Student Loans + Poor Job Market + Social Security = Chronic Stress For Millennials

Dealing with multiple hostile economic trends is beginning to take a toll on the health of Millennials.   Many are finding themselves “chronically stressed” about money and are finding that this impacts other areas of their lives.  BusinessWire.com discusses a recent survey by Bank Of America that sheds some light on this disturbing trend:

A new Bank of America/USA TODAY Better Money Habits Millennial Report released today finds that while 84 percent of millennials are confident in their ability to manage their finances, 41 percent are “chronically stressed” about money. Furthermore, money stress tends to permeate all areas of their lives:

  • Sixty-five percent report that anxiety about money affects their emotional well-being.
  • Nearly half (49 percent) say it affects their personal relationships.
  • More than half (55 percent) say their leisure activities/interests are impacted.
  • Money stress also affects physical health (42 percent) and work performance (22 percent)

Only one-third (34 percent) of millennials feel “content” about their finances, while many are “anxious” (27 percent) and “overwhelmed” (22 percent). Still, despite these negative emotions, millennials haven’t necessarily lost confidence in their ability to manage money and say they feel confident because they know how to budget and manage their finances, have good spending habits and have savings.

If you’re a Millennial, there is a solid chance that you are dealing with financial stress and it is almost a certainty that you know several people your age who are as well.  While they may not have ‘lost confidence in their ability,’ I wonder why they have confidence at all.  Young Americans are required to learn the intricacies of Trigonometry and Calculus, but are not taught the very basics of personal finance and budgeting in public schools.  Unless Millennials learn budgeting and personal finance on their own, they are very likely not learning it at all.  Likewise, good spending and savings habits only go so far are simply not rewarded.  For the past several years, savers have been punished thanks to the actions of the Federal Reserve with ridiculously low interest rates serving as a disincentive to save.

The learning gap is apparent. While only 17 percent feel they have a great deal of experience or knowledge in personal finance, many more say they feel experienced in other, more fun topics:

  • Thirty-four percent feel they have expertise in social media.
  • Thirty-three percent feel very knowledgeable about food/dining out.
  • Twenty-three percent feel they have expertise in health and wellness.

Social media has become the primary (and often preferred) method of communication between young Americans.  I’d also add that, even though their entire generation is getting ripped off, a solid 30% of them would also consider themselves experts in the Kardashian/Jenner/Kanye West/Lamar Odom dumpster fire as well.  As for their ‘expertise in health and wellness,’ they’re going to need it…

Additional report findings:

Millennials worry about cost of living, ability to save

  • Cost of living is a concern for a majority (61 percent) of millennials, and 58 percent are concerned about their ability to save while they live where they do.

Cost of living is absolutely a concern for most Millennials.  My October 15 blog discussed how some 39% of Millennials are currently receiving assistance to maintain their living situation, with more stress on the way as rents nationwide are poised to increase.

  • While cost of living tops the list of concerns millennials have about where they live, only 28 percent said financial reasons were a motivating factor in choosing where to live.

This is true, cost of living and negative economic trends are keeping them from purchasing a home, and is a catalyst in Millennials choosing to live in tiny condos.

Between student loans, Social Security, a slumping job market, and an inability to get in the real estate game, Millennials have kept an optimistic view.  The generation that should be howling mad isn’t yet.  Will chronic stress due to finances push Millennials to finally get angry and act?  We can only hope.

-R.J. Renza, Jr.

Please take a moment and sign the National Petition to Opt-Out of Social Security. The more signatures we gather, the more pressure we place on Congress and our political leaders.

August marked the release of my first e-book “How Are You Not Angry Yet: How Social Security is Destroying the Futures, Finances and Hopes of Generations X,Y and Z and How We Can Put and End to it.”  “Angry Yet” breaks down the complex topic of Social Security into a way that most Americans can easily understand and find entertaining and is available on Amazon right here.

I was recently mentioned by my favorite economic blogger Michael Shedlock in his post “Question To Millennials: Why Are You Not Mad As Hell Yet?”

I also appeared on The Debt Dialogues, the weekly podcast of “RooseveltCare” author Don Watkins:

Check out my video of how I celebrated Social Security’s 80th Birthday and What Social Security Does To Kids.

You can also follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/takebackyoursix

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