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Are millennials the real model money managers?

03 Nov 2016

Research by first direct finds Generation Y might be the socially conscious generation but this doesn’t mean they don’t watch their spending just as much as their parents

The millennial generation may have a reputation for valuing flexibility but this doesn’t mean they have a more relaxed attitude to money management than their parents, according to research by first direct .

A survey of more than 3,000 adults across the UK has found the majority of millennials – also known as ‘Generation Y’ – keep a close eye on their personal finances by budgeting, scrutinising their bank statements and frequently checking their balances.

Just over half (51%) of 18 to 34-year-olds quizzed say they budget either weekly or monthly, and more than half of those (56%) stick to their budgets. Of their parents’ generation – those aged 45 and over – 52% budget on a weekly or monthly basis, but only 53% of those who budget say they stick to that budget.

In addition, 71% of millennials claim to check their bank statements thoroughly – with almost one in four (23%) checking their bank balance at least once a day. Only the over-55s are more diligent when it comes to examining statements.

Not surprisingly, given their ‘digital natives’ tag, millennials are comfortable using apps on their smartphones for much of their banking, but the researchers did find there is still a need for personal contact. Surprisingly, more 18 to 34-year-olds said they like to have contact with their bank via phone or branch than the 45+ age group (67% vs 65%).

Tracy Garrad, Chief Executive at first direct , said: “Millennials are often stereotyped for being very easy-going, but when it comes to financial management the reality is the majority keep as close an eye on where their money goes as their parents do.

“They’re going through their statements with a fine-toothed comb and frequently going online or through an app to check on their accounts – we’ve seen the number of mobile logins by our customers up 23% already this year. But they also make it clear they like to have someone to speak to whenever they need.”

Millennials ‘going plural’?

The desire to be good money managers may be driven, in part, by another finding from the research – that the millennial generation has become the ‘flexible income generation’.

Almost a third of 18 to 34-year-olds admitted their income varies each month, largely due to the nature of their jobs or because they run their own businesses – often online – to supplement their salaries.

Overall, one in five Brits (22%) said their income fluctuates each month, but the figure rises to 30% for adults aged 34 and under.

Tracy Garrad added: “The idea of ‘going plural’ is no longer just for high-flying executives. Young people are comfortable with having more than one job, or combining a regular day job with running a small business from home. This highlights the importance of good money management and being able to bank when you like, where you like, and how you like.”

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