6 Ways Millennials Manage Money Better Than Their Parents

Millennials get a bad rap. On the bright side, it might be pushing them to excel.

By, Money Talks News

Every business wants to know what makes millennials tick, whether they're spending on avocado toast or saving for a down payment on a home. Sometimes that research is cherry-picked to paint an ugly picture of millennials as "entitled" and "incompetent."

But it also suggests that, in many ways, the folks who came of age during the Great Recession have learned to do more with less — and might be more financially responsible than their parents were a generation ago. Here are six things millennials can be proud of.

Millennials save money more often

Millennials are "just as good, or better, than other generations when it comes to managing money." So says Bank of America's 2018 Better Money Habits Millennial Report.

They’re more likely to set savings goals, and more than two-thirds meet them every month. More than that say they successfully stick to a budget every month.

That's paid off: The number of millennials who said they had $15,000 or more in savings increased from 33 percent in 2015 to 47 percent this year.

They are also ramping up their savings more than other generations. A survey from Discover earlier this year found "35 percent of millennials say they saved more in 2017 than the prior year," compared to 25 percent of Gen X and 22 percent of baby boomers.

That doesn't necessarily mean they're saving more money than other generations, but at least they're on the right track.

Millennials are more likely to ask for a raise

The Bank of America report also found 46 percent of millennials had asked for a raise in the previous two years — and 80 percent of those people reported getting one.

In contrast, only 39 percent of baby boomers and 36 percent of Gen X said they had asked for a raise. This isn't entitlement so much as a clear view they need to catch up with today's costs.

A May 2018 Student Loan Hero study found entry-level millennials pay an average rent of $1,358 compared to the $850 (in today's dollars) Gen X paid at the same phase of their careers.

Millennials buying homes today will pay 39 percent more than baby boomers who were in the same position in the 80s. 

Millennials set goals more often

In addition to saving goals, millennials also are better at setting goals specifically for retirement.

That led the J.D. Power (in its 2018 Group Retirement Plan Satisfaction Study) to call millennials the generation "best prepared for retirement."

It found more than half of millennials contributing to retirement plans have set specific goals, compared to 44 percent of Gen X and baby boomer participants.

Two-thirds of those millennials have saved at least $25,000. And more than a quarter already have over $100,000. That means millennials, with decades left to save, are on a better track than baby boomers: "The average boomer will hit age 65 with just 3.4 years of current income saved, far short of the 10 years some experts recommend."

Millennials talk more openly and often about money

Maybe it's because older generations have it all figured out already. Or maybe millennials have seen their parents' taboo treatment of money not work. Whatever the reason, millennials aren’t shy about money talk.

A 2017 study from investment group Principal Funds found "millennials are having these discussions with greater frequency than both baby boomers and Gen Xers. In fact, they’re twice as likely to talk with family about money and finances on a weekly basis."

They're also more likely than other generations to choose a financial adviser based on personal recommendation.

Millennials plan for families better

Here's one last thing from the Bank of America 2018 Better Money Habits Millennial Report: "Older generations say finances weren’t really a factor in their decision to have kids; millennial parents say the opposite. And, nearly a quarter of older millennials are already saving for their children’s education – a feat given that so many may still be paying off their own student loans."

An April 2018 analysis of federal data shows the rising need for education planning. People under 35 now owe less on student loans ($32,900 on average) than every older age bracket, and it's partially because of people borrowing on behalf of their kids or grandkids.

Millennials are also more likely to postpone marriage. A March 2018 Pew Research study found 57 percent of millennials have never been married. And the top reason is money, with 29 percent saying they've waited because they "are not financially prepared."

Compare that to the Silent Generation — baby boomers' parents. The study found that when they were the same age as millennials, just 17 percent had never been married.

Millennials are smarter with credit cards

Over half (52 percent) of millennials pay their credit card balances in full every month, according to LendEDU's 2017 Millennials & Credit Cards Survey.

That's far better than average — only 29 percent of Americans overall pay in full each month, according to American Bankers Association data from the same quarter. Most carry a balance from month to month, racking up interest charges and possibly late fees.

So give millennials some credit. Because they’re being responsible with their debts.


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Finance Magazine: 6 Ways Millennials Manage Money Better Than Their Parents
6 Ways Millennials Manage Money Better Than Their Parents
Millennials get a bad rap. On the bright side, it might be pushing them to excel.
Finance Magazine
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