10 attributes about millennials’ ‘fragile’ financial standing
A pair of experts from the Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center at the George Washington University School of Business shared their analysis about millennials’ personal finances and highlighted 10 key findings.
Coming from the report titled, Gen Y Personal Finances: A Crisis of Confidence and Capability, Carlo de Bassa Scheresberg and Annamaria Lusardi emphasized that millennials are arriving at critical points of financial decision making in their adult lives. Lusardi is a professor and academic director while de Bassa Scheresberg is a senior research associate at the university’s center.
“Despite emerging into the workplace in the unstable economic environment of recent years, Gen Y continues to be energetic and highly optimistic,” de Bassa Scheresberg and Lusardi wrote. “But their impact is linked to their financial behavior.
“Indeed, Gen Yers’ personal finances are more relevant to the state of the economy than those of any preceding generation,” they continued. “Against that backdrop, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the financial position of Gen Yers is more fragile than expected.”
With that point as an introduction, here are the 10 most important findings about Generation Y that de Bassa Scheresberg and Lusardi uncovered:
1. Looking only at assets, such as savings or investments, provides a limited view of Gen Yers’ financial profile.
2. Debt is widespread among Gen Yers; most carry short- or long-term debt or both.
3. Members of Generation Y feel overindebted.
4. Student loans are a major source of debt for college-educated millennials, and most of them are concerned about their ability to pay off student loans.
5. Gen Yers use expensive methods of borrowing, such as credit cards, payday loans, pawnshops and other alternative financial services (AFS).
6. There is an educational divide in the use of AFS. While 28 percent of Millennials with a college degree used AFS in the five years prior to the survey, 50 percent of respondents with a high school education or less have relied on AFS.
7. While many millennials have retirement accounts, many have already borrowed on those accounts.
8. Millennials give themselves high marks in their ability to make day-to-day and long-term financial decisions, but there are clear signs of overconfidence.
9. Professional financial advice is used sparingly. Many millennials lack trust in financial professionals and think that professional financial advice is too expensive for them.
10. Even though millennials make many decisions related to investments and debt, most of them lack financial literacy and are not aware of their lack of financial knowledge.
The entire report generated by de Bassa Scheresberg and Lusardi can be downloaded here.