As the American population ages into retirement, younger generations may be the ones responsible for picking up the pieces. There’s only one problem: the younger generation is in no position to do so.
A recent study by the Urban Institute, published on March 15, 2013, found Americans from young adulthood up to about age 40 have accrued less wealth than their parents at the same age even as the average wealth has doubled over the last quarter-century.
So, what is to blame? The truth is, it’s not a single issue. A broad range of economic factors has conspired to suppress wealth-building for younger American workers. According to the study, they face a number of issues such as stagnant pay, declining median incomes, a housing collapse, and soaring student debt.
The cost of college tuition today is just one of those economic factors. “Rising tuition threatens to discourage all, but the well-off, from going to and finishing college, restraining future economic growth, and widening the gap between winners and losers in the U.S. economy,” wrote David Wessel, economics editor and columnist for The Wall Street Journal. “The College Board says over the past 20 years, the inflation-adjusted average published cost of …