Your Lifetime Earnings are Probably Determined in Your 20s

A new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York sends a more sobering message to millennials: Your first 10 years in the labor market likely shape your lifetime earning potential.

“Across the board, the bulk of earnings growth happens during the first decade,” wrote economists Fatih Guvenen, Fatih Karahan, Serdar Ozkan and Jae Song, who studied the career paths of about 5 million workers over nearly 40 years.

The jump in pay could be largely driven by the steep learning curves early in your career, said Guvenen, an economics professor at the University of Minnesota.


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