Almost one-fourth of Millennials report spending more than their income, compared with 19 percent of Gen Xers and 16 percent of Baby Boomers.
Are Millennials their own worst enemies when it comes to securing their financial futures?
While the prolonged economic recovery is not doing them any favors (more than half of recent college graduates are either unemployed or underemployed, according to recent studies), Millennials are prone to problematic attitudes and behaviors when it comes to their personal finances, according to a new FINRA Foundation study.
From low levels of financial literacy to rising concerns about debt, the study paints a portrait of a generation that “may not be fully prepared for many of the financial challenges they may face” despite their self-reported high levels of financial satisfaction.
Many Millennials began their adult lives in the midst of the worst economic downturn in generations,” observed FINRA Foundation President Gerri Walsh, “and our survey reveals just how deeply and broadly the Great Recession has marked the financial lives of this generation of Americans.”
Among the study’s findings:
Only 24 percent of Millennials were able to correctly answer four or five questions on a five-question financial literacy quiz
Almost half (46 percent) are concerned they have too much debt, which is on par with Gen Xers (50 percent) but much higher than Baby Boomers (38 percent)
Forty-three percent engaged in costly non-bank forms of borrowing, such as pawn shops and pay day lenders, in the last five years
Twenty-three percent of Millennials report spending more than their income compared with 19 percent of Gen Xers and 16 percent of Baby Boomers.
One-third of Millennials have rainy day funds, which is similar to Gen Xers (32 percent) but lower than Baby Boomers.
About four-in-ten are saving for retirement, which is “significantly lower” than previous generations.
Despite these findings, Millennials express higher or similar levels of financial satisfaction as Gen Xers and Baby Boomers. The so-called Silent Generation trumps them all: 42 percent report being satisfied with their financial situation, compared with 23 percent of Millennials, 17 percent of Gen Xers and 25 percent of Baby Boomers. “This “may reflect different financial expectations for Millennials in the wake of the Great Recession,” the study concludes.