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Millennials ‘more savvy' shoppers, savers, research suggests

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Posted at 4:32 PM, Apr 15, 2015
and last updated 2015-04-16 10:25:59-04

They’re the generation that pioneered selfies and social media — and a new financial study shows Millennials may also be more careful about handling money than their parents or grandparents.

The study of more than 1,000 people was released as part of Financial Literacy Month by RetailMeNot.com, a leading online coupon and offers firm. The results showed that Millennials, by and large, are savers.

Of those surveyed, people in that age group — anyone between the ages of 18 and 34 today — were more likely to have money in a savings account than older people. Overall, 77 percent of Millennials said they had at least some savings set aside, compared to only 67 percent of people ages 50 to 59.

One of the website’s finance and retail experts said she wasn’t surprised by the data, attributing those money skills to many Millennials coming of age during the recent recession.

“Millennials are a generation of smarter shoppers and more savvy coupon users,” said Trae Bodge, senior lifestyle editor of RetailMeNot. “They grew up during the recession and never had a period of carefree spending.”

Bodge said she was surprised by one of the survey’s findings. It showed that overall, 71 percent of people asked said they had money saved; that number is down from 80 percent in last year’s survey. About a quarter of those asked said their savings wouldn’t last them more than one month without additional income.

Bodge said that trend is likely due to recent American economic improvements.

“We found that a lot of people are expecting tax refunds this year, which gives people a sense of false wealth,” Bodge told the Scripps National Desk. “It makes people feel like they don’t need to plan as much as they had been. People just want to live their lives again — I think older folks just dialed back so much [during the recession].”

So how do people make sure their kids develop sound spending habits? Bodge recommends “letting them feel the pinch.”

“I like to let my [eight-year-old] daughter shop with her own money, from birthday gifts and so on,” she said. “I encourage her to look at what’s on sale and to use a coupon. When they see that money coming out of their hands, it really makes an impact.”

Clint Davis is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @MrClintDavis.

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