When I head to vote this November, there will be a lot on my mind after the tumultuous election season we’ve seen this year. While there are a lot of issues I won’t touch with a ten-foot pole, I do think we need to get into some details on one that hasn’t gotten a lot of focused attention: your money.
Specifically, your millennial money. It’s easy for the candidates to gloss over concerns that are specific to young adults, or to cover things in a fragmented way, but don’t worry friends: I’ve got you covered. If you’re anything like me, you want to make sure you’re informed about exactly what each candidate has planned in terms of…
- Your student loans, or your tuition
- Your ability to buy a house someday
- Your future kids, and whether you’ll be able to handle them financially
- Your salary and your taxes
- Your job, or, if you don’t have one, what they’re going to do about that
Here’s a just-the-facts breakdown of each candidate’s position on those five issues - and what the likely impact will be for millennials like you and me.
Your Student Loans, or Your Tuition
If you’re new to the world of paying exorbitant tuition fees, you’ll be interested to know where the candidates stand on reducing tuition rates.
Clinton’s campaign has promised to eliminate in-state tuition fees for families who make less than $85,000 a year, and that salary number will move up to $125,000 per year by 2021. Trump said he would tie federal funding for schools to “good faith” efforts to lower tuition fees across the board, regardless of income levels.
If, on the other hand, you’re currently saddled with loans from paying your own way through school, don’t worry. The candidates aren’t blind, and they know we have a pretty significant student debt issue right now.
Clinton’s campaign is promising to allow people to refinance their student debt at the current interest rates available to new students (which are ridonkulously low) and to help more people get access to income-based repayment plans.
Trump was late to the student-loan-plan party, but his plan looks solid: specifically, he would cap student loan payments at 12.5% of your income, and forgive any government-issued debt after 15 years of payments.
Your Ability to Buy a House Someday
Even if you’re renting now, a lot of us dream of the day when we can buy our own place - whether your dreams are of a sleek downtown apartment or a single family home. The issue of housing affordability hasn’t been front and center during this debate, probably thanks to more pressing news about email scandals and gropings, but there have been some quiet moments where the candidates focused on their plans for the American housing market.
The Clinton campaign has focused on affordable housing, proposing an increase in affordable housing availability and working with lawmakers to ensure policies are put in place that favor affordable housing and rental developments. Meanwhile, the Trump campaign has promised to halt new regulations, in an effort to cut through the red tape that they cite as a reason for the lowest home-ownership rates since the 60s.
Your Future Kids, And Whether You’ll be Able to Handle Them Financially
It might seem like years and years away, but daycare costs have only been going up, and they’re higher than in-state college tuition (seriously). So what are the two candidates going to do about it? The Clinton campaign has promised to expand child-care programs for low-income families, while the Trump campaign is focused on changing the tax code to give parents a break by making child care costs tax-deductible.
Oh, and in the same vein, here’s how each candidate will address the sad state of maternity leave nationwide: Clinton’s campaign is promising to fund 12 weeks of paid parental leave at two-thirds of a person’s current salary, while Trump has pledged to implement 6 paid weeks of leave for new mothers by expanding unemployment insurance.
Your Salary and Your Taxes
Let’s talk real-world stuff here, without getting in too deep on what the economists forecast or assume about each candidate’s plans for taxes and salaries.
The Trump campaign wants to offer almost everyone a tax cut by reducing the federal tax brackets from 7 to 3, with people making under $75,000 paying 12%, people making between $75,000 and $225,000 paying 25%, and setting the top bracket at 33% for people making over $225,000. That’s a tax cut from the current 39.6% rate on top income earners. On the other hand, the Clinton campaign wants to keep most of the tax system the same, but bump up taxes on the highest 20% of earners. (As a student or recent grad, that’s probably not you.)
While we can quibble all day about the implications of taxes on job creation, one thing that will have a direct impact on your money if you work in retail or food service is where the candidates stand on minimum wage. The Clinton campaign wants to raise the federal minimum to $12 an hour, while the Trump campaign seems to favor a $10 minimum wage while letting each state set a higher one if they decide to do so.
Your Job - Or if You Don’t Have One, What They’re Going to Do About That
Both candidates want people working, because that’s really the core of the economy (and ahem, how they make money on taxes). Here’s how they plan on tackling the labor market, which might have a direct impact on your career even if you currently have a job.
Clinton’s campaign is touting a 100-Days Job Plan, which focuses on investments in infrastructure, research and development and clean energy, and on enforcing trade agreements to protect and create well-paying American jobs. Trump, on the other hand, has promised to reduce taxes on businesses, renegotiate stronger trade deals and review regulations that may be inhibiting job creation.
Their plans both tout millions of new jobs created as a direct result of their proposed policies, but the experts have been divided - unsurprisingly - on how effective each plan will be. On the bright side, both candidates are taking creating good American jobs seriously.
Now All That’s Left is To Vote
Armed with this information about how each candidate might impact your millennial finances, as well as information about the other issues that matter to you, it’s time to hit the polls. I’ll see you there on November 8th!