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

“My generation feels entitled and is less willing to put in hard work to get the results they want.”—Female, 17, VA

CoverGirl is getting a marketing makeover to impress Millennials. The brand is changing up their slogan for the first time since 1997, with “Easy, Breezy, Beautiful Covergirl” getting traded for “I Am What I Make Up.” To go along with the new tagline, an inclusive lineup of new CoverGirls will debut the revamped brand—from 69-year-old Maye Musk to pro motorcycle rider Shelina Moreda. Finally, products will be taking on the Less is More trend with “sleeker, more minimal black and white packaging” and a logo to match—a familiar branding makeover move. (Racked)

Riverdale’s recent premiere pulled impressive ratings, especially among young adults—and the show may have Netflix to thank for it. The Archie-remake grew in popularity by 67% from last winter’s premiere and 140% with women under 35. But it gained the most ground with teens, jumping an impressive 467% from last winter’s premiere, making it the most popular show from The CW among teens since The Vampire Diaries in 2012. The show’s presence on Netflix during the off-season may have helped attract young viewers, allowing them to binge the series and get addicted on their time—The Binge Effect at work. (Vulture)

Essential oils are the latest wellness trend to gain traction, appealing to Millennials’ desire to ease anxiety. The most stressed generation to date is turning to little vials of “something between a perfume and a potion” to calm their minds and remedy simple sicknesses. Companies aren’t missing the opportunity to capitalize on the growing demand. Two major brands, Young Living and doTerra, “have more than three million customers apiece, and a billion dollars in annual sales.” (The New Yorker)

The majority of teachers say that life skills are more important to success today than academics. According to research out of the U.K., more than half of teachers believe so-called “’soft’ skills,” including perseverance, the ability to problem-solve, and communicate effectively are more important than “academic knowledge and technical skills.” Unfortunately, institutions often focus on test scores instead of “social and emotional learning, or character.” The good news is groups are pushing for change and “teaching ‘character’ is taking hold everywhere.” (Quartz)

Throw that “Me, Me, Me Generation” stereotype out the window, because Millennials are probably not any more narcissistic than previous generations. (Sorry, Time Magazine.) A report published in Psychological Science compared students from a ‘90s study with students in the 2000s and 2010s and found that today’s youth are “at best” equally as self-involved as young people of the past, and may actually be less narcissistic. The professor who led the study reports, “The kids are all right. There never was a narcissism epidemic, despite what has been claimed.” (Uproxx)

“My love of video games and knowledge of technology and streaming naturally eased me into the world of esports.”—Female, 23, FL

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