Income Updates for Various Demographics

Despite the economic setback and slow recovery in recent years, or perhaps because of them, it seems Americans may be on a trajectory for higher income — if not higher income, then perhaps greater satisfaction with the income that they earn. Here’s a recent round-up of studies about current demographic groups and their earning prospects.

Baby Boomers
In 2012, it was the baby boomers who created a larger percentage of new firms than any other demographic. Some of the reasons these more mature workers are taking the entrepreneurial leap include:

  • Income independence – to help protect themselves from layoffs or salary cuts during economic setbacks
  • Exploring additional income opportunities – to supplement retirement savings
  • Living longer and healthier – eager to explore new (or old) interests

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Entrepreneurship: A Timeless, Ageless Passion,” at, Dec. 9, 2013.]

[CLICK HERE to read the report, “Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity 1996-2012,” from The Kauffman Foundation, April 17, 2013.]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of U.S. women with six-figure incomes is rising at more than three times the rate of men who earn that much. Among developing nations, women’s earned income is increasing faster than men’s earned income (8.1 percent versus 5.8 percent). And within just 15 years, the Boston Consulting Group projects that women as a group will out-earn men. 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Women Power,” at Merrill Lynch Advisor, Fall/Winter 2013.]

Young Adults
As it turns out, the Millennials who graduated during the bleak years of the recession might not turn out so disadvantaged after all. According to research by an assistant professor of Goizueta Business School at Emory University, college graduates who entered the workforce during economic downturns are significantly more satisfied with their jobs throughout their careers. The analysis suggests that when early job experiences are subjected to adverse circumstances, people are more apt to be grateful just to have a job and less likely to ruminate on how they could do better. So in an interesting twist, the generation we previously criticized as “entitled” may end up being very productive — and very content — with whatever levels of accomplishment they achieve in life.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Research: Recession Grads May Wind Up Happier in the Long Run,” at The Harvard Business Review Blog Network, Dec. 5, 2013.]

After all, money doesn’t necessarily lead to happiness — although another study does indicate that riches can make you smarter. A recent Brookings study revealed that children from wealthy families scored higher on standardized tests. By their late teens, six out of every 10 children from upper-echelon families placed among the top third of test takers, indicating that the more money a family has, the more academic enrichment those children receive.

And, while academic achievements often translate into better paying jobs, wealth doesn’t always pave the way. According to the Brookings study, bright and driven poor children had a pretty good chance of moving up the status pole to the upper-middle class. The study further asserts that “there also seemed to be a ‘glass floor’ that kept a great many wealthy kids with ‘mediocre skills’ from sliding into (relative) poverty.”

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Would You Rather Be Born Smart or Rich?” at The Atlantic, Dec. 2, 2013.]

There are some good lessons to be learned from these research findings. Perhaps we should all be more mindful and grateful for what we have, while never letting a glass ceiling (or floor) stop us from reaching our potential. Whatever your income, or state of mind about it, we’re here to help you make the most of it.

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