Millennials Fear Financial Security, But Not 401ks

Will have enough to retire comfortably

How are younger workers about the election?How are younger workers about the election?

A national survey taken days after the presidential election found a whole lot of unhappy, and outright frightened, millennials. While much of the attention focused on an alleged increase in bigoted experiences and attacks, far fewer noted the general nervousness over financial security.

The Country Financial Security Index remained largely flat year-over-year from December 2015 to December 2016. However, the score among millennials was the lowest among all the age groups polled. The Silent Generation (ages 65 and over) registered the highest Index score. Excluding millennials, all other age groups were significantly more optimistic about their finances, with their average Index score registering an uptick from a year ago.

The Index examined Americans’ current sentiments of their overall level of personal financial security on a scale of 0-100 with 100 indicating the highest level of security and compares that to previous years.

It also measures Americans’ confidence level in a variety of individual personal finance topics such as their ability to pay back debts, set aside money for savings or investments, and retire comfortably, among others.

“As we transition from the recent election results and head into a new year, we are seeing a mix in confidence among people of all ages as they try to better understand the overall economic outlook and their own personal financial future,” Troy Frerichs, director of wealth management at County Financial, said in a statement. “That is why it’s important to create specific plans tailored to your life stage to help ease any anxiety, for millennials and all other generations, and secure one’s financial objectives early and achievably.”

Millennials uneasy about their overall financial security

When polled about their view on the U.S. economic outlook for 2017 after the outcome of the recent presidential elections, 41 percent of millennials felt that they would be “worse off” than 2016, with close to a third (30 percent) predicting the economy would be “a lot worse off.”

In stark contrast, all other generations felt more optimistic with each generation feeling “better off” than they do “worse off:”

  • Millennials reported feeling 24 percent “better off” vs. 41 percent “worse off”
  • Gen X reported feeling 34 percent “better off” vs. 31 percent “worse off”
  • Baby boomers feeling 33 percent “better off” vs. 27 percent “worse off”
  • Silent Generation feeling 45 percent “better off” vs. 17 percent “worse off”

This uneasy sentiment among millennials is further echoed across a range of questions about their personal finances:

  • Overall financial security: 59 percent of millennial respondents rated their overall level of financial security “fair” or ‘poor’ compared to 37 percent reporting “excellent” or “good.”
  • Savings or investments: Nearly half of millennial respondents (48 percent) reported not being able to set aside any money for savings or investments, while 42 percent of millennials reported that they have set money aside.
  • Ability to pay debts: 29 percent of millennial respondents were not confident or unsure they would be able to pay their debts as they came due, compared with 38 percent of millennials who were “very confident” and 32 percent who were “somewhat confident” that they could.

Millennials became more optimistic when looking at their finances over a longer term. Half of all Millennials respondents (50 percent) felt that it was likely they would have enough money to retire comfortably when the time came, versus 32 percent who thought it was unlikely.

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