Millennial Money Habits 101
Millennials: the controversial, spend-happy generation aiming to take down long-standing companies and turning the economy on its head. The media can’t stop talking about millennials, and because of the sheer size of the group and their effect on the world, it’s hard not to.
However, rather than the stereotypical caricature the news and articles like to plaster everywhere, the millennial generation is more financial literate then even they think. Most members of this generation are just as careful with their money, if not more careful, as other generations.
Following the 2008 market crash, this young grouping is careful where they put their money and nearly one in four worry about financials daily. As this budding generation shapes our future, it’s important to look at their money habits when it comes to spending, saving and investing.
Spending Habits and Crushing Debt
A huge factor in financials centers on how we spend our hard-earned money and keep the economy growing. Millennials have often been cited as “spend-happy” when it comes to budgeting. The stereotype is that this generation takes what little cash they have and embrace the “Yolo” lifestyle rather than putting funds aside for a home. While this may be the case for some, as it is with every generation, it is not true for the majority. According to a recent study, about 63% of millennials are saving, 54% are budgeting, and 57% have a savings goal.
Of course, in addition to putting money aside for retirement or living expenses, millennials face a huge problem with debt: student loan and credit card alike. About 63% of millennials have student loan debt over $10,000. Many are reluctant to purchase a home or start a family for fear of increasing the debt they already have. Also, the monthly demands of rent, clothes, food, and other living expenses add up as wages remain stagnant. When there is already a mountain of debt, it can be much more difficult to finance a future.
When millennials do make purchases, most of their money is spent online. The stigma that follows this generation is that they are “killing” industries. While they may not be putting money into dying institutions, millennials are known to be loyal to the brands they purchase. Normally, these brands provide good bargains and excellent customer service. They are also more likely to buy generic brands or support local establishments.
Low-Wages and Job Prospects
As Millennials flood the workforce, the stereotype joining them is a sense of entitlement. Many members of this generation want to reach a goal: find a job that compensates and treats them fairly. The end game is to earn what they are worth and have enough to put into their financial plan.
Of course, there are few issues with finding a job that fits, especially when companies don’t promote within, outsource jobs, or layoff employees regularly. It’s harder to focus on the long term when the short term is difficult to reach.
Millennials are stuck in a “gig” job culture – they work part-time or full-time as temp workers, freelancers, and contract employees. Though this generation does find full-time work, many have experience layoffs more than once. Job experience like this can make it difficult to contribute to a company 401K or build up a nest egg. Additionally, many workers cannot find a decent paying job in their field that is hiring or ponying up the dough.
When millennials do find consistent work, however, they know their worth. They are more likely to ask for a raise and receive it than other generations. Still with the job market, as it is, many find themselves working multiple positions just to make ends meet. The constant worries plaguing this generation are:
- Finding a job that pays
- Job security
- Job offering a 401k or retirement plan
- Growing in their career
- Finding decent healthcare with low cost and decent coverage
Domestic Costs and Milestones
There is so much pressure in society to find the right house, the right car, get married and have 2.5 kids. While the goal is to become financially independent and self-sufficient, millennials are waiting and saving when it comes to these preconceived milestones. They are putting off getting married, buying a home, and having a child because they just don’t think they can afford it. Their main goal is taking down the debt they’ve established already. It’s hard to plan for that white picket fence when making sacrifices to afford daily living. We’re not talking “avocado toast.” This means rent, utilities, food, and other expenses.
If couples do manage to afford a home, most millennials choose to keep their expenses separate. Often, individuals don’t know how much their partner makes. As many of this generation are putting milestones at hold, their main sticking points are:
- Paying off debt
- Health care costs
- Cost of a child
- Not affording a home
Investing in the Future
When it comes down to investing in the future, millennials are careful when selecting their investment. First, of course, they must have the money to invest. When they do, this generation places their hard-earned money in companies and causes that will benefit future generations.
Millennials invest in themselves; they try to keep healthy to avoid any preventable run-ins with costly healthcare. They also invest in brands that they have a connection with: companies they have good experiences with, support environmental causes, technological advances, display value, and good citizenship.
Millennials are investing in alternative energies like wind and solar power. Additionally, they are buying a stake in companies that donate to environmental causes, display good citizenship, value their customers, and rally to social causes. Advancement in health, technology, and resources are also the main draws. While the opportunities are there, the majority of millennials still worry about not investing enough nor having the money or opportunity to invest.
Millennial Spending Habits and Investing: Bottom Line
As millennials follow up the baby boomers as one of the biggest generations to date, spending habits are the only low end of the spectrum when it comes to financial literacy. While the previous generation heads into retirement, this current group of young adults is struggling with monetary hardship.
With social security becoming less stable and the job market in shambles, future generations must resolve these issues with new ideas and innovation. As the millennial generation starts to hit their stride, there is no telling what will happen in the long-term. Are you a millennial and want to explore new ways of investing? Contact a trusted Horizon Trust custodian today!