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Election Leaves Millennials Pessimistic About Financial Security

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In a poll conducted among 1,006 U.S. adults a few days after the Nov. 8 elections, Country Financial, a group of insurance and financial services companies, found millennials less optimistic about their financial security than older generations. More than 70% said the economy this year would be worse off than in 2016.

Country’s financial security index score rose just 0.2 points year over year to 66.8. However, millennials’ score was only 60.9, compared with 66.6 for Gen Xers, 69.2 for baby boomers and 71.2 for the silent generation (65 and older).

Remove millennials from the mix, and all other age groups were much more optimistic about their finances. The average index score registered 68.7, compared with 68 in December 2015.

The financial security index examines Americans’ current sentiments about their overall personal financial security on a scale of 0 to 100, with 100 indicating the highest level of security, and compares that to previous years.

The index also measures respondents’ confidence in a variety of individual personal finance topics, such as their ability to pay back debts, set aside money for savings or investments and retire comfortably.

“As we transition from the recent election results and head into a new year, we are seeing a mix in confidence among people of all ages as they try to better understand the overall economic outlook and their own personal financial future,” Country Financial’s director of wealth management Troy Frerichs said in a statement.

“That is why it’s important to create specific plans tailored to your life stage to help ease any anxiety, for millennials and all other generations, and secure one’s financial objectives early and achievably.”

Millennials’ Uneasiness

Asked their view on the U.S. economic outlook for 2017 shortly after the election, 41% of millennials said they would be worse off than in 2016, versus 24% who said they would be better off. Thirty percent predicted that the economy would be a lot worse off.

All other generations expressed more optimism about their personal situations:

  • Gen Xers: 34% better off vs. 31% worse off
  • Baby boomers: 33% better off vs. 27% worse off
  • Silent generation (65+): 45% better off vs. 17% worse off

Millennials’ uneasiness did not stop there. Fifty-nine percent rated their overall level of financial security as fair or poor, while 37% said theirs was excellent or good.

In addition, 48% of millennials polled said they would be unable to set aside any money for savings or investments, compared with 42% who reported that they had done so.

And 29% of the 18-to-34 age group said they were not confident or were unsure whether they would be able to pay their debts as they came due.

Thirty-two percent said they were somewhat confident they could do so, and 38% said they were very confident.

The survey found millennials more optimistic as they looked at their finances over the longer term.

Fifty percent said it was likely they would have enough money to retire comfortably, versus 32% who thought that was unlikely.