How Much Millennials Have in Savings — And What That Means For Their Future
As much flack as millennials get for their bad financial habits, they actually are pretty good savers. A recent survey conducted by Bank of America found that 73% of millennials are actively saving money and more than half (59%) have $15,000 or more in savings. Perhaps even more impressive, the survey found that nearly 1 in 4 millennials (24%) has $100,000 or more in savings. And while that seems impressive, is that actually enough?
Whether $100K Is ‘Enough’ Depends on a Number of Factors
The Bank of America survey did not distinguish between younger and older millennials, and where that $100,000 was saved (savings accounts, retirement accounts, etc.). But these factors all matter when it comes to determining whether having $100,000 in savings is truly enough for future goals.
“Are those funds earmarked for a house, car, travel or retirement?” said Anthony Trias, CFP, an advisor at Equitable Advisors and a millennial himself. “If we are to focus on retirement and assume the full $100,000 is dedicated for lifestyle income in their golden years, then the next question is what end of the [age] spectrum are they as a millennial?”
“The reason why their age is an important piece of the puzzle is because of the theory of compound interest,” he continued. “Albert Einstein said it best: ‘Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… He who doesn’t, pays it.’ Compound interest allows you to put your money to work — that is, earning interest on top of your interest. The time horizon a millennial has to allow their $100,000 to compound over time can have a dramatic effect on how their savings grow.”
In addition to age, it’s also important to take salary and lifestyle factors into consideration.
“It’s better to look at savings as a percentage of your income or expenses rather than an absolute number,” said David Weliever, personal finance expert and founder of Money Under 30. “If you’re accustomed to living on $10,000 a month, you’ll want to have much more saved than someone of the same age who is content living on $2,000 a month. The larger the percentage of your income you can stash away, the sooner you can retire. You’re not only saving more, but you’re living on less.”
As a general rule of thumb, Trias said that millennials should aim to save 15% of their income.
For Most Millennials, $100K Is a Good Amount To Have in Savings
Although individual circumstances will determine whether or not someone is “on track” with $100,000 in savings, in general, this is a good level of savings for millennials to reach — in fact, those with $100,000 in savings may actually be ahead of the game.
“That amount is twice where millennials should be,” said Howard Dvorkin, CPA and chairman at Debt.com. “The rule of thumb is that by the time you turn 30, you should have your annual salary saved. Considering the average millennial salary is around $50,000, having $100,000 is stellar.”
41% of Millennials Are Not Where They Should Be
Although it’s great to see that 24% of millennials have a very healthy amount in their savings, it’s important to also pay attention to the less positive survey findings — namely, that 41% of millennials have less than $15,000 in savings.
“If you’re not at least there, you’re way behind on retirement savings — and that’s a low bar,” Dvorkin said. “That tells me that there are too many millennials out there who are getting dragged down by what are likely their student loans. Making a budget to make sure you’re both paying off debt and saving for retirement is key to setting your finances up for success.”
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Last updated: May 20, 2021