Turning 30 Used to Be a Much Better Deal

Being a 30-year-old white American male used to be the best gig in the world. Through most of the post-World War II era, this demographic could generally expect to support a family on good income from a stable job. But in 2018, most of us aren't so lucky, and haven't been for a while.

Over the weekend, the news site Axios collected a number of statistics into an interactive graph to explore how very much the economy is working against young people, rather than for them. Some stats are particularly troubling, such as the milestones that are halved from their rate in the early 1970s (children who earn more than their parents at the same age) or the new problems that have doubled (number of families with student debt). Nearly three times as many 30-year-olds have never been married in 2017 as in 1985. The next time someone gets on your case about your life timeline, you can point to lots of evidence that you're far from alone.

Given these depressing numbers, it's easy to feel defeated before you even start. That isn't your only option, though. The economy may still be unequal and the job market may still be baffling, but you can start taking small steps to build wealth any time. (There's no way to start too small, in fact, with apps like Acorns automating the saving process for you.) Meanwhile, if you're angry about the state of the world, now is the perfect time to get involved with a cause you feel strongly about. Doing something is always better than nothing — and whether it's financial or otherwise, you have all kinds of chances to follow through.