For our generation, retirement has become a fairy tale that most of our parents are still far from achieving. However, MintLife, the blog of the popular personal finance app Mint, is dead serious. Last week, they quietly posted an infographic, and one particular screenshot of it has been making the rounds on Tumblr. It details the personal finances of “typical” 30-year-old millennial called “Milli.” Milli makes $80k a year, saves $10,ooo of it, and somehow manages to have $100k in her investment account! Milli plans to retire at 65, and MintLife’s worry is that she may need to work two years longer make this apparently totally achievable dream a reality. According to MintLife, all she needs to do is rebalance her portfolio, putting more money into stock and less into… HAHAHAHA.
If your first reaction to this infographic was to scream “How the fuck is $80,000 the average salary of a 30-year-old!” before falling into a pile of unopened student debt collector’s letters and sobbing, we’re with you.
MintLife’s data was based on the users of Personal Capital, Mint’s partner site for investment management. Of course, the average 30-year-old who uses a techie site to manage their portfolio is incredibly unrepresentative of the vast majority of young people in America. In fact, the data from the 2010 US Census reported that the median income for people 30-34 was $39,000 and considering women make only 77% the money that men make, it’d be even less for our hypothetical Milli.
Note also that none of this info so far has even mentioned level of education: When only college grads are taken into account, the median income for both genders rises to $50,000 — still not separated by gender. Even if you are lucky enough to have a college degree, a job with a salary, a sweet deal on an apartment, few enough student loans to save any money and the occasional big score, it’s pretty doubtful that you’d have enough to invest more than a few thousand.