They're not all spoiled and selfish. Millennials have learned a lot from Baby Boomers, and that's a good thing.
Don’t call millennials young and immature. They might actually be “old souls” — especially when it comes to money.
A recent survey from life insurance company Northwestern Mutual concludes “millennials are a mix between old souls and young idealists,” and — when it comes to finances — millennials are more likely to mimic the habits of their grandparents than any other generation, including their own parents.
“Members of Generation Y have some exceptionally good instincts when it comes to planning,” said Rebekah Barsch, VP of planning and sales at Northwestern Mutual, in a statement. “They’re inclined to set goals and are pretty hard on themselves about how they’re doing against them. They’re savers, and they recognize that requires discipline.”
Here are the biggest similarities highlighted by Northwestern Mutual…
1. They’re conservative.
Millennials are better savers than their parents, probably because they grew up with fresh memories of the recession, and may have even had to watch parents lose their homes in the housing crisis.
In another survey by TD Bank, which asked Americans about their saving and spending habits, 56 percent of millennials described themselves as being “good savers,” while baby boomers came in second at 48 percent. Millennials also reported being twice as confident as their parents’ generation in their ability to save enough for a comfortable retirement.
2. They’re disciplined.
Millennials are also the most diligent generation about checking their budgets, according to TD Bank. While 44 percent of all Americans check their budget once a week or more, 53 percent of millennials say they do.
They’re also hard on themselves, being twice as likely as other generations to say that they’re not responsible enough when it comes to finances. And they’re willing to plan ahead — almost half have spoken to their partner, friends, family, or financial adviser about planning for retirement.
3. They’re realistic about setting goals and taking responsibility.
Millennials know that, for the most part, they’ll be on their own for retirement. They’re prepared to take responsibility for it, too — 73 percent said they expect to be working past age 65 because Social Security won’t take care of their needs.
But while they may be working longer, it’s not necessarily something that they’re dreading, according to a survey released by Mindflash, an online course development company. Mindflash asked millennials what they found the most surprising aspect of working in the real world. Most expressed a desire to learn more from the company they worked for.
An overwhelming majority of them — 88 percent — were willing to “sacrifice anything from vacations to coffee habits to train themselves in the skills needed to compete in the workforce today.” (They’ll probably grow out of it.)
What they can learn from each other
While it’s great that millennials are confident in their ability to budget and plan for the future, it’s also important to recognize that they can learn a lot about impulse spending from their grandparents. When it came to retail spending, 69 percent of millennials admitted to making impulsive buying decisions. Meanwhile, less than half of boomers said the same.
On the other hand, baby boomers were the least likely to keep track of a budget; only 37 percent said they checked a budget weekly, compared to 53 percent for millennials. Boomers can benefit by learning how to use banking or financial apps, said Bakhshi of TD Bank.
“Even if you don’t actively budget today, the ease of these new financial apps can provide a great point of entry for controlling spending and managing savings,” she said.