Millennials Say This Is Their Biggest Financial Mistake

Millennials’ finances are often scrutinized, and they have faced an uphill battle as a generation. But what do they think has been their biggest financial mistake?

Millennials’ uphill financial battles have been well-documented. According to reporting by Politico, they’re “behind in almost every economic dimension,” and the ratio of how much they have invested in assets like 401(k) plans to their income is below Gen X and Boomers and is projected to remain that way. Of course, their massive student loan debt is partly to blame. When we looked at their biggest financial priorities last year, paying off their debt or student loans was at the top of their lists, followed by paying for or saving for college or graduate school. These top two priorities feed off one another and have pushed other goals, like buying a house, purchasing a car, and starting a family, further down the list. Graduating into the recession has also made them an incredibly cautious generation, with a risk-averse attitude that has held many back from investing. It’s a perfect cocktail of financial regrets.

Even those who have made the “right” moves are feeling anxious. According to Bank of the West, nearly 70% of Millennial homeowners regret buying their house, with about 40% saying they made the wrong financial choices when buying their house. What else does the generation wish they had done differently when it comes to money matters? In our recent survey on their personal finances, we asked 18-36-year-olds, “What is the biggest mistake you've made or regret you have regarding your finances?” Here are their 13 most common responses:

*This was an open-end response question to allow us to capture the full range of Millennials’ financial regrets right now—without our preconceived ideas shaping their responses. As…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

Quote of the Day: “Retail should be a facilitator for experience, rather than just selling product.”—Sharmandean Reid, Founder, Wah Nails London (YPulse)

Millennials seeking portable booze are cracking open canned wine. Even though the category still only accounts for less than 1% of the Millennial-favorite alcoholic beverages’ market, Nielsen reports it spiked 69% last year and continues to gain ground. An exec at Delicato Family Wines explains, “Millennials have grown up in a world where consuming wine outdoors—or any location outside of the traditional table—is more acceptable than generations past.” (Wine Spectator)

Summer camps are cropping up to teach kids how to become YouTubers. At I-D Tech Camps, Level Up, and Star Camps, kids can learn all about how to, as the latter puts it, “Become an Internet sensation.” They offer courses in how to create and post videos, from shooting clips to editing audio, and how to build their personal brand. But don’t worry, most are framing YouTubing as a hobby, not a career, and setting kids’ expectations accordingly. (WSJ)

A new bill could change the free-to-play profit model that’s made games like Fortnite top earners. Senators have proposed the official ban of “loot boxes,” or items that players can buy (and sometimes must buy) to win a video game, often gambling on what’s inside. Senator Ed Markey explains that “Inherently manipulative game features that take advantage of kids and turn play time into pay time should be out of bounds.” For some, this will eliminate a key revenue stream and open the door to review other in-game purchases.  (The Verge)

A social media overhaul upped Corn Nuts’ sales by 12%—with no paid support.The snack’s sales were stagnant before a new exec took over their Twitter, infusing it with the personable tone food brands have become known for (and sometimes notorious for). Since then, followers spiked from 650 to 21,000, and what they’re calling a “scrappy” strategy “absolutely translated to sales,” reporting that retail sales spiked 12% and Millennials’ repeat purchases rose the same percentage. (Marketing Dive)

The retail apocalypse continues, with 7,000 more stores closing their doors in 2019. CoStar Group estimates that the square footage of retail space closed has topped its own record each year since 2017, and this year they’re “predicting more of the same.” PayLess ShoeSource, Gymboree, Dressbarn, and Charlotte Russe lead the list of number stores planned to shutter this year, as retailers learn to scale down size and up Experiencification for young shoppers. (Business Insider

Quote of the Day: “It’s a really interesting time at the moment in catalog [music]…Sometimes, it’s a question of how we make something out of nothing.”—Tim Fraser-Harding, President, Global Catalogue, Recorded Music at Warner Music Group (Rolling Stone)

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