Most Millennials Think They Will Be Wealthier Than Their Parents, New Survey Finds

Millennials are actually poorer than generations before them.
  • Sixty percent of millennials that live at home with their parents or guardians do so because of financial constraints, according to a LendEDU survey.
  • The average millennial spends $1,476 monthly on housing expenses, and an additional $1,832 on non-housing expenses each month.
  • Most millennials believe they will be as wealthy or wealthier than their parents in their lifetime.

Millennials are now the largest generation of living Americans, so the financial decisions they make now will greatly affect the economy for years to come. Their spending doesn’t follow traditional values — a GOBankingRates survey found that marriage and homeownership are no longer the American dream for most millennials.

To get further insight into the way millennials view their own personal finances, spending habits and wealth in general, LendEDU surveyed 1,000 American millennials across different income classes. This is what they found.

See the GOBankingRates Survey: This Is the New ‘American Dream,’ According to Millennials

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Nearly Half of Millennials Own Their Homes

The LendEDU survey found that 49 percent of millennials own their own house or apartment, whereas 40 percent rent a house or apartment — possibly because they don’t have enough money saved for a down payment, according to an Apartment List survey. Nine percent of millennials ages 23 to 38 live at home with their parents or guardian.

Of those who live at home, 60 percent said they were doing so due to financial constraints.

Related: Millennials Want to Buy Homes, but They’re Held Back by One Crucial Thing

Many Millennials Work in Non-Traditional Career Fields

The survey asked respondents to choose their career field from the following choices: manual labor, finance, technology, education, marketing and advertising, public sector, service labor or side hustles, or something not listed. Forty-three percent said their career field wasn’t listed. The next most popular response was manual labor with 12 percent of respondents, followed by technology with 11 percent. Marketing and advertising were the least common career fields among millennials, with only 3 percent of those surveyed saying they work in these areas.

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See: 30 Jobs That Didn’t Exist 30 Years Ago

Millennials Spend $3,300 a Month on Average

The average millennial spends $1,832 a month on non-housing costs, and an additional $1,476 a month on housing expenses. There was a range in spending based on income bracket, with millennials in a high income bracket ($100,000 or higher) spending an average of $1,903 a month on housing and $2,393 on other expenses, and millennials in a low income bracket ($49,999 or lower) spending an average of $1,154 on housing and $1,316 on other expenses each month.

Find Out: The Best States for Millennials to Buy a Home

Most Millennials Say Their Spending Is Within Their Means

Seventy-two percent of American millennials said that they are currently spending within their means, with half of these respondents saying they are able to do so comfortably. The other half said they are spending within their means but “just barely.” Only 15 percent of millennials believe they are spending too much.

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Check Out: Common Money Myths About Millennials

Millennials Believe You Need to Make More Than $100,000 to Be Considered Wealthy

Regardless of income bracket, a third of millennials believe that $101,000 is the minimum annual salary you can make to be considered wealthy — and only 7 percent believe that you need to be a millionaire to be wealthy. That’s a good thing because most millennials — nearly 60 percent — don’t think that they will ever become a millionaire.

When it comes to which famous person millennials most identify with being wealthy, Bill Gates was the most popular choice at 31 percent. Jeff Bezos was next with 20 percent of the vote, followed by Oprah Winfrey with 17 percent.

Consider: States Where You’re ‘Rich’ Making Less Than $100,000

Most Millennials Think They Will Be Wealthier Than Their Parents

More than half of all millennials — 57 percent — believe they will be wealthier than their parents in their lifetime, and 20 percent believe they will be equally wealthy. They also are optimistic about the wealth of their current or future children, with 61 percent believing their children will be more wealthy than them in their lifetime.

The optimism from this age group is interesting considering that millennials are poorer than generations before them.

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About the Author

Gabrielle Olya

Gabrielle joined GOBankingRates in 2017 and brings with her a decade of experience in the journalism industry. Before joining the team, she was a staff writer-reporter for People Magazine and Her work has also appeared on E! Online, Us Weekly, Patch, Sweety High and Discover Los Angeles, and she has been featured on “Good Morning America” as a celebrity news expert. 

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