Group had less help from parents, learned more on their own than their more successful counterparts.

Feeling stuck in a financial rut? You’re not alone, as millennials who are struggling financially are finding it harder to improve their condition compared to their non-broke counterparts.

The Center for The New Middle Class reported in a study that those who are struggling with money (“non-prime” millennials) were not taught as often as their more successful peers (“prime” millennials) and instead have had to rely on teaching themselves. All of that leads to over half reporting their finances stress them out, and a fourth of the group feeling like they have no control over things that happen to them.

So how did those having trouble get to such a low point? Look at how their parents did (or in this case did not) teach them as a child.

Equal efforts, different results

Both prime and nonprime millennials put about the same effort into researching their own finances, with 47 and 44 percent respectively reading up on money. But despite this, the real difference is how parents have taught each group.

Early learning does matter for success:

  • 61 percent of prime millennials say they learned from the example set by their parents, compared to 49 percent of their broke counterparts.
  • One-in-three of the more successful generation members say their parents were active in teaching them financial management skills. Only one-in-five of the non-prime millennials received the same type of help.
  • This leads broke millennials to winging it on their own, with 72 percent using trial-and-error to learn about finance. Tinkering without knowledge leads to many nonprime millennials finding themselves in a hole.

While over half of all parents may believe false or misleading information about finances, those who are able to teach their kids well will leave them with a better chance of succeeding.

Future optimism

Despite their current outlook, millennials who struggle forever don’t feel like they will be stuck in the same situation moving forward.

Both prime and nonprime millennials feel they will meet their longterm goals for financial security, with 47 percent saying they are confident they’ll be fine in the future. That’s higher than both baby boomers and Generation X, who clock in at 32 and 35 percent respectively.

They also feel ready to meet the needs of a future job market in 10 years, as 66 percent of nonprime millennials feel they are prepared. That’s slightly higher than their more successful counterparts, of which 64 percent think they will be ready.

Getting an upper hand

A lack of education is how most millennials who are nonprime landed in their current situation, but you or your kids don’t have to end up the same way.

For one, talking to your kids about finance is important and can help put you on realistic terms of what dealing with finances is like. Most Americans struggle with financial literacy, so make sure that you are aware of any shortcomings you have and learn so your children don’t pick up your bad habits.

If you’re not sure where to start with children, making learning easy and fun from a young age can set them up better than other kids who don’t learn.  If you give them the knowledge, they can avoid the mistakes that put millennials in a hole in the first place.

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Meet the Author

Ryan Lynch

Ryan Lynch


Lynch is a freelance writer for

Budgeting & Saving

millennials, parents, save money

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Article last modified on August 30, 2017 Published by, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: Broke Millennials Can't Crawl Out from Financial Hole - AMP.