According to a report released today by the Urban Institute, a Washington D.C. independent research center, Americans under 40-years-old have amassed less wealth than their parents when they were the same age. The report found that the average wealth of those in their 20s and 30s is 7 percent below the same age groups 30 years ago. 

Researchers suggest that greater financial instability among Americans aged 40 and younger could create lasting damage and permanently inhibit wealth as this group ages, having a destabilizing effect on the economy as a whole. Additionally, while earning less than their parents, younger Americans are facing higher future tax bills, and greater reliance on public retirement resources already on the decline.

Most significant? Meager savings among current under 40s could eventually squeeze entrepreneurship from both ends, discouraging potential founders and investors.

“If these generations cannot accumulate wealth, they will be less able to support themselves when they eventually retire,” states the report, Lost Generations? Wealth Building among Young Americans. “This financial uncertainty could reverberate throughout the economy, since entrepreneurial activity, saving, and investment tend to build on a base of confidence and growing wealth.”

Without personal savings as a viable funding option and with small business loans becoming increasingly difficult to obtain, those hoping to found companies may have to be more creative, seeking angel investors, exploring peer-to-peer lending, or considering leasing or financing start-up equipment essentials.