Recession’s Lasting Impact On How Millennials Manage Money


Bank of America has released its “Year-End Millennial Snapshot,” a report which seeks to shed light on the attitudes of the millennial generation and how they are redefining financial priorities and spending habits, in addition to learning what influences their financial behavior.

The Bank of America report analyzed data from over 3,500 millennials as gathered by seven studies, which were conducted throughout the 2015 calendar year. One of the key findings of the report was the lasting impact of the Great Recession and family experiences that resulted from the economic downturn at that time.

“The events taking place when millennials were coming of age are visibly impacting their financial decisions and behaviors,” said John Jordan, client experience and programs executive for preferred and small business banking at Bank of America, in a press release. “This will be especially apparent as they become the money managers for their households.”

Nearly a third of the millennials included in the Snapshot studies reported the Great Recession affected them personally, making it difficult, or even impossible, to find a job. Almost half (49 percent) said it has changed the way they think about saving, investing and spending money. Overall, they said it makes them more hesitant to invest in the stock market (40 percent), buy a house (36 percent) or put money away in a retirement fund (19 percent).

Another strong influencing factor on millennials and their financial behavior is their parents, much more so than previous generations. Millennials say financial advice wasn’t always offered from their parents; however, many think it’s important for parents to talk to their children, as young as 10 years old, even though only 25 percent say their parents did so with them.

The Snapshot shows that millennials have good financial habits and are actively engaged in managing their money. Millennials prioritize saving for the future over having enough money to live comfortably today (71 percent versus 60 percent) and are willing to shoulder short-term financial burdens to ensure long-term professional success. Nearly two-thirds of millennial small business owners would delay their own compensation to make ends meet (64 percent).

Technology may be a key factor, with 59 percent of millennials (more than any other generation) using mobile banking apps regularly. According to the Snapshot, millennials are also heavy adopters of mobile payments. Seven in 10 (68 percent) would consider paying someone using person-to-person payments via a mobile banking app, and more than two in five (41 percent) would consider or have already used their smartphone to make a purchase at checkout.

Overall, millennials have an optimistic view of their personal financial futures.

“While many millennials have major debt obligations, they are moving forward and making positive progress in their lives and planning ahead for the future,” said Jordan. “Millennials are optimistic about their financial status and don’t seem to be compromising major milestones, which is reassuring.”