth inequality between the already rich and the rest may be skewing the results. So although the top ten per cent may be driving this trend, it doesn’t mean the struggle isn’t real for the rest of us.

Also, since we’re going to continue to live longer, we’re going to need even more savings for retirement than our parents did.

So maybe save the victory lap around your parents’ living room for another time.