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Millennials: stressed but confident about finances

Tony Wagner Oct 13, 2015

We have an interesting conversation going on our Facebook page right now about the label “millennial” — how it’s used, who uses it and what it implies about people aged roughly 18 to 34.

Whatever you call them, USA Today and Bank of America talked to 1,320 of them for its regular Better Money Habits poll, and the results paint an interesting picture of the way young adults look at their finances.

In short: They might be tearing their hair out now, but they’re reasonably confident things are going to be OK. The vast majority of people surveyed — 84 percent — said they were “very” or “somewhat” confident in their finance management skills. That said, the respondents’ feelings about their financial situation were more varied, and the 41 percent said they were “chronically stressed” about money.


A lot of that anxiety seems to come from debt — young people want to eliminate what they have, and they’re wary of taking on more. With a trillion in outstanding student debt, and millennials borrowing more than prior generations, it follows that young people might be hesitant. Indeed, nearly three-fourths of people surveyed said they wouldn’t be using credit cards to cover big purchases they can’t afford.

Speaking of college, there’s a gap in financial satisfaction between millennials who graduated college — 60 percent said they’re “somewhat satisfied” — and those who didn’t — 40 percent. Those gaps persist when it comes to savings — 85 percent of college graduates have it, compared to 57 percent of those who didn’t graduate. Finally, young people who didn’t get a college degree were more likely to spend more than they made. 

However you feel about Snake People, the whole report is worth a read, and it’s right here.

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