New Survey Vindicates Millennials’ Money Habits

Generational narratives are hard to shake, for good and ill. If you're a millennial, you've likely heard all about how you're bad with money, entitled at the office, and all around insufferable to the olds. The facts tell a different story, however — assuming we can get ourselves to listen.

Bank of America releases its Better Money Habits Millennials Report about once a year; the Winter 2018 survey just came out, and we may be doing better as a cohort than we think. Nearly two-thirds of us are actively saving up (63 percent) and feeling financially secure (59 percent), while more than half of us use a budget (54 percent) and have a savings goal (57 percent). We're also persisting: We come through for our savings and budgeting goals about two-thirds of the time every month or most months. Almost half of us have socked away at least $15,000, and about 1 in 6 of us have saved at least $100,000.

We're up against some pretty rough forces still, it's true. Among our biggest financial worries are debt, health care costs, being unable to save for a home, job loss, instability, and simply not saving or planning enough. Our worst critics, however, are ourselves. Three-quarters of respondents said millennials overspend, especially on unnecessary indulgences, while nearly two-thirds agreed that we're not good with money.

And yet we blow past other generations when it comes to asking for a raise — nearly half of us have done so in the last two years. Eighty percent of those who asked got the raise too. We're pessimistic about work-life balance and we're already worried we're locked into a career we don't love, but the numbers show we should give ourselves more credit. If you're still not convinced, consider this silver lining: No matter what your generation or your age, it's never too late to choose healthier financial habits.