Maybe you imagine most members of the millennial generation are troubled by student loan debt. But that’s not the full story. According to Bankrate’s Financial Security Index survey for March, millennials generally feel more comfortable with their finances than other adults.
“Their hesitancy toward debt, tendency to save, and the savings starting from a smaller base — all help to reveal consistent signs of improvement toward a greater level of financial security,” Bankrate’s Chief Financial Analyst Greg McBride, CFA, says.
Bankrate asked personal finance bloggers in their 20s and 30s about their own financial situations. Check out what they say.
About half of millennials work full time, and nearly a quarter work part time — a showing in the job market that beats every other age group.*
“I ran The Penny Hoarder as a single-person operation for a number of years. The Penny Hoarder has grown from just me to 20 employees in the past 9 months, and we’re expecting to hire another 20 by the end of the year. We work out of our newly built office space in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida.”
*49% of Americans age 18-29 say they’re employed full time and 23% say they’re employed part time, for a total of 72% who have jobs. That compares with 71% of Americans age 30-49, 57% of those 50-64, and 12% of respondents 65 or older. Source: March 2016 Bankrate Financial Security Index survey.
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Photo courtesy of Jim Wang
Most millennials are saving
When it comes to how much they’re saving, millennials are holding their own against Americans who are older. Only 14% of 18- to-29-year-olds say they’re saving “none” of their income, the lowest percentage among all age groups in the survey.*
“We save by making regular contributions to retirement accounts and toward any savings goals we have, like contributions to a 529 account, but we don’t set a target as a percentage of income. I find that the best way for us to save is to set goals, save first, and then let the balance go to our budget for other expenses.”
–Jim Wang, founder of WalletHacks, formerly of Bankrate’s Bargaineering blog, @wallethacks
*23% of Americans age 30-49 say they’re saving none of their income, while 18% of 50-64-year-olds and 32% of those 65 and older say that. Source: March 2016 Bankrate Financial Security Index survey.
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Photo courtesy of Stefanie O’Connell
Millennials feel good about what they save
More than any other age group, millennials say they feel more satisfied with the amount of money they have in savings than they did a year ago.*
“I currently save about 20% of my income, but I’d like to get it closer to 50% by the end of the year. I’m turning 30 in August, so the reality of the timeline for some of my nearer-term goals, like buying a home for instance, is starting to set in. Aggressive goals mean aggressive savings targets.”
— Stefanie O’Connell, 29, Gen Y advocate and author of “The Broke and Beautiful Life”, @stefanieoconnel
*30% of Americans age 18-29 say they feel more comfortable with their savings than they did 12 months ago, compared with 19% of older adults. Source: March 2016 Bankrate Financial Security Index survey.
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Millennials have their debt under control
Young adults are more comfortable with the level of debt they’re carrying compared with Americans who are older.*
“I only have a mortgage and have been paying that down on schedule, so it’s predictably where it should be in terms of the balance.”
*31% of Americans age 18-29 say they feel more comfortable with their debt than they did a year ago. That compares with 22% of those in older age groups. Source: March 2016 Bankrate Financial Security Index survey.
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Photo courtesy of Stefanie O’Connell
Millennials say things are getting better
Compared with other adults, millennials are more likely to say their overall financial situation is better today than it was last year at this time.*
“I feel far more confident about my finances today than I did a year ago, largely because my earnings have grown exponentially over that 12-month time frame. Spending 2015 focused on improving the income side of my financial life has paid off with increased flexibility and freedom, the value of which I cannot overstate.”
*43% of Americans age 18-29 say their overall financial situation is better today, compared with 30% of those 30-49, 21% of 50- to 64-year-olds, and 9% of Americans 65 or older. Source: March 2016 Bankrate Financial Security Index survey.