Millennials are more optimistic about the financial future than the general population, yet their finances are unsatisfactory, a new study of millennial finances released Thursday by MoneyUnder30 finds.
The study, based on a survey of a representative sample of 612 Americans conducted earlier this year, uncovered three themes regarding millennials and their finances.
For one, they are more dissatisfied with their current situation than other Americans. Fifty-six percent reported being somewhat or very dissatisfied, compared with 45% of the general population.
Two factors are at play here, according to the study. First, student loans: In an era of soaring tuition costs, 16% of millennials say paying off student loans is their primary financial goal, versus 2.6% of other respondents.
And job hunting, at a time when the market is at “full employment”: 13% of millennials said finding a job in their field was their chief target, versus 3% of others.
Optimism about the future was a second theme that emerged from the study. Seventy-eight percent of millennials expected their financial situation to improve over the next five years, compared with 45.5% of the general population. Less than a fifth of millennials expected their situation to stay the same.
The study’s third theme is that millennials are not sufficiently healthy financially.
Consider how they would pay for an unexpected $500 expense. One in five said they would ask their family or friends for help, nearly three times more that their older counterparts. Only about 12% of millennials would charge their credit card, about half the number of others who would do so.