Millennials Confident They Can Make It Financially
Even though Millennials face serious economic obstacles, including student loan debt, unemployment and stagnant wages, they are the most confident generation when it comes to “making it” financially.
The TD Bank Financial Wellness Survey, which polled more than 1,100 Americans, also found that Millennials are the most competitive generation. In fact, 45% said it was important for them to reach financial milestones before their friends, compared to 10% of Baby Boomers and 29% of GenXers.
“Millennials have unfairly earned a reputation for being less financially responsible than previous generations,” said Andrea Johnson, Head of Financial Education, TD Bank. “While they may delay traditional milestones like marriage and children, they still aspire to achieve traditional hallmarks of the American dream, including owning a home, getting an education and being debt-free.”
The survey also found most Americans (61%) consider getting out of debt their most important financial milestone. Other important milestones include:
- Owning a home (54%)
- Saving enough for emergencies (52%)
- Investing (33%)
- Growing their career (30%)
- Putting kids through college (29%)
- Graduating from college/university (28%)
The respondents who had not reached their goals seemed to understand why. One-third said living “paycheck to paycheck” is holding them back, while 17% said credit card and student loan debt is stopping them from making it. Of the respondents who have debt, 68% said it is slowing their progress towards their financial goals. Millennials face the most debt, with 80% saying that it is an issue.
Most Americans want to take charge and improve their financial outlook. Two-thirds of the respondents have never attended a personal finance class, but 60% wish they had. Millennials and GenXers were most likely to take such a course (70% combined). Only about half of Baby Boomers said they would be interested.
To get advice, one-third of Boomers are working with financial advisors, 26% of Millennials use the Internet, and one-third of respondents said they do not rely on anyone.
As to giving others advice, “Don’t spend what you don’t have” was the most valued financial wisdom among all generations. Of respondents over 35, 27% said they would tell their younger selves to “start saving in your 20s.”
“Whether you are a Gen Zer opening your first savings account or a boomer getting your finances lined up for retirement, everyone benefits from a sound financial education,” said Johnson. “Consumers should continue to seek advice across a variety of sources, such as family, online resources and financial institutions to help them create a plan to reach their goals.”