The New Generation Gap

Millennials are struggling more with debt and cash management than are members of previous generations, according to a new study.

Professional services firm PwC said it interviewed more than 2,100 full-time employed adults as part of its Employee Financial Wellness Survey – which tracks the financial and retirement wellbeing of working adults in the U.S.

The study found a stark generational contrast in terms of basic financial fitness, with Generation Y, (those currently between the ages of 21 and 32), having a particularly hard time coping.

In fact, PwC said that Gen Y, or “Millennials,” who said they carry balances on their credit cards increased 14 percentage points year-over-year, to 51. They were the only generation to report an increase.

The percentage of Millennials reporting difficulty in meeting household expenses was up 11% year-over-year, to 41%. Here, they were the only generation not to see an improvement.

Not surprisingly, Millennials were more likely than Baby Boomers or Gen Xers to report having financial anxiety, (60%, as opposed to 36% and 53%, respectively).

The good news is that financial anxiety across the generations has dropped considerably over the past few years. A rising economy is indeed lifting most boats. But Millennials are still having a tougher time than older workers in managing their money, and feeling economic confidence.

Hopefully, a stronger economy will create more opportunity – allowing younger workers to move up in salary and gain a bit more “breathing room” financially.

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