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

“As a graphic designer, without the arts being available to me in school I would have been lost as a child and where to take my career path. The fact that schools are cutting art programs is heartbreaking.”—Female, 24, NJ

Applebee’s is putting down the sriracha and giving up on trying to appeal to Millennials. The brand has decided their newer menu items—like a “triple pork bonanza” sandwich—and attempt at a “modern bar and grill” reinvention has “alienate[d]” Boomers and Gen Xers. They’re shutting down more than 130 restaurants and bringing back initiatives from before their attempted “pendulum swing towards millennials,” all-you-can-eat specials and 2-for-$20 deals. Other brands are creating new spin off chains to appeal to fast-casual lovingMillennials, that “[lack] the associated baggage of the old.” (Inc, NPR)

Adults-only ball pits, bouncy houses, and giant slides are sweeping the U.K. Millennials seeking a break from adulthood are flocking to places like Wacky World’s “massive bouncy-castle obstacle course,” which started out as a children’s event. The founder received so many requests that now every event has an 18-and-over slot, and has expanded to 19 cities. This “trend for arrested development activities” is caused by nostalgia, but the influx of marketing and branding leveraging the emotion could be popularizing these playgrounds for adults. (The Guardian)

Facebook is responding to the trend of asking for birthday charitable donations by integrating it right into the platform. Users in the U.S. can now trade in all the “HBD”s they get on Facebook for donations to the cause of their choice: well-wishers will be notified of the birthday along with the selected non-profit, and get the chance to donate. Facebook will ask users which charity they wish to dedicate their day to two weeks in advance, allowing them to choose from 750,000 organizations. (TNW)

Appear Here is the Airbnb of pop-up shops, giving brands their perfect temporary store for the new era of retail. The company finds short term retail space, and has worked with big-name brands like Nike and Net-a-Porter to open “experimental activations” or “test new products.” As brick-and-mortar continues to suffer and long-term stores close, Appear Here says physical retail is still needed, but to “tell a story.” The pop-up industry was valued at $50 billion in 2015, and provides a more low-risk, flexible option to avoid the retail wasteland. (Glossy)

Millennials & Gen Z are turning a profit online and on mobile by re-selling their retail. Thredup, Poshmark, and Depop are just a few of the most popular brands cashing in on the resale economy’s $18 billion market, and some shoppers say they are making $300 a week on the platforms. Some are also using social to sell, often in conjunction with apps or sites, including Snapchat, Facebook Groups, and Instagram. College students on a budget are reportedly especially drawn to resale, thanks to convenience, value, and access to luxury at a lower price. (FN)

“Adult means being entirely independent. I pay my own bills, make all decisions in my life, and feel very in control.”—Male, 20, NY

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