Wealth gap growing between American generations, new study shows - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Wealth gap growing between American generations, new study shows

Dr. Harold Doty, UT Tyler's Dean of the School of Business and Technology. Dr. Harold Doty, UT Tyler's Dean of the School of Business and Technology.

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - A new study shows that the wealth gap between older and younger Americans is on the rise.

The Pew Research Center released a study last week that says Americans 65 and older are, on average, 47 times wealthier than Americans 35 and younger.

That's more than double what the wealth gap was in 2005, before the recession started.

When asked what he thought about the study, UT Tyler fifth year student Joshua Grijalva laughed as he answered.

"There's hope. Like, the older you get, it's understandable you're going to have more money, because at this point in time, we're spending money trying to get an education, and racking up a lot of student loans, debt, and stuff like that," he says.

Grijalva has nearly $20,000 in student loan debt so far, but he isn't that worried about it. He expects to have to take out many more loans to get his Ph.D. in literature.

Dr. Harold Doty, UT Tyler's Dean of the College of Business and Technology, says the recession hit younger Americans much harder, especially because of the housing crisis. But that's not the debt that worries him the most.

"The scary ones are credit card debt and student loan debt. And I think people under 35 are simply taking on more debt like that than they should," Dr. Doty says.

That debt is a big deal to UT Tyler freshman Hannah Middleton, who is working now so she can transfer to a larger university in two years and won't have to take out student loans.

"It's not necessarily about the money, it's just that I don't want to have to ... I just want to be wise about how I'm spending my money, like actually thinking through things," Middleton says.

Tylerite Pike Wisner agrees, saying older Americans thought about money a little differently than we do today.

"Whether or not I should have a better job than I have, I will work, I will work hard, I will work my way up," Wisner says of the work ethic he sees and saw in older Americans.

 

Dr. Doty says he does have hope that as the economy continues to recover, younger Americans will have an easier time of things.

He offers two pieces of advice. First of all, invest in a retirement account as soon as you have the opportunity to do so.

And secondly, spend less than you make.

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