In some key financial measures, millennials are killing it, thanks in part to the turbulent times in which they came of age.
“Millennials were given a front-row seat to the financial crisis,” said Hallie Kraus, a financial adviser in San Francisco.
“Many of us witnessed our parents struggle to pay the bills after getting laid off,” Kraus said. “Through these experiences, we were taught a unique set of lessons about money.”
Here are just a few ways millennials — a group that reaches from their mid-20s to nearly 40 — are getting it right when it comes to their finances.
They know their worth. A 2018 report from Bank of America found that millennials were far more likely to ask for a raise than those in other generations. And when millennials made the request, they got paid. A whopping 46% of millennials had asked for a raise in the past two years, and 80% of those who asked for a raise got one, according to the report. Advocating for better pay is an important habit to build early in your career.
They are saving for retirement, early. Among millennials who are saving (73%), 3 of 4 are putting money away for retirement, according to a 2020 report from Bank of America. Those who are saving for retirement started at age 24, on average — earlier than boomers and Gen-Xers, who started at ages 33 and 30, respectively.
“Despite common stereotypes about this generation, significantly more millennials are saving for the future,” said Andrew Plepler, global head of environmental, social and governance at Bank of America. “These habits are encouraging and build on positive trends we’ve seen in recent years.”
They are focused on credit. Nearly 40% of millennials improved their credit score in the past year, according to Bank of America’s 2020 survey. Other generations were less likely to claim a credit boost, Plepler says, noting the figures were 29% for Gen Z, 36% for Gen X and 31% for baby boomers.
“Millennials are practicing positive money habits day to day, and they’re moving closer to their goals because of it,” Plepler said. “[They] are also being practical and reserved when it comes to their financial choices.”
These gains are important, as the average millennial’s FICO score still falls in the “good” range at 668, according to credit reporting agency Experian; that’s on par with Gen Z and X, but far behind the older boomer generation (which boasts an average score of 731).