Emulate these money moves.
Updated: January 24, 2018
With youth comes financial wisdom.
While it’s true millennials have plenty of financial issues — they don’t save enough, they have a ton of student loan debt, to name a few — there are some things that millennials do with their money that we should all be taking note of. Here are three:
They’re upping their retirement savings
One in three millennials upped their retirement savings in the past year, according to data released Wednesday from financial site Bankrate.com — the highest of any age group. Just 26% of Gen Xers did so in the past year, and 20% of Baby Boomers.
Of course, this could have something to do with the fact that millennials aren’t saving enough for retirement to begin with, but it still underscores an important point: almost all of us could benefit from upping our retirement contributions. Indeed, the average retirement account balance is less than $100,000 — and for younger people even less than that, according to the Economic Policy Institute.
Experts say you need way more: Fidelity recommends that by age 30 you have your full salary saved (so, for the median household, that would be about $60,000) and by 35, double your salary. Upping your retirement contributions is the one of the best ways to up your retirement savings balance.
They’re not afraid to ask for a raise
Nearly half (47%) of millennials have asked for a raise in the past year, compared to just 19% of Gen Z, 39% of Boomers and 36% of Gen X, according to a survey of 1,500 adults released in 2018 by Bank of America. What’s more, 80% of millennials who asked for a raise got one.
They prioritize spending on experiences
Numerous studies have shown that spending money on experiences — like traveling, going to a concert — makes people happier than spending the money on material things. And that’s just what millennials do, much more so than the generations before them. Eight in 10 say they would opt to spend more on an experience rather than a possession, and they’re doing more than just paying lip service to that idea. Millennials take 4.2 trips per year, compared to fewer than 3 trips per year for older generations, for example, Bloomberg data shows.
They’re afraid of credit card debt
The under 35 crowd has less credit card debt (an average of $5,808) than any other age group besides those 75 and older ($5,638), according to data from ValuePenguin. And we’re talking way less credit card debt: The 35-44-year-olds have racked up more than $8,200 and the 45-54 year olds more than $9,000. This is partly because millennials are freaked out by credit cards: Seven in 10 say they prefer to use a debit card over a credit card, according to a survey by mobile bank account Chime; and one in three have never even applied for a credit card. Of course, this also means that millennials may be missing out on possible credit card rewards, but those don’t mean much anyway when you’re paying interest on debt.
This story was originally published in May 2017 and has been updated.
© 2018 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved