Millennials have impressive financial habits when compared to baby boomers, according to a new Retirement Saving & Spending Study by T. Rower Price. Millennials like to save, with many taking advantage of 401(k) plans while still paying down debt. On average, millennials are saving nearly as much for retirement -- 8 percent of their incomes -- as baby boomers, who are saving an average of 9 percent. And in the past 12 months, millennials are saving a higher percentage of their incomes than baby boomers when it comes to 401(k) contributions.
The research is based on online interviews with 1,505 millennials and 514 baby boomers with 401(k)s, and includes both workers and retirees.
Overall, millennials in the study report they are in surprisingly good financial shape. Eighty-eight percent say they are living within their means and 74 percent are more comfortable saving and investing extra money than spending it. However, many millennials are pessimistic about Social Security: Sixty percent expect Social Security to go bankrupt before they retire.
Here’s what else the survey reveals:
Millennials like to save, and they’d save more if they could.
Saving for retirement and paying down debt are equally important to millennials, who rank both goals as a top priority. For those who say they are not saving enough, 23 percent cited student loans as a major contributing factor.
Millennials like auto-enrollment plans.
Seventy-nine percent of the millennials who were auto-enrolled in 401(k) plans were satisfied with auto-enrollment. When it comes to 401(k) matches, 59 percent of millennials set their 401(k) contribution rate to take full advantage of their employers’ matches.
They’re open to advice and more likely to ask for help if they need it.
If faced with a sudden financial emergency, 55 percent of millennials said they’d seek the help of family and friends, compared to 24 percent of baby boomers. Millennials were also much more likely to admit they could benefit from help with spending and debt management.
They find it hard to save when they make less money.
Non-savers made less money and carried more student debt. The median personal income of non-savers was $28,000, compared to $57,000 for savers. Thirty-nine percent of the non-savers have trouble meeting their monthly expenses.
Men save more.
Millennial women are less likely to save in 401(k)s, even if they are eligible, and when they do, they save less than men. The average 401(k) balance for women participating in their 401(k) is $38,000, compared to an average 401(k) balance of $74,000 for men. Of those who are already participating in 401(k)s, only 41 percent of the savers are women.
Related link: Here Are 7 Ways People Screw Up Their 401(k)s
The federal budget deficit rose by 16 percent in the first nine months of the 2018 fiscal year, which began last October. The shortfall came to $607 billion, compared to $523 billion in the same period the year before, according to a U.S. Treasury report released Thursday and reported by Bloomberg. Both revenue and spending rose, but spending rose faster. Revenues came to $2.54 trillion, up 1.3 percent from the same nine-month period in 2017, while spending came to $3.15 trillion, up 3.9 percent.
Pennsylvania’s insurance commissioner sent a letter this week to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma requesting that they “immediately release the funding details for the Navigator program for the upcoming open enrollment period for 2019.” Navigators are the state and local groups that help people sign up for Affordable Care Act plans.
“In years past, grant applications and new funding opportunities were released by CMS in April, CMS required Navigator organizations to apply by June and approved applications and new funding by late August,” Pennsylvania’s Jessica Altman wrote. “The current lack of guidance has put Navigator organizations – and states - far behind in their planning and creates an inability for the Navigator organizations to design a successful plan for helping people enroll during the 2019 open enrollment period.”
U.S. fertility rates have fallen to record lows for two straight years. “Because the fertility rate subtly shapes many major issues of the day — including immigration, education, housing, the labor supply, the social safety net and support for working families — there’s a lot of concern about why today’s young adults aren’t having as many children,” Claire Cain Miller explains at The New York Times’ Upshot. “So we asked them.”
Here are some results of the Times’ survey, conducted with Morning Consult. Read the full Times story for more details.
Gallup says that, for the first time in the 18 years it’s been asking U.S. adults how proud they are to be Americans, fewer than half say they are "extremely proud." Just 47 percent now say they’re extremely proud, down from 70 percent in 2003.
Another 25 percent say they’re “very proud” — but the combined 72 percent who say they’re extremely or very proud is also the lowest Gallup has recorded. Pride levels among liberals and Democrats have plunged since 2017. Overall, 74 percent of Republicans and just 32 percent of Democrats call themselves “extremely proud” to be American.