Millennials may have their elders beat on the computer, but they have a few things to learn about finances. Here are four areas where millennials fall short economically.
1. Building credit
Sixty-three percent of millennials ages 18 to 29 don’t have credit cards, says a recent study by Bankrate.com.
While debit cards and student loans surely contribute to this lack of credit cards, some experts think it has more to do with fear than anything else, Bankrate.com says. David Pommerehn of the Consumer Bankers Association points out, according to Bankrate, that millennials grew up when the economy failed and debt was heavy on the mind.
But it’s not as if millennials are completely averse to debt. The Project on Student Debt reported in December that 71 percent of students graduated last year with an average of $29,400 in student loan debt.
Bankrate.com reported, however, that many financial experts believe avoiding credit cards is not an option because they help build credit rapidly.
“Good [credit] scores,” says Bankrate.com’s Jeanine Skowronski, “qualify a consumer for insurance policies, cellphone plans and even certain employment opportunities. They are also the key to securing home, auto and other loans at affordable rates.”
So whether millennials choose credit cards or student loans, they need to build their credit scores somehow.
Only 28 percent of millennials believe long-term investing is necessary to their future financial success, says a January UBS Investor Watch Report. The same report says that less than 30 percent of their assets are in stocks. And a recent Bankrate survey says that 69 percent of millennials have a low familiarity with CDs.
But don’t go sounding the alarm just yet. The National Endowment for Financial Education’s Paul Goldan points out that unfamiliarity with financial products is normal, says Bankrate.com. "Many wouldn't go explore CD options until they had money sitting around that they want to save and earn interest on," he says.
So while millennials may not be good at investing right now, proclaiming their financial doom might be jumping the gun.
3. Moving out
Over 50 percent of those ages 18 to 24 lived with their parents in 2013, reported Trulia, and that’s excluding the full-time college students. Even more surprising is that almost 15 percent of those ages 25 to 34 are still at home as well, according to Trulia’s assessment of the census data.
The Atlantic’s Peter Bell and Nancy Cook point to the recovering economy for explanation. “Even in July 2014, roughly five years after the recession officially ended, millennials between the ages of 20 and 24 still suffered from an unemployment rate above 10 percent,” they wrote.
So millennials at home might be something more than just laziness.
Social media might lead people to believe that millennials are pretty trusting, but a Pew Research Center study released in March that found that only 19 percent of millennials think “most people can be trusted.” On the other hand, 30 to 40 percent of the participants from other generations trusted “most people.”
It’s not just people that millennials distrust, though. In a three-year study of 73 companies and 15 industries, the Millennial Disruption Index found, “All four of the leading banks are among the ten least loved brands by millennials.” And about half of millennials believe that tech start-ups will reinvent the banking industry, according to the study.
Which doesn’t spell despair for all banks, apparently. “Community banks are trying to capitalize on this distrust,” wrote Bell and Cook from The Atlantic, “by beefing up their technology offerings, social media, mobile banking, and customer service in an effort to attract more millennial customers.”
So if you’re a small business owner, the new distrusting generation might just be your new best friend.