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Study Casts Dim View on the Financial Health of Millennials

Phil Hall
Nov 19, 2014

For many financial services experts, Millennials—the demographic between the ages of 18 and 34—represent a future of great potential. However, a new survey confirms that while the future might seem encourage, the present offers reason for apprehension.

In the newly-released Bank of America/USA Today Better Money Habits Millennial Report, 80 percent of the 1,000 Millennials surveyed believed they will be better off or the same as their parents and two-thirds claimed they have good financial habits. But some deeper data digging found a strikingly different view of Millennials’ financial practices:

►Fifty-three percent of those surveyed admitted they were living paycheck to paycheck

►Nearly as many Millennials are saving for a house (32 percent) as are saving for a vacation (33 percent)

►Twenty-two percent of those surveyed acknowledged they have yet to start saving at all

►Sixteen percent of those surveyed have an IRA and one in three have contributed to a 401(k)

►Forty-eight percent said they were paying out less than $100 each month for student loans 

►Thirty-five percent of those surveyed are still receiving regular financial support from their parents or relatives, while 11 percent of Millennials who are married or with a partner still rely on their parents to help out with cellphone payments.

On the housing front, the new survey finds a considerable number of Millennials in no great rush to explore the basic tenets of homeownership:

►Thirty-seven percent of Millennials in the 18-21 age range still live at home

►Twenty-seven percent of those aged 22-25 still live at home and don’t pay rent or expenses

►Twleve percent of those aged 26-29 still live at home and don’t pay rent or expenses

►Fifty-nine percent claimed that they do not worry about doing more “adult” things, like buying a house 

►Forty percent stated that having their own dream home was the ultimate symbol of professional and personal success.

Andrew Plepler, Bank of America’s global corporate social responsibility executive, admitted that the survey offered some troubling numbers, but insisted that financial education was the key to getting the Millennials ready for a vibrant future.

“Many young adults have great confidence in their financial situations, but we can’t ignore the fact that so many are living day to day, not able to prepare for their financial future,” Plepler said. “We need to build on the enthusiasm we see from this group by providing the educational resources and tools they need to understand more about their money in order to achieve financial stability and help them reach their long-term financial goals.” 

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