Millennials Don’t Let Past Financial Burdens Interfere With Living
for Today, and Seek Sense of Balance for Tomorrow
CHARLOTTE, N.C.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Despite the financial burdens and other obstacles millennials face, they
are eager to use life experiences to pursue financial independence. The
impact of the Great Recession, combined with insights from their
parents, play a significant role in how millennials manage their own
financial lives, according to the Bank
of America Year-End Millennial Snapshot.
Bank of America evaluated data from more than 3,500
millennials across seven studies throughout 2015 to better
understand how this generation is redefining its financial priorities
and spending habits, in addition to learning what influences their
financial behavior. The snapshot of data includes research from:
The Bank of America/USA TODAY Better Money Habits Millennial Reports – Spring
2015 and Fall
2015 Merrill Edge Report and Fall
2015 Merrill Edge Report.
2015 Small Business Owner Report and Fall
2015 Small Business Owner Report.
of America Trends in Consumer Mobility Report.
“The events taking place when millennials were coming of age are visibly
impacting their financial decisions and behaviors. This will be
especially apparent as they become the money managers for their
households,” said John Jordan, Client Experience and Programs executive
for Preferred and Small Business Banking at Bank of America.
Market turbulence during “coming of age” years gives way to extreme
The snapshot reveals that outside influences had a direct impact on this
generation’s financial behaviors and attitudes. Almost a third report
that the Great Recession affected them personally; of this group, nearly
half (46 percent) say it made it difficult to find a job, and one out of
five (21 percent) report it made it impossible1. Nearly half
said it also changed the way they think about saving, investing and
spending (49 percent), making them more hesitant to invest in the stock
market (40 percent), buy a house (36 percent) or put money into a
retirement savings account (19 percent)1.
While only 21 percent of millennial small business owners reported six
months ago that their company had completely recovered from the Great
Recession, optimism has remained strong throughout the year despite the
slow recovery2. Data from November proves optimism is not
only strong, but showing major growth – with 88 percent of millennial
entrepreneurs expecting their business to grow over the next five years
(compared to just 56 percent of baby boomers who expect the same), and
80 percent expecting a revenue increase (compared to 60 percent of
boomers)7. Confidence in the economy is also up; 74 percent
think their local economies will improve in the next 12 months7.
In addition to the Great Recession, another influence on millennials’
financial behaviors has been their parents. Forty percent of millennials
admit the successes and failures of their parents drove them to make a
positive financial decision; in comparison, just 12 percent of Gen Xers,
boomers and seniors had this experience3.
Millennials also say that even if they grew up being financially
dependent on their parents, financial advice wasn’t always offered. For
example, nearly half (44 percent) of millennials reported their parents
didn’t talk to them about the impact paying for college might have on
their future finances1. Furthermore, only 25 percent of
millennials’ parents started talking to their children about good
financial habits before they turned 10 years old; Almost twice as many
millennials (43 percent) believe parents should have this discussion
with their child before he or she reaches this age1.
Despite financial burdens, millennials desire financial independence
Notwithstanding the impact of financial burdens, millennials are not
letting these hurdles get in the way of pursuing their financial
independence. Contrary to what many may think, the snapshot shows
millennials care about managing their money and are actively trying each
week to be in control of their finances. Three-quarters (74 percent) say
they pay their bills on time; and the majority say they spend less than
they earn (58 percent) and regularly set money aside for savings (56
Technology appears to be impacting this attitude, as almost three in
five (59 percent) millennials use their bank’s mobile banking app, the
highest users of any generation4. Of those millennial banking
app users, most (72 percent) access the app a few times a week or more,
nearly three-quarters (74 percent) receive mobile banking alerts, and
more than three in five (65 percent) use mobile check deposit4.
Additionally, millennials appear to be increasingly active in the mobile
payments space. Seven in 10 (68 percent) would consider paying someone
using person-to-person payments via mobile banking app, and more than
two in five (41 percent) would consider or have already used their
smartphone to make a purchase at checkout4.
As millennials work toward their financial independence, they are also
planning for the future. The snapshot shows millennials prioritize
saving for the future over having enough money to live comfortably today
(71 percent vs. 60 percent)3. Similarly, millennials are
willing to shoulder financial burdens in the short term to ensure
long-term professional success, as nearly two-thirds of millennial small
business owners would first delay their own compensation to make ends
meet (64 percent)7.
In addition to prioritizing for the future, millennials believe they
currently have good financial habits (74 percent)1 and are
confident in their ability to effectively manage personal finances (84
percent)5. Looking ahead, more than three in five millennials
don’t think that caring for an aging parent (67 percent) or their
parents’ financial situation in general (62 percent) would put stress on
their own finances3.
“While many millennials have major debt obligations, they are moving
forward and making positive progress in their lives, and planning ahead
for the future,” said Jordan. “Millennials are optimistic about their
financial status and don’t seem to be compromising major milestones,
which is reassuring.”
Seeking balance and a support system for tomorrow
While millennials are focused on preparing for their futures, it’s not
stopping them from living for today. Given the millennial emphasis on
experience, it’s not surprising to learn millennials who have gone into
debt for personal investments such as buying a home (89 percent),
education (84 percent), cars (69 percent) or moving to a new area (62
percent) believe these debts were well worth it6.
Millennials are also just as likely to balance saving for a dream
vacation as getting the most out of their investments (32 percent and 37
percent)3. The data shows it’s likely their desire for
experience will be carried into their golden years, as nearly half of
millennials (49 percent) are spending less today so they can ensure a
stress-free retirement where they envision traveling often (66 percent)
and living near loved ones (54 percent)3.
While financial independence is a goal for many millennials, they expect
to need some extra support down the road. More than two in five (43
percent) millennials intend to lean on their loved ones for financial
help in retirement3. Parents also share this sentiment, as
almost half (46 percent) of parents of millennials who currently provide
assistance to their adult children have no plans to cut them off1.
Fewer (9 percent) members of older generations plan to rely on loved
ones for financial support during their golden years3.
1 Bank of America/USA TODAY Better Money Habits Millennial
Report – Spring 2015
2 Spring 2015 Small Business Owners
3 Spring 2015 Merrill Edge Report
Bank of America Trends in Consumer Mobility Report
Bank of America/USA TODAY Better Money Habits Millennial Report – Fall
6 Fall 2015 Merrill Edge Report
Fall 2015 Small Business Owners Report
Year-end Millennial Snapshot Methodology
Kelton Global, a strategic
research and consulting company, analyzed studies commissioned by Bank
of America in 2015 to create the Year-end Millennial Snapshot. The data
includes information from the Better Money Habits Millennial Reports,
Trends in Consumer Mobility Report, Merrill Edge Reports and Small
Business Owners Reports. Research was gathered throughout 2015 and
analyzed in totality through August and September 2015 and focused
solely on millennial-facing data. This research was intended to help
understand millennials and their approach to personal finance.
About the Bank of America/USA TODAY Better Money Habits Millennial
Bank of America and USA TODAY commissioned two surveys in
2015 to explore millennials’ financial challenges, behaviors and
attitudes. The Spring 2015 survey examining the parental influence on
the money habits and views of today’s young adults was conducted online
March 4–11, 2015 (1,000 millennials and 1,005 parents of millennial
children were surveyed). The Fall 2015 survey focusing on aspects of
financial wellness was conducted online August 6–24, 2015 (1,320
millennials were surveyed). Both surveys were conducted by GfK Public
Affairs and Corporate Communication, using GfK’s KnowledgePanel®,
a statistically representative sample source used to yield results that
are projectable to the American population. To qualify, millennial
respondents had to be 18 to 34 years old. The margin of sampling error
for national data is +/- 3.4 percentage points for the Spring 2015
survey and +/- 3.2 percentage points for the Fall 2015 survey at the 95
percent confidence level.
About the Bank of America Trends in Consumer Mobility Report
Research, Inc. (an independent market research company) conducted a
nationally representative telephone survey on behalf of Bank of America
April 13-26, 2015. Braun surveyed 1,000 (375 were millennials (ages
18-34) respondents throughout the U.S., comprised of adults 18+ with a
current banking relationship (checking or savings) and who own a
smartphone. The survey was conducted by phone to a dual-frame landline
and cell. The margin of error for the national quota (where n=1,011) is
+/- 3.1 percent with a 95 percent confidence level.
About the Merrill Edge Report
Braun Research, Inc. conducted a
nationally representative telephone survey on behalf of Merrill Edge.
The survey was conducted from March 12 through March 24, 2015 (1,001
total respondents; 159 were millennials) and September 8 through
September 20, 2015 (1,000 respondents; 130 were millennials), among mass
affluent respondents throughout the U.S., defined as individuals with
investable assets (value of all cash, savings, mutual funds, CDs, IRAs,
stock, bonds and all other types of investments excluding primary home
and other real estate investments). Respondents in the study were
defined as aged 18 to 34 (millennials) with investable assets between
$50,000 and $250,000 or those aged 18 to 34 who have investable assets
between $20,000 and $50,000 with an annual income of at least $50,000;
or aged 35-plus with investable assets between $50,000 and $250,000. The
margin of error is +/- 3.0 percent, reported at a 95 percent confidence
Merrill Edge® is available through Merrill Lynch, Pierce,
Fenner & Smith Incorporated (MLPF&S), and consists of the Merrill Edge
Advisory Center™ (investment guidance) and self-directed online
MLPF&S is a registered broker-dealer, Member SIPC and wholly owned
subsidiary of Bank of America Corporation.
Banking products are provided by Bank of America, N.A. and affiliated
banks. Members FDIC and wholly owned subsidiaries of Bank of America
|Are Not FDIC Insured||Are Not Bank Guaranteed||May Lose Value|
© 2015 Bank of America Corporation. All rights reserved.
About the Bank of America Small Business Owner Report
Research conducted the Bank of America Small Business Owner Report
surveys by phone, from March 4 through March 27, 2015 (1,000
respondents; 244 were millennials) and from August 21 through September
22, 2015 (1,001 respondents; 364 were millennials), on behalf of Bank of
America. Braun contacted a nationally representative sample of 1,000
small business owners in the United States with annual revenue between
$100,000 and $4,999,999 and employing between 2 and 99 employees. The
margin of error for the national sample is +/- 3.1 percent reported at a
95 percent confidence level.
The Braun Research survey results conducted on behalf of Bank of America
and interpretations in this release are not intended, nor implied, to be
a substitute for the professional advice received from a qualified
accountant, attorney or financial advisor. Always seek the advice of an
accountant, attorney or financial advisor with any questions you may
have regarding the decisions you undertake as a result of reviewing the
information contained herein. Nothing in this report should be construed
as either advice or legal opinion.
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