Millennials Sound Off: Their Biggest Financial Priority Right Now

We asked 800 18-33-year-olds to tell us their biggest financial priority at this point in their lives…

When we ask Millennials how they feel when they think about money, optimistic is the response chosen most (33%), followed by fortunate (32%)—but just as many also say they feel nervous (32%) and overwhelmed (31%). Clearly, their feelings on finances are complicated.

The Bank of America Merrill Lynch reports that Millennials’ income will triple over the next 15 years, and we know they’re already outspending Boomers in multiple categories. That being said, it’s no secret that their finances are a major concern for them. The generation graduated into the Great Recession, and not only are they still in recovery mode, their financial behavior and priorities have been forever changed by the economic event. A survey of 18-34-year-olds by website GOBankingRates found that a “majority of young adults are prioritizing their finances over their social lives." Over half of Millennials surveyed would rather experience “FOMO” (fear of missing out) than be “financially strained,” and almost 60% say that if going to an event would put financial strain on their loved ones, it’s not worth it.

Of course, their financial priorities have also been impacted by their formative years during economically unstable times—as evidenced by their delay of major life milestones like moving out of their parents’ houses, weddings, buying houses and cars, and having babies. But those big events are being tackled as their financial situations improve, prompting us to wonder what their financial priorities are today. In our most recent survey on personal finance, we asked them to tell us, and 800 18-33-year-olds responded to the question, “What is the biggest financial priority at this point in your life right now?”…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“I move around every few years so it would be a huge hassle to have to buy and sell property so frequently.”—Female, 28, IN

Gen Z will spend the most on rent of any generation, but Millennials aren’t far behind. HotPads estimates that 2-20-year-olds will spend $226,000 on rent before they buy a home and 24-38-year-olds will ring in at $202,000. Despite the difference, Gen Z will own their first home one year earlier than Millennials because they’ll have “a stronger job market than [M]illennials”—but, despite the myths, they are buying homes in greater numbers. PS: Los Angeles tops the list of where young demos will spend the most on rent. (Business Insider)

What’s behind board games' popularity today? The NPD Group found that board games grew 8% compared to the toy industry’s overall growth of 8% in the past year and has “no signs of slowing down.” Digital detoxing plays a part, as more Millennial parents worry about their kids’ screen time and seek toys that foster face-to-face relationships. But despite the analog appeal, games are also getting high-tech and the word-of-mouth media they receive propels social media-friendly games like Pie Face to the top of toy charts. (Kidscreen)

Parents still have the most influence over kids today, but online celebrities are also top role models. Mintel research found that 86% of 6-17-year-olds say their parents are among their top role models, 62% say teachers, and 41% say siblings. But the top kind of celebrity that gets added to the category are social media celebrities at 35%, followed closely by musicians and athletes. Only 22% said actors were among their top role models and just 16% said the President. (MediaPost)

Disney has a new beverage to fill your Instagram feed: The Purple Wall Slushie. The Millennial & Gen Z-loved company has had no problem coming up with social media-friendly items, from Baby Groot bread to a viral Beauty and the Beast-inspired tumbler, and now they’ve rolled out a boba and taro beverage at Disney World. The Purple Wall is a famous destination to snap a pic for social media in the Magic Kingdom, and this slushy is made specifically to match up with the wall (and monetize on it). (POPSUGARInsider)

Speaking of Instagrammability, the Space Needle’s new, clear benches are sure to make for a thrilling photo op. The iconic viewing deck for the Seattle skyline has been in the midst of a makeover to create a better (and decidedly more social media-worthy) viewing experience. A metal base and caging has been replaced with a high glass wall from floor to sky, and so-called “skyrisers” will let visitors sit right on the edge of it all—and snap a selfie. (Curbed)

“People have been planning outfits since the start of the year [for prom].”—Male, 15, NC

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