For my Great Depression grandparents it was an increasing tab at the butcher, baker and candlesick maker. (Those were the days before the concept of the supermarket such as A&P developed)
For mine, it was the too-big mortgage we took on and found out we couldn't afford.
Well, the latest USA Today/Bank of America Better Money Habits poll shows that for Millennials it's debt. Here are the details in USA Today.
Millennials have made their priority to get rid of that debt. They are smart.
Debt follows us, whatever our generation, like a sack of rotting vegetables. We give off a bad odor. We can't get in the game to buy a house. Even when we go to lease, eyebrows raise. That car loan could cost more.
When Millennials pay off their debt they can rebrand themselves. Part of that will be presenting themselves to the world, including employers, as all-grown-up. The rebranding will open them to finally launch themselves. Until now they have been known as the failure-to-launch generation.