Jan 23, 2018

Millennials believe their own financial stereotypes. They're wrong.

People line up at ATM machines

The majority of millennials regularly set savings goals. Photo: Education Images / UIG via Getty Images

Millennials are exercising good money habits as diligently as the generations of the past by almost every metric, per a new Bank of America report.

The big picture: Despite doomsday forecasts for millennials' financial future, members of America's largest generation — defined as those ages 23 to 37 in 2017 for the purposes of this report — are saving and budgeting at the same, or higher, rates as their parents and grandparents.

Savings and budgets

  • 59% of millennials feel financially secure, as opposed to 54% of Generation X and 63% of baby boomers.
  • 63% save money, compared to 64% of Gen-Xers and 75% of baby boomers. And 47% have $15,000 or more saved.
  • 54% are budgeting, compared to 54% of Gen-Xers and 57% of baby boomers. And 73% consistently stick to a monthly budget.
  • 57% have a savings goal, a rate much higher than the 42% of Gen-Xers and baby boomers who have such goals.
  • Their top savings priorities are emergency funds (64%), retirement (49%) and to buy a house (33%).

Financial stressors

  • Millennials believe negative stereotypes about their generation's ability to save money and plan for the future.
    • 73% say their generation "overspends on unnecessary indulgences."
    • 75% say they "overspend compared to other generations."
    • 64% say their generation "is not good at managing money," despite maintaining the same rates of saving and budgeting as older Americans.
  • 35% are worried they're not saving enough.
  • 21% fear they'll be ill-prepared for retirement.
  • 20% are concerned about being able to afford a house.
  • 17% are burdened by student loans.

Future of work

  • Millennials are more likely to ask for raises than their parents or grandparents, 80% of those who ask for raises get them.
  • 46% asked for a raise in the last two years, compared to 36% of Gen-Xers and 39% of baby boomers who did the same.
  • 26% say they are part of the gig economy, and that ticks up to 34% when considering just younger millennials.
  • 23% expect to work eight or more jobs throughout the course of their careers.

Methodology: Bank of America surveyed 1,500 respondents, ages 18 to 71, in English and Spanish.

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