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20-somethings struggle to save

By David McMillin ·
Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Posted: 3 pm ET

Conventional wisdom says that your 20s are the greatest time of your life, but it looks like today's 20-somethings may not agree with that belief, due to their personal finances.

PNC Financial Services Group recently conducted a survey of more than 3,200 respondents ages 20-29, and the results show that young professionals are struggling to make money and save some of that money for their futures. Take a look at a few of the key findings.

  • Fifty-eight percent of respondents with some college education are behind where they expected in terms of financial success.
  • Forty percent still live with their parents or relatives.
  • Twenty-three percent indicate that their lack of financial security is a source of stress.

While respondents may not feel content with their current situations, the findings show that they're serious about getting their personal finances on track. About 60 percent of respondents who still feel financially dependent on someone else are determined to be independent soon.

"It is not a lack of ambition we are seeing in these data," Mekael Teshome, an economist for PNC Financial Services Group, says. "It is more about a lack of opportunity that has hindered many young adults' progress against their professional and financial objectives."

The combination of a competitive job market and overwhelming student loan debt are undoubtedly two key ingredients that are weighing on today's 20-somethings. However, regardless of how you feel about your job and your salary, there are steps toward improving the state of your savings account that can pay off down the road.

Here are three recommendations.

  1. Let your boss do the work for you. Ask your employer to automatically deposit a portion of your paycheck into a savings account at your bank.
  2. Make the most of free money. If your employer matches 401(k) contributions, make sure that you maximize your earning potential.
  3. Be on the lookout for personal budget-cutting opportunities. Even small adjustments such as taking your lunch to work or lowering your monthly cable bill can add up to make a big difference.

Are you a 20-something saver? How do you feel about your financial situation? Do you have any advice for other young professionals?

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