The online course platform Teachable conducted a survey by questioning 3,300 18-to-24 years olds in Virginia to determine the highest salary they expected to earn in their lifetime: The result was $77,438. The survey also determined that the average young Virginian believes he/she will achieve his peak salary when he is 30 years old.
In light of the record levels of debt, high inflation and the trend of tech giants shedding tens of thousands of jobs, it isn’t surprising that young people in America today have a somewhat pessimistic view of their financial futures. Despite the bleak financial climate, however, young people’s long-term optimism has not been blunted.
That optimism is reinforced by Virginians’ hopes for a salary of $77,438 when the national average in the United States today is $65,206.
The survey results reveal that young people today in Virginia expect that, on average, they will earn a maximum income of $77,438 per year in their lifetime (compared to a national average of $65,206). Bearing in mind that the average salary in the US is $42,589, that’s a sizable 53% more than the average (or $22,617).
Over half (52%) of the young people surveyed in Virginia said they have a side hustle to help boost earnings outside of their current employment. This is in line with other reports of a rise in young people taking on side gigs, particularly since the start of the pandemic. And the potential for extra earnings is ample—from driving for a rideshare company, delivering groceries, dog walking, or even turning knowledge and skills into an online course on a platform like Teachable.
According to Teachable’s survey, 42% of Virginia’s young people feel they need to leave small towns and move to a large city to earn the highest salary possible.
And it appears that many young people feel they will not be able to fulfill their potential in small towns—in fact, according to Teachable’s survey, 48% of them think they would need to move to a large city to earn the highest salary possible.
It appears inflation (and its eroding effects on purchasing power) is a significant factor when young people consider their financial futures. Only about 1 in 3 (38%) of those Virginia young people surveyed feel they will be able to achieve the same levels of financial security as their parents did in their lifetimes.
Finally, two-thirds of 18 to 24 year olds surveyed in Virginia said they would settle for a job that wasn’t a preferred career path just for a higher salary.
“Young people are, no doubt, navigating challenging economic conditions right now,” said Vera Hanson at Teachable. “But the survey’s overall finding of long-term optimism among 18 to 24 year olds rings true to other trends we’ve witnessed in the last few months, particularly a continued rise in the number of new U.S. business applications.
“Whether testing the waters with a side gig or diving headfirst into full-time entrepreneurship, launching an online course can be one of the best ways to build an enduring business online today,” Hanson said. “We believe that’s because the pursuit of knowledge—of all kinds—is not going anywhere. And the demand for more affordable and engaging ways to access that knowledge is only going to skyrocket.”