The Great Recession of 2007 had a number of significant effects on Generation Y, but one of the least talked about was its effect on birth rates. Whether due to stress, financial issues or simply because it's tough to find a spouse when you live with your parents, 20- and 30-somethings just aren't making babies like they used to. In fact, according to a report released last month by the Centers for Disease Control, Millenials are currently bringing about historically low birth rates. 

In contrast, pet ownership is currently at an all-time high, so it seems Generation Y has chosen a lower cost option compared to parenthood. However, this shouldn't give us any financial security when planning for retirement. While dogs and cats may provide us companionship, one thing they won't do is contribute to Social Security.  And with birth rates as low as they are, there is a long-term threat to the solvency of the entire system.

Social Security has been called many things, but at its core, it's a welfare system – one in which the privileged (employees) provide assistance to the disadvantaged (retirees). At the outset of the program, this worked spectacularly well. 

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