Don’t Believe Everything the Papers Say About Millennial Finances

If we all listened to the spew of anti-millennial stories being published by the media, we’d all assume that people in their twenties and thirties spend their lives wallowing on couches and living in their parents’ basement. After all, student debt is at an all-time high, so how could millenials afford to be successful?

I might be sharing an unpopular opinion here, but I’m going to climb out on a limb to say that millennials are more successful than most magazines and newspapers would want you to believe. Here’s why.

Many Millennials Are Long-Term Planners

Young people might be buying houses later than their parents did, but that doesn’t mean they’re shirking their goal planning. Nearly 31 percent of millennials say they have set financial goals and a written plan, according to Modern Wealth Index. In contrast, only 22 percent of baby boomers and 20 percent of Generation X can say the same.

Millennials Are Spending Less on Entertainment and Brand-Name Goods

Whether it’s because entertainment is more readily available in today’s modern times or it’s a real lifestyle choice, millennials are spending two thirds less on entertainment than Generation Xers and Baby Boomers. Additionally, millennials aren’t too stuffy to purchase non-brand-name goods. Roughly 60 percent prefer to purchase generic brands in an effort to save money.

Saving for Retirement Isn’t a Problem

You might be surprised to hear that 71 percent of millennial workers are saving for retirement, and the median start age is 24. That’s much earlier than Generation X’s median starting age (30). Additionally, about 39 percent of millennials are defined as super savers, meaning they save 10 percent of their salary.

Millennials Aren’t Afraid of Leadership Roles

In the last several years, 87 percent of millennial workers took on management roles. Compare that to the 38 percent of Gen X and 19 percent of Baby Boomers that did the same. Even more impressive is the fact that over half of millennials either want to start a business or already have started one.

They Aren’t Afraid to Ask for Higher Salaries

Nearly a third of millennials say they will be chasing higher salaries with a different employer five years from now. Some people say this is because millennials hop from job to job too often, but that’s not really true. Research has found that many Generation X workers stay at their jobs for an even shorter amount of time than millennials, and both age groups are willing to seek higher salaries after five years.

Millennials Track Their Expenses Like Nobody’s Business

According to a survey of over 1,500 millennials a couple of years ago, roughly 75 percent track their expenses on a regular basis. Another 67 percent stick to a budget, so don’t take any news stories about how reckless millennials are when it comes to spending at face value. Of course not everyone is so diligent, but a large percentage of people born in the ‘80s and ‘90s are actually on top of their spending habits.

My Hot Take

Sure, I know that financial literacy is down in many millennials and that millions of people are swimming in debt. I also know that I excluded many negatives, like the fact that most millennials can’t come up with the money for an unexpected expense over $400.

I’m just tired of hearing everyone say that millennials across the board have no sense of financial planning or success. From now on, take those anti-millennial articles with a grain of salt. Instead, talk to the 20 and 30-year-olds around you to see how they’re doing financially and what we, as a society, can do to improve their standing.

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