Millennials Say They Find Financial Planning ‘Exciting’

However, 82% of Millennials say their financial planning needs improvement.

Among the generations in the U.S. workforce, Millennials have the strongest instinct to develop a financial plan—yet they feel the most anxious and insecure that they will get it right, according to Northwestern Mutual’s 2018 Planning & Progress Study.

Twenty-nine percent of Millennials say that financial planning makes them feel “excited and inspired,” compared to 12% of Boomers and 22% of Gen Xers who say the same.

Fifty-seven percent of Millennials say they are either “highly disciplined” or “disciplined” financial planners, compared to 49% of Gen Xers and 45% of Boomers.

However, 82% of Millennials say their financial planning needs improvement, compared to only 79% of Gen Xers and 63% of Boomers. Only 40% of Millennials say they have the right balance in mind on how much they can afford to spend versus how much they should be saving for the future; this compares to 56% of Boomers and 47% of Gen Xers.

Seventy-eight percent of Millennials do not think they have found the right balance between present and future financial responsibilities. That compares with only 74% of Gen Xers and 57% of Boomers.

Twenty-nine percent of Millennials say they feel afraid, uncomfortable or guilty spending money even when they can afford to. This is true for only 22% of Gen Xers and 16% of Boomers.

“Millennials appear to understand more than any other generation the importance of creating a sound financial plan—yet are the least confident they’ve got it right,” says Emily Holbook, director of planning at Northwestern Mutual.

The survey also found that Millennials carry an average of $36,000 in debt and spent 34% of their monthly income paying it down. Boomers also have $36,000 in debt; Gen Xers, $39,000.

The Harris Poll conducted the online survey among 2,003 adults in March.