The cost of keeping us safe from COVID-19 will be paid by Millennials.

Now, as they build their families and assets and start cementing their careers, comes a second wave — one that threatens to rival the Great Depression, according to the International Monetary Fund.Even before this economy crippling pandemic, Millenials were at risk of becoming the first generation with worse quality of life than their parents.Yep, the generational wealth gap is very real.A Grattan Institute analysis found that older Australians spend more, have higher incomes and greater wealth than older Australians three decades ago. But for young Australians, it’s changed very little.And before the accusations about takeaway lattes, avocado toast and overseas holidays start flying around, it’s worth pointing out, this stagnating wealth is not because of Millenial spending habits. In fact, young Australians are spending less on non-essential items such as alcohol, clothing and personal care than young Australians were three decades ago. They are, however, spending more on necessities, such as housing.And little wonder.House prices have risen much faster than incomes over that time. Median prices have increased from around four times median incomes in the early 1990s to more than seven times today. The number of low-income households in rental stress (that is, those spending more than 30 per cent of their income on housing) has also increased.The past few years have thrown stagnated wages and rising underemployment into the mix as well.Now, all this.It’s not a matter of ‘woe is us’. (The costly measures, both on a personal and national level, will save the lives of thousands of Australians. And there is nothing more valuable than that.)Nor is it a frustrated sense of entitlement. Or lack of motivation or ingenuity. Or selfishness.It’s simply learned pessimism.The delayed federal budget is due to be delivered in October, and Prime Minister Scott Morrison says it will include a plan for dealing with COVID-19 debt. Millennials should be watching closely.Read more about COVID-19:To protect yourself and the community from COVID-19, remain in your home unless strictly necessary, keep at least 1.5 metres away from other people, regularly wash your hands and avoid touching your face.If you are sick and believe you have symptoms of COVID-19, call your GP ahead of time to book an appointment. Or call the national Coronavirus Health Information Line for advice on 1800 020 080. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 000.To keep up to date with the latest information, please visit the Department of Health website.Feature image: Getty.


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