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: “I actively avoid discussions of TV shows.”—Male, 31, MI

Networks are launching an onslaught of new streaming services to compete with the likes of Netflix and Hulu. CBS, Disney, and now Warner Media are hopping on the bandwagon to compete for young cord-cutters' viewing time. The digital switch makes sense, considering 74% of 13-36-year-olds told Ypulse they watch Netflix weekly, versus 33% who watch cable weekly. But one eMarketer analyst predicts this over-saturation in the streaming wars will lead to “a shakeout," in which companies will be weeded out unless they consolidate their offerings. (THR)

Macy’s is putting virtual reality in 90 stores, with the “largest VR rollout in retail history.” Shoppers can don HTC Vive VR headsets to create 3D floor plans, design their living spaces, deck them out with Macy’s furniture, and then take a step inside of the room. The retail tech enables smaller Macy’s stores to offer a lot more inventory to shoppers, and follows in the footsteps of other reality-bending home décor brands. And, according to Macy’s, VR sales were 60% higher than regular sales in their three pilot stores. (MediaPost)

Prada is plotting a comeback among young consumers. They’ve been slow to adapt to digital, but now the luxury company is emphasizing Instagram and aiming to grow their online sales, which were just 5% in early 2018. While investors applaud Prada’s dive into digital, they also believe the brand needs to shutter several stores—not just to increase “profitability” but to create “the illusion of scarcity.” Prada also has to recover from being late to the luxury streetwear game. (Bloomberg)

Some teens are opting for technical school over four-year universities. At Queens Tech, high schoolers are trained to take on non-desk jobs, like being an electrical engineer or working for public transit companies. Earning a high paycheck that isn’t chipped away by student debt is helping to overcome the societal stigma of skipping college. According to one Queens Tech student, “If you’re a construction worker, you may get paid the same as a doctor, but you don’t look as good.” (Vice)

Don't expect to see macho men and swooning women in grooming brands' latest ads. Instead, companies across the industry are toning down the machismo for Millennial & Gen Z males. Some are blurring gender lines, like Dollar Shave Club, whose “Get Ready” spots debunked stereotypes by not just casting straight, cis males. Other brands are betting modern men are more in touch with their emotions, like Gillette, who shared the touching story of a man’s son becoming an NFL linebacker, despite missing one hand.
(Ad Age)

Quote of the Day: “[Zendaya] is such a beautiful human being and I grew up watching her on the Disney Channel.”—Female, 18, TX

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