Many millennials worry they won’t be able to afford the life they want, poll finds | Lifestyle
For a generation that has so far lived through two recessions, it’s no secret many millennials have been placed under harsh financial burden.
The generation has been left worrying for their financial future at rates unparalleled by other age groups, according to a new poll by Morning Consult.
Morning Consult’s State of Consumer Banking & Payments report highlighted the hardships millennials face. Of the poll’s thousands of respondents, 45% of millennials say they are very or completely concerned money will prevent them from having the things they want in life.
A similar percentage —46%— say finances control their lives, while 38% say they are often or always behind on their finances. Each response is at least 10 percentage points greater than that of other adult generations in the United States.
The poll has a margin of error of up to plus or minus 2 percentage points.
Millennials are described by the Pew Research Center as individuals born between 1981 and 1996. The generation follows Generation X and comes before Generation Z.
“In the prime of their wage-earning years, millennials are struggling to balance the many financial responsibilities they’ve shouldered and goals they’ve set,” Morning Consult said. “Millennial financial well-being reflects the numerous struggles the generation faces: Both near- and long-term financial burdens weigh on them, but to varying degrees.”
Part of that stress may come from student loan debt. Growing higher-education costs have led 14.8 million millennials to carry student loan debt, more than any other generation, the Education Data Initiative said in October. The generation has an average balance of $38,777 per borrower.
Others have concern about affording homes in a difficult buyer’s market. Despite being the most populous generation in the U.S., only 47.9% of millennials owned homes in 2020, compared to 69% for Generation X and 77.7% for Baby Boomers, Forbes reported.
And when they did buy homes, the generation had plenty of buyer’s remorse. Nearly two-thirds of millennial homeowners surveyed by Bankrate in May said they had regrets about their purchase, with maintenance costs and high mortgage payments being the biggest reasons.
The idea of starting or growing their families has also caused some financial stress as millennials plan their futures. Fifty-five percent of millennial women have given birth, compared to 62% of Gen-Xers and 64% of baby boomers when they were the same age, the Pew Research Center found in a 2020 poll.
Uncertainty about the economy was the second-biggest reason why millennials are waiting to have kids, with the first being the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a survey conducted in May by The Harris Poll.
“Millennials have lifelong damage, given the severity of the Great Recession,” Mark Muro, policy director at the Brookings Institution, told Insider at the onset of the pandemic in 2020. “They’re still overshadowed by it, with new consequential burdens coming at them.”
That’s not to say the generation isn’t attempting to improve their financial situation. Morning Consult found 69% of its millennial respondents were saving for education, while 71% were working toward purchasing a home. About 86% of the generation had goals of improving their credit and 80% said they are trying to eliminate their debt.
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