Friday, April 15, 2016

Millennials Better at Saving Than Previously Assumed

Millennials are often stereotyped as being bad with money. Many people view those 20-something-year-olds as frivolous spenders, more concerned with the here and now than with the future. However, according to recent research, Millennials don't actually deserve this classification. According to Jonnelle Marte's L.A. Times article, they are saving much more aggressively than in past years, and in some cases are saving more than their middle-aged counterparts.

In the study, "Millennials" were defined as consumers between the ages of 18 and 29, and the results blew away many assumptions previously made about their age group. About 62% of Millennials are saving more than 5% of their income for retirement, emergencies, or other future financial goals. This is a significant improvement from last year when only about 42% of Millennials put the same portion of their pay toward savings. Comparatively, it was found that about 50% of consumers between the ages of 30 and 49 were putting as much into savings.

Analysts believe that Millennials' interest in saving money for a rainy day may come from personal experience or what they saw family members go through. Many, especially those straight out of college, struggled to get a job during the recession. Others, even if unaffected themselves, watched as family members were hit by layoffs and saw how hard it was for parents or even grandparents to recover. Likely because of this, 40% of Millennials are putting their savings aside for an emergency, rather than for retirement or something else that would matter the most in the distant future. They know how hard it can be to survive if they unexpectedly lose their job, and as such, want to be sufficiently prepared.

How are Millennials able to save more money now than in previous years? Some are cutting their spending, realizing that instant gratification isn't worth potential financial struggles in the future. Others are getting better jobs or being promoted to better-paying positions in the recovering company, and therefore are earning more money and are more able to put some of it toward savings. Some went back to school when they found that they couldn't find work during the recession and are putting their degrees to use in getting jobs now.

Not all Millennials are choosing to put their money aside for emergencies. Many are saving in order to be able to afford big purchases in the near future. About 27% are saving for a future home, 26% are saving for a car, and 36% are saving to go on vacation. No matter what they are saving for, researchers agree that Millennials have come to understand the value of saving, often more than their older counterparts. When asked about their major goals, the majority chose "saving", while smaller, but still significant, portions chose "leading a healthy lifestyle" or "paying down debt." Saving money can have a positive impact on anyone's life, so it's a good thing that more individuals have come to realize the value of saving over spending.

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