Millennials have arguably been dealt a trickier hand in life to deal with than their parents; we’ve got ever-increasing rent and house prices to contend with, pretty much no final salary pension schemes to prop ourselves up with in retirement – if we’re ever able to retire that is – and through university tuition fees we’ve had to pay for the privilege of further education.
But I’m pleased to say it’s not all doom and gloom, at least not according to research published earlier this year.
A survey of more than 2,000 people aged 18 to 34 carried out by the Social Market Foundation for Tesco Bank in November and December 2016 found that the “pessimistic and negative assessment” that’s often reported about us young’un’s futures doesn’t appear to have scared us too much.
Six in 10 believe their financial prospects are better or the same as their parents. Four in 10 (41%) agreed with the statement ‘my financial prospects are better than my parents’ financial prospects when they were my age’ and only three in 10 (31%) disagreed, while a further three in 10 neither agreed nor disagreed or were unsure.
The report goes on to say that millennials strive for financial independence and many are making progress towards their financial goals – 25% have built up savings and 23% own a home. Plus, the majority who weren’t homeowners were confident that they would be in the future.
We millennials even have the power for long-term planning, would you believe. The study found that the financial goals most frequently cited by millennials include owning a home (91%) and having a rainy day fund (89%).
The bank said this focus on rainy day savings ahead of putting money aside for holidays, in particular, implies the caricature of millennials as the YOLO – You Only Live Once Generation – is “not a fair reflection of their priorities”.
I wholeheartedly agree. Millennials are often portrayed as frittering away their cash on experiences such as gap years, festivals, and partying, rather than focusing on long-term savings goals, such as buying a house or starting a pension.
One Australian millionaire and real estate mogul even had the audacity to say recently (as reported by The Guardian) that the reason YOLO millennials can’t afford a home is because they’re eating too much avocado on toast and buying too many skinny lattes!
Now don’t get me a wrong, I’m a firm believer that crushed avocado is the best thing since the toasted sliced bread it’s slathered on top of – but that’s such a negative stereotype of our generation when many of us are clearly trying to achieve our financial goals.
However, while I’m pleased to hear many millennials are reaching their financial goals, sadly, some of us still need a helping hand. The survey found that 50% of millennials receive regular help from their parents or their wider family. Of those who do receive support, the most common forms of assistance are for unexpected emergencies (17%), paying for accommodation (17%), utility bills (16%) and paying for groceries and clothes (16%) – not an avocado on toast in sight, I may add.
This help is more likely to go to younger millennials, while older millennials are more likely to receive help in the form of larger one-off transfers for a house or wedding, according to Tesco Bank.
I just hope that even those who currently rely on parental or family support can look forward to financial independence that’s not too far off in the distance.