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The Millennials Are All Right (but They Still Worry): BofA

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Millennials’ money management habits compare favorably with those of older peers, yet money is millennials’ top-of-mind concern, according to a report released Tuesday by Bank of America.

Sixty-three percent of millennials in the study said they were saving, and 57% had a savings goal, compared with only 42% of Gen Xers and baby boomers.

Not only that, two-thirds of the younger cohort said they were meeting their goal.

At the same time, 73% of millennials in the new report said they often or sometimes worried about money. Indeed, they were just as stressed about finances as they were in a 2014 survey.

BofA said a widespread notion that millennials are poor money managers exacerbates their stress. Three out of four survey participants of all ages said millennials overspent on indulgences and had difficulty meeting long-term goals.

Even a majority of millennials agreed with this characterization, BofA said.

“Young adults deserve more credit — from others and themselves — for the way they are handling their finances,” BofA’s global head of environmental, social and governance Andrew Plepler said in a statement. “They’re on par with or even better than older generations, which defies common stereotypes.”

Consider: Forty-seven percent of millennials surveyed had $15,000 or more in savings, and 16% had $100,000 or more in savings, compared with only 33% and 8%, respectively, in a 2015 survey.

In addition, millennials were just as likely to budget as older generations, according to BofA. Roughly three-quarters of millennials who created a budget said they stuck to it.

GfK Public Communications and Social Science conducted an online survey in English and Spanish in the autumn of 1,500 respondents, ages 18 to 71, to explore their views on personal financial matters. An augment sample of approximately 2,025 additional interviews was also included to bring the millennials found in the national sample up to 300 completes each in six designated market areas: Austin, Raleigh-Durham, San Diego, Pittsburgh, Denver and Seattle.

Gig Economics

About a quarter of millennials in the survey reported taking on short-term contracts or freelance work, and expected to have eight or more jobs in their lifetime. This job-hopping was not necessarily by choice, the survey found. Twenty-six percent of millennials said they had been laid off.

BofA said one result may be that young adults advocate for themselves at work, more so than older generations. Forty-six percent said they had asked for a raise in the past two years, compared with 36% of Gen Xers and 39% of boomers.

And they have largely been successful. Eighty percent who said they had asked for a raise in the past two years got one.

The survey found that although millennials tended to raise the topic of salary at work, nearly one in five did not know how much their spouse/partner made.

Twenty-eight percent of millennial couples reported keeping their finances separate, compared with 11% of Gen Xers and 13% of boomers.

Thirty percent of millennial parents in the survey said financial considerations had been a major factor in their decision to start a family, versus 22% of Gen Xers and 9% of boomers. More than a quarter of older millennials said they were already saving for their children’s education.

— Check out Adapting to the Millennial Disruption on ThinkAdvisor.


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