Millennial Money Research

Millennial Money Note: As part of this blog I am interested in both sharing my experiences and studying how Millennials use and think about money. Millennials are widely believed to be the most studied generation in history (thank you digital surveys) and there is a growing body of research on Millennial Money issues. I have spent a lot of time reading these reports to find the best ones. There are certainly common trends in these reports – as Millennials we are clearly optimistic and opportunistic when it comes to money.

To learn more about The Millennial Generation check out some of the most recent research on the behaviors, attitudes, purchasing patterns, and general awesomeness of our generation. There is an incredible wealth of data that puts the uniqueness of our generation in perspective and more are being released every day. If you happen to be a researcher or college student writing a paper on the Millennials I hope this is the treasure trove of Millennial research reports you were searching for. You can thank me in the comments!

I will work to update this frequently when I find new reports worth sharing. Feel free to send me a link to any research you think should be featured here through the contact page. All reports are listed in reverse chronological order – with the newest at the top. To keep up to date on new Millennial research follow @millennialmoney on Twitter where I share new reports, data, and research frequently.

Millennial Money Research Reports

Bank of America/USA TODAY Better Money Habits Millennial Report, Bank of America (Fall 2015). This is the third installment of Bank of America’s Millennial Money report (the last one was just released earlier this spring. There are some positive findings in here about the money habits of Millennials including that 84% feel “somewhat” or “very confident” in managing their own personal finances, but 43% still feel like they are not putting enough money into savings. The data in this report compares survey responses to the report released a year ago and most of the results reveal that as a whole Millennials are managing their money more effectively than last year – but overall most Millennials still remain stressed about their finances.

The Auto Savings Generation: Steering Millennials to Better Retirement Outcomes, Vanguard Research (October 2015). Due to the increase in auto-enrollment in 401K plans, most Millennials who have access to a 401K plan are now saving for retirement. Most Millennials are investing directly in Target Date Retirement Funds which have high equity exposure due to the long retirement horizon – so despite having grown up during two bear markets Millennials are still investing and believe in stock investing. Unfortunately, most Millennials still aren’t saving enough (generally only between 4.8-5% of their salary is being put into a 401k).

Now Streaming: The Millennial Journey from Saving to Retirement, J.P. Morgan Chase. (September 2015). This report is exceptional and one of the best that we have seen about Millennial money issues – including saving, investing, and waiting for certain life milestones like getting married and having kids. All of the research is also backed up by practical examples of how Millennials think about money and the current financial climate that is influencing Millennial attitudes and opinions. This is not only a report, it is also a blueprint that Millennials can use to build a wealth-building strategy. J.P. Morgan Chase has packed this report with both results from a survey on Millennials and also a number of savings guidelines and investment recommendations. Key Quote on how Millennials can build wealth: “It starts with a plan to put 4%-9% of pre-tax income into retirement accounts each year, starting at age 25. For affluent millennials, the range would be 9%-14%; and for high net worth millennials, 14%-18%.”

Retirement Saving & Spending Study – T. Rowe Price (June 2015). In this comprehensive report, T. Rowe Price surveyed 401k users on their attitudes and behaviors with money. The survey that included 1,505 Millennials revealed generally positive news – 75% of Millennials track their expenses, 67% stick to a budget, and 40% have increased their 401k savings in the last 12 months. Unfortunately, the survey also revealed that very few Millennials are saving the recommended 15% of their income in their 401k, but this will likely increase as Millennial salaries increase over time. Another interesting data point: 11% of Millennials have used Robo-advisors like Betterment. To read more about the Millennial results from this survey read the summary here.

Myths, exaggerations and uncomfortable truths: The real story behind Millennials in the workplace, IBM Institute for Business Value. (2015). This is a must-read for any company that employs large groups of Millennials. In this study of Millennials in the workplace IBM debunks “5 Myths” about Millennials and determines that in many ways Millennials are a lot like members of other generations. The survey compares Millennial responses with those of members of Generation X and the Baby Boomers and highlights some key takeaways for better ways to engage with Millennials in the workplace.

The 2015 Deloitte Millennial survey, Deloitte (2015). There is an insane amount of information packed in this 25-page Executive Summary of the fourth annual Deloitte Millennial survey, which is based off a survey of 7,800 Millennials across 29 countries. While the presentation of the data in this report is a little confusing there is an interesting analysis of how Millennials differ in their attitudes around the globe. Most Millennial reports only focus on the United States so this is the unique angle in the Deloitte report.

Bank of America/USA TODAY Better Money Habits Millennial Report, Bank of America (Spring 2015). Over the past several years Bank of America has partnered with the Khan Academy to offer personal finance advice and lessons. In this report Bank of America analyze not only the money habits of Millennials but also their parents and present their findings through accessible infographics. Most of the report focuses on how Millennials and other generations are teaching their children about money, but the sections that we found most interesting were on what Millennials are saving for – and the most prevalent response was 64% of Millennials are saving first for an emergency fund/cushion – over the only 42% who stated they are saving for retirement.

The Millennial Impact Report 2015 – Cause, Influence, & The Next Generation Workforce, Research by Achieve and The Case Foundation (2015). This report highlights how Millennials are reshaping the workforce and their involvement with charitable causes. This annual study from The Case Foundation focuses on how Millennial workers are giving back and highlights a continued increase in charitable work aligning with the workplace. Community service projects are on the rise at most companies and are being driven by the Millennial’s desire to give back and make a difference.

A New Perspective on Millennials: Segmenting a Generation for Actionable Insights for Consumer Goods Companies and Retailers, Interbrand Design Forum, Sponsored by Oracle (January 2015). This report examines the changing purchasing patterns, behaviors, and attitudes of Millennials. Key quote: “Accenture estimates that Millennials hold over $600 billion in spending power. With this kind of purchasing power, the generation is quickly becoming the focus for more and more retailers.”

15 Economic Facts About Millennials, The Council of Economic Advisers, Executive Office of The President of The United States (October 2014). This extensive report from the White House examines how Millennials are living their lives and the impact they will have on the US economy in the coming decades.

Millennials Come of Age – An Experian Marketing Services White Paper (June 2014). This report analyzes the ways Millennials are thinking about their lifestyles, values and motivations, and money. Key data point: “The individual earnings income of a typical employed Millennial is $34,100 a year.”

U.S. News Market Insights Millennial Report 2014, U.S. News & World Report. (May 2014). This is a great easy-to-read primer on the Millennials and includes a number of informative and intuitive infographics highlighting how Millennials feel about money and their personal finances. Key data point: “72% of the survey respondents were confident they will be able to save enough to afford the lifestyle they desire.”

The Fidelity Investments Millennial Money Study: Facts, Figures and Findings, Fidelity Investments (April 2014). This report is a collection of data from a survey of 30-year-old Millennials used to measure their attitudes toward money, their parent’s wealth, and retirement. Key data: “The top three issues Millennials are trying to tackle include: accumulating more savings for retirement (52%), paying off credit card debt (41%), and paying off student loans (28%).”

The Financial Capability of Young Adults—A Generational View, FINRA Foundation Financial Capability Insights (March 2014). This report analyzes the low levels of financial literacy across the diverse Millennial population and the differences between younger and older Millennials. Only 20% of Millennials were able to answer basic financial literacy questions.

College-Educated Millennials: An Overview of Their Personal Finances, TIAA-CREF Institute, Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center (February 2014) This exceptional and comprehensive report looks at “key factors associated with Millennials’ personal finances and identifies critical issues for the financial future of the Gen Y population.” Key data point: “69 percent of college-educated Gen-Yers have some form of retirement plan—employment-based, not employment-based, or both.”

How Millennials Are Changing the Face of Marketing Forever, The Boston Consulting Group (2014). This report analyzes the changing attitudes of Millennials and how companies can better market to this massive generational population which will impact the future of the US economy. Key quote: “Millennials expect a two-way, mutual relationship with companies and their brands. We call this the reciprocity principle.”

American Millennials: Deciphering the Enigma Generation, Service Management Group, The Boston Consulting Group, Barkley (2011). This extensive report looks at an older cohort of Millennials who were born between the ages of 1980 and 1995. It includes an analysis of a wide range of topics, including most notably, a discussion about how Millennials are now seeking a wider range of life experiences than previous generations. It is widely known that Millennials are spending money more frequently on experiences rather than material possessions and this report analyzes this new “experience” phenomenon.

Millennials A Portrait of Generation Next: Confident, Connected, Open to Change, Pew Research Center (February 2010). Even though this report is now a few years old it still presents a thorough and valuable look at the Millennial Generation. It is a massive report of 149 pages and includes endless amounts of data about how Millennials engage with technology, religion, work, education, social media, and politics. This is a great starting point to learn about some of the unique attributes of Millennials – including our broad diversity, but common world views.