Younger Millennials Carry Half the Debt of Older Peers
NEW YORK ( MainStreet) Younger Millennials are carrying half of the debt their older peers are, according to a recent PNC financial survey.
The survey examined the financial habits of the younger Millennials (or those are who are 20 years old to 24 years old) compared to the older group, who are 25 years old to 29 years old.
Out of the respondents claiming to hold debt, the younger set carried just half or $17,100 in debt compared to their older peers who have $35,600 in debt. Nearly one-third of the younger set carried no debt. However, only one in five of the older
Another key finding from the survey showed that among respondents with some level of college education, the average Millennial reported his debt came in at $31,800, a noteworthy 30% drop from $45,400 in 2011.
"Financial maturity in this generation has noticeably shifted," said Cary Guffey, financial advisor at PNC Wealth Management. "Younger Millennials just entered adulthood when the economy shifted downward and as a result, it's clear they've become more cautious by avoiding debt."
The categories of debt also varied between the two groups. In the older set, debt amounts were reported at double, triple and quadruple that of their younger peers when it came to car loans, credit cards and mortgages, respectively. One category where both age groups fall in step with one another is education since about 40% claim to hold debt from student loans regardless of their age.
Millennials are also facing more obstacles to obtaining debt since the Credit Card Act of 2009 requires consumers to be at least 21 years old to obtain a credit card or have it co-signed.
"I'm not surprised by the results since it's become more and more difficult to obtain credit, especially for the younger group surveyed," said Jeff Golding, CEO of WilliamPaid, a Chicago-based company that allows people to build credit through paying their rent online. "Older adults can't or don't want to co-sign for their adult children, thus limiting the amount of debt that the younger group can accumulate. The "older" half that was surveyed may or may not have graduate school loans, which surely could skew the numbers. However, it's safe to say that obtaining credit is more of a challenge in today's world."
While the debt numbers are declining, the number of Millennials who are saving their money has dropping by 6% since PNC's 2011 survey. However, the younger respondents said they are more likely to save (90%) than their older peers (83%), and they are doing so with a larger proportion of their annual income for short and long-term saving combined (59%) than the older set (52%).
"The sooner they start to save, the greater the likelihood they can have a good retirement," Guffey said. "The earlier they start those financial habits, the better they will succeed since time is on your side. If you learn to be a saver in your 20s, it is easier to reach your goal than waiting until you are in your 30s or 40s."