The Millennial generation, that sometimes tough-to-understand demographic of 18- to 29-year-olds, are barely out of school – if even – yet, are taking an “old school” approach to finance management.

According to findings through the 2014 Planning and Process study commissioned by Northerwestern Mutual, millennials do actually understand the importance of saving and investing, and – if you can believe it – tend to be more proactive about planning than their older counterparts.

What kind of attitudes and behaviors is this generation taking toward money?

  • 14 percent say they are pursuing as much growth as possible;
  • 30 percent are taking a “slow and steady” approach to financial planning;
  • 30 percent would like to be more cautious but say they have a lot of catching up to do;
  • 68 percent believe they can improve how they manage their money; and
  • 62 percent say they are “highly disciplined” or disciplined planners, compared to 54 percent of adults aged 60+.

“While not quite putting money in the mattress, Gen Y definitely takes a more retro approach to how they handle their finances,” said Greg Oberland, Northwestern Mutual executive vice president.  “I’m guessing they’re making a lot of grandparents very proud.”

Despite having their hearts – and wallets – in the right place, 28 percent of millennials say they are uncertain where to find help with their financial planning, and only 13 percent admit they have a financial advisor.

“Many Millennials have fairly straightforward finances at this stage in their lives, so it makes sense that only a small percentage work with advisors,” said Oberland.  “But clearly, the appetite and attitudes make for great opportunity.  For advisors, the message is clear – if they can meet in kind the interest, discipline and humility of Millennials, they may very well have relationships for a lifetime.”

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