“Young adults deserve more credit,” when it comes to their savings habits, says Andrew Plepler, global head of environmental, social and governance at Bank of America, in a release.
There are several reasons for this: according to the bank’s Better Money Habits Millennial Report, most millennials (aged 23 to 37) are not only saving (63%) but are also meeting their financial goals (67%). What’s more, the report says millennials are more likely to say they have a savings goal (57%) than gen Xers (42%) and baby boomers (42%).
The Bank of America report is based on a survey of 1,500 respondents, ages 18 to 71. That survey explored respondents’ views on personal financial matters, and was conducted online between Sept. 22, 2017, and Oct. 16, 2017.
Yet, despite their savings success, most of the millennials polled (73%) worry about money. They were just as worried this time around as when they were surveyed in 2014, the report says, when 75% indicated they were financially stressed. (In 2014 millennials were defined as those aged 18 to 34.)
Approximately one in four millennials say they’re part of the gig economy, meaning they’re taking on short-term contracts or freelance work. They also expect to work multiple jobs—as many as eight—in their lifetimes.
This isn’t necessarily a choice, however, given 26% of millennials say they’ve been laid off, the report says.
When millennials do work regular jobs, they’re willing to advocate for themselves. Nearly half of those polled (46%) have asked for a raise in the past two years, versus just 36% of gen Xers and 39% of baby boomers. Also, of millennials who’ve asked for raises, 80% have been successful.
More report highlights
- Almost half (47%) of millennials have $15,000 or more in savings, while 16% have $100,000 or more in savings. In the 2015 poll, only 33% had $15,000 or more saved and only 8% had $100,000 or more.
- Millennials are just as likely to budget as older generations. More than half (54%) create and manage a budget, compared to 54% of gen Xers and 57% of baby boomers.
- Roughly three-quarters of millennials who have budgets stick to them.
Saving money and budgeting are both good ways to reduce future financial stress, but what about investing? If you look at Ontario, investing was done by fewer than half (47%) of millennials in 2017, according to OSC research that polled Ontarians aged 18 to 36.
Some of their given reasons for not investing were having other financial priorities (68%), not having enough income or savings (66%), and not knowing enough about investing.
Similar findings were included in a separate report by BMO Wealth Management, from November 2017. That report, which was based on a survey of 1,004 Canadians aged 18-71, found only 32% of millennials plan to buy and hold investments for the long term, versus 43% of gen Xers and 44% of boomers.
Still, that report said almost one-third (32%) of millennials listed saving for retirement as a priority. Other priorities were saving for vacation (29%) and saving for a home upgrade or purchase (27%). In contrast, saving for retirement was a top concern for 63% of boomers and 62% of gen Xers—given they’re closer to retirement, perhaps this isn’t surprising.