Millennials are less satisfied with their overall financial health and face more financial stress than other generations, a new study found.
Only 20 percent of Millennials are satisfied with their financial health, according to financial services technology company Fiserv’s Expectations and Experiences Survey.
That’s significantly lower than the overall population, in which 36 percent of people are satisfied with their financial health.
Some of Millennials’ financial stress comes from the economic environment that was in place when they first entered the workforce, while other aspects stem from financial concerns previous generations didn’t face, said Matt Wilcox, senior vice president of marketing and strategy innovation at Fiserv.
“I think when you think about this financial crisis in ‘07, ‘08 [and] ‘09, that was during a time where a lot of the Millennials were in school or getting out of school,” Wilcox said. “I think that created an unease in the marketplace for them.”
This makes Millennial consumers less likely to make big purchases and go into debt, although they’re already carrying significant debt, Wilcox noted.
“Student loans are a big component [of their financial lives],” he said. “I think they’re starting in a bit of a hole, whereas other generations didn’t have that concern. It’s not necessarily that they don’t know how to manage their finances, as it is they’re starting from a negative perspective.”
Still, the overall population isn’t doing so great when it comes to financial health. If 36 percent are satisfied with the state of their finances, that means 64 percent – almost two-thirds – aren’t.
Fiserv also found that 39 percent of people surveyed would have trouble coming up with the cash to pay back a $500 loan today. If they got an unexpected $1,000 windfall, almost half (47 percent) would use it to repay a debt.
So what can be done to reduce these feelings of financial stress and insecurity?
“In my opinion it’s about more education,” Wilcox said. “The mindset is, if they get a check for $500 then they have $500 to spend and they don’t understand that that has to last for, say, two weeks.”
“They just haven’t had that core [financial literacy] foundation,” he added. “I think you’re gonna see more and more financial literacy programs and required courses take shape at the junior high, high school and college level. We’re all better off if we have a better understanding of how to manage our finances.”