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As a renter, you often get the message that you're "throwing money away" with each month's rent check. Luckily, some personal finance gurus don't see it this way (Ramit Sethi, a millennial himself, is one of them). But homeownership is still the gold standard for building wealth. Still, many millennials find themselves unable to take that step with nonlinear career paths, poor credit, and a lack of a safety net from inherited wealth.
Data from 2016-2019 revealed the net worth of white millennials had improved and nearly caught up with that of previous generations while Black millennials have fallen further behind. One factor contributing to the disparity is student loan debt for college-educated millennials; 80% of Black millennials have student loan debt compared to white millennials' 50%.
To incentivize first-time home-buying, the U.S. government is considering several measures as part of the budget bill amidst the hot housing market. To minimize further segregation in homeownership and thereby net worth, politicians are considering some restrictions on whether the tax credits would benefit all or just those who are first-generation buyers. There's already help from the homebuyer down payment assistance, so buyers can put down as little as 3% when buying a home.
There's also a slew of private companies seeking to support millennials in their home-buying journey, whether to repair credit, financially educate, or provide simplified mortgage solutions.
Chime is a neobank for building credit and reducing fees. No playing with fake money here–just a way to make on-time consistent payments and increase that credit score. The company saw an opportunity to serve the customer that is commonly getting squeezed for fees by traditional banks. It's paying off; the company value hit $25BN in August.
Better's website makes me feel like I can have a mortgage pre-approval in the time it takes me to eat my avocado toast. The company can help novices compete with all-cash offers, but Better's primary business is in refinances–for now. The company plans to go public via a SPAC merger with Aurora Acquisition at about a $7.7BN valuation.
UpEquity prominently displays positive reviews from millennials who've bought, sold, or refinanced using a cash offer feature. The start-up just raised $50MM from its Austin, Texas home base.
If all this feels too overwhelming, there's NerdWallet, the financial services content site devoted to helping confused millennials navigate credit card decisions, personal loans, and investing. The company filed for an IPO earlier this month.