33% of Older Millennials Have No Savings

33% of Older Millennials Have No Savings

Ouch. Pretty rough, right? As Millennials are starting to get older (30 seems horrifically closer and closer for me), there are a lot of numbers and money studies starting to swirl around out there. I can tell you from personal experience talking to large financial companies last year – they are a little scared.

The reason is really pretty simple: as a generation we are starting to mature in the job force, and these companies want our money as we make it. The problem is…a lot of us are struggling to save any. It’s hard for banks and brokerages to make money with our money if it’s not there.

GoBankingRates.com came out with a study recently that had some pretty interesting statistics about Millennials and the amount that we’re saving. If you’re still looking for a New Year’s resolution or already gave up on your new diet, you may want to consider building up your emergency savings account!

Let’s take a look at the numbers:

Obviously the only thing that I’m focusing on from the survey are the top two bars of the graph above. We don’t really care about the old people and semi-old people around here (just kidding…I like to mess with my Boomer and Gen-X readers sometimes haha :))! Take a look at the breakdown below if you hate looking at graphs:

For Millennials from 18-24 (young whippersnappers):

  • 31% have $0 in savings
  • 41% have less than $1,000
  • 15% have $1,000-$4,999
  • 4% have $5,000-$9,999
  • 8% have $10,000 or more

For Millennials from 25-34 (sage elders):

  • 33% have $0 in savings
  • 34% have less than $1,000
  • 13% have $1,000-$4,999
  • 5% have $5,000-$9,999
  • 15% have $10,000 or more

Now to be completely fair, I’m not sure how realistic it is for the vast majority of the younger group of Millennials to actually have healthy savings accounts. Especially for college students…we all remember how lean those times were.

But if you’re an older Millennial, you should absolutely be working towards creating a good emergency savings fund. Not only does it make you sleep better at night, but it will keep you from having to bust out the credit card in rough times.

Here are some things you can focus on to save more money in 2017:

Evaluate your living situation

I’m honestly not here to judge how everyone chooses to live. I’ve talked to too many people over the last two years that have such wildly different financial and living situations. I’ve been very open about living with my wife’s parents for a few years after college, but obviously not everyone wants to or can do something like that.

But I will ask that you take a look at your living situation and consider if you actually need the level of comfort that you want. I think so many Millennials are in a rush to have the finer things in life right now, when they don’t realize that there is value in having less space or comfort and delaying their gratification.

I appreciate everything I have so much more now after living well below my means after college. It also helped me save a ton of money. Just food for thought if you’re considering a super nice apartment or the nicest house you can afford.

Check your food spending

There are a ton of different studies out there about food spending, and they all point to a few main things: we eat out too much and waste too much food. 

I did an interview with Alexandra Talty from Forbes earlier in the year (you can see the article here), and she put together a great story about Millennials and food costs!

This one can honestly be pretty simple. You don’t have to completely eliminate going out to eat from your life, but instead limit it to a number per month that you feel comfortable with. You can also use food delivery services like Blue Apron, which are generally cheaper than eating at a restaurant.

Start your side hustle

You didn’t think I would have a money saving post without a side hustle plug, did you? 🙂

Seriously though, if you are having trouble finding extra money to put away every month, start doing something extra on the side! Fully understanding the internet gives Millennials a unique advantage of being able to create small businesses for minimal start-up costs.

Read also: 10 Side Hustles You Can Actually Start in 2017

Building a successful side hustle doesn’t have to take every hour of your free time, but you will have to stay up a little later and work on the weekends. In my opinion, that’s a small price to pay for having another way to make money.

Use free money tools

If you aren’t using either Mint or Personal Capital (or both), you really should be. At LEAST check them out and give them a try. Mint is a pretty remarkable budgeting tool for seeing exactly where your money goes every month.

Personal Capital is a great tool you can use to view and track your net worth, and also has budgeting and spending alert tools.

Related: Personal Capital Review – Free Money Tracking Awesomeness

Both of them are freaking free. Just use them.

Question for you:

What have you cut back on to save more in the past?


Live differently. Your bank accounts will thank me later. ~M$M

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41 comments… add one
  • The Accountant Jan 9, 2017, 7:37 am

    Great post! My roommate and I made a New Year’s resolution to split food costs on dinner in order to save money and stop wasting food (and curb the amount of times we eat out). We meet once a week to go over what meals we want to prepare. Each one of us buys the ingredients for the meal we chose and we make enough of each meal to last us both for the week. That way we get some variety and have just enough food without wasting anything. I’m interested to see how much this saves us and then maybe try it for lunch or breakfast.

    • Millennial Money Man Jan 9, 2017, 8:06 am

      That’s awesome! One of the most effective strategies for saving money on food for me and my wife is just making sure we hit the grocery store every week at the same time. It sounds stupid simple, but we tend to eat our more when we miss our grocery store day.

  • Mrs. Mad Money Monster Jan 9, 2017, 8:42 am

    Hey now! You must respect your elders 😉 Great post! Being a young Gen Xer, I was happy to look at your chart to see I’m on the top tier (and always have been – I might add) but that isn’t saying much. Looking at these numbers is scary. I feel like we’re staring down the barrel of a future financial crisis. I grew up on the “poor” side and always made savings/investing a priority, but even doing so, I made plenty of mistakes along the way and could easily be early retired already. Oh well, you live and learn and do better. Keep up the awesome job inspiring youngsters to pay attention to their finances. Time truly is the most valuable asset. Saving on the big stuff like housing, transportation, and food will pay dividends (literally) in the future. As long as the difference is invested. Again, great post!

    Mrs. Mad Money Monster

    • Millennial Money Man Jan 9, 2017, 12:22 pm

      Hahaha sorry I was just kidding I promise!!!! 🙂

      If anything I’ve learned that it’s OK not to have all the nice stuff at a young age. Most of the things I know now are things I learned from boomers and Gen-xers!

      • Mrs. Mad Money Monster Jan 9, 2017, 3:57 pm

        I agree with you on that point. Too many young people tend to want to live with all the comforts they had at home without realizing it took their parents years to reach that status. Again, I am a young Gen Xer, but if I could turn the clock back to college graduation, the one thing I wish I had done was buy a multi-unit property. I think it’s one of the best ways to build wealth – and you get to live for free, if you do it right. Damn you to the Hell, Hindsight! 🙂

    • Georgia Jan 9, 2017, 6:49 pm

      What advise do you give to Millennial’s?

  • Penny @ She Picks Up Pennies Jan 9, 2017, 9:02 am

    We trimmed our grocery budget down to $200 a month for two people and we haven’t looked back since! It took some guess and check, but it’s really comfortable surprisingly. It makes a huge difference when you notice how much of your income you’re consuming/eating without noticing or needing to! Side hustling helps. Making more money helps. But just figuring out where our money was going helped the most. Especially since I was so good at wasting it. Oops!

    • Millennial Money Man Jan 9, 2017, 12:23 pm

      I agree – learning to save and/or cut back is more important to me than making extra money. It creates a foundation to build on! $200 for the month is awesome!!!!!

  • Mrs. Picky Pincher Jan 9, 2017, 9:09 am

    Maybe it’s tougher for age 30+ Millennials since at that age we’re typically owning homes and having kids? Not that you can’t save with those things–you totally can. But it’s definitely more challenging and distracting.

    We also slashed our electricity bills by switching to LED lightbulbs, installing efficient appliances, and insulating more. We save don car insurance by asking our insurer for discounts and put a waiting period on all non-essential buys.

    • Millennial Money Man Jan 9, 2017, 12:24 pm

      Yeah I think you’re right – it just seems like there is more stuff to spend money on as we all get older haha.

  • Mindful Cents Jan 9, 2017, 9:12 am

    I am young gen X lady ( sounds better than old Millenial 😉) who has more than $10000 saved. The numbers are really scary. I have been living in the USA for 12 years and I still can not believe that people living in one of the richest countries in the world with so many opportunities to save are actually living paycheck to paycheck. I did fall in this spending and consuming trap taking out a car loan myself ( I still think it is my worst financial mistake which I regret everyday) because everybody was telling me that I should have a better car🙄 But even with car loan payments (as my first and last loan in my life) I am able to make extra payments and save. American society needs to learn from immigrants a few money saving skills 🙂

    • Millennial Money Man Jan 9, 2017, 12:39 pm

      Yes young Gen X sounds much better than old Millennial! Hehe

      I think there is a lot of truth to that – sometimes we don’t realize how lucky we are to live in a place with opportunity. This will sound totally off-topic, but I’ve been watching a lot of WWII documentaries lately. It has definitely put my life into perspective when you see some of the horrible things that have happened in other places around the world.

  • Ms. Montana Jan 9, 2017, 9:15 am

    The stats are scary. We managed to cut our food bill in half which has been a huge help. And we paid cash for our house. With those two expenses low or gone, it’s been much easier to build wealth and enjoy financial independence. Whenever people ask how the heck we were able to take a year off and become work optional, I say it’s simple. We started on this path 14 years ago. Keep walking in the right direction long enough and you’ll get where you want to go. =)

    • Millennial Money Man Jan 9, 2017, 12:25 pm

      Yeah they are a little scary, but not really too surprising. So many people live exactly at their income level.

  • Ronni Jan 9, 2017, 9:51 am

    Great post! I have also noticed that when I miss my grocery shopping days or my significant other and I don’t go together, we tend to eat out a lot more. This year we are definitely making it a point to cut back spending in all areas in order to pay off our debts. So far, we are off to a great start. Reading your blog daily has instilled in me the confidence I need to make some big changes in my life! Thank you!

    • Millennial Money Man Jan 9, 2017, 12:40 pm

      Thanks Ronni! I’m so glad the site is helping, I try to keep things pretty fun around here! 🙂

  • Chad Burkholder Jan 9, 2017, 10:35 am

    Great Post. I’m an older millennial, dancing on the cusp of not being one at all. I cut back on my cell phone bill. (Not trying to plug in an advertisement by any means.) I switched to Project Fi because I have WiFi access most everywhere I go. Now instead of paying $80+ a month when I was with AT&T I am down to $35 after taxes and fees.

    • Millennial Money Man Jan 9, 2017, 12:25 pm

      Haha no problem – I love suggestions! I’ll take a look at that…seems really interesting.

  • Gentleman of Leisure Jan 9, 2017, 1:58 pm

    I’ve cut cable, switched cell providers to Republic Wireless, and cut way back on eating out, but the two biggest savers for us have been buying way less house then the bank said we could, and driving used cars so we don’t have monthly payments!

    • Millennial Money Man Jan 9, 2017, 5:24 pm

      That’s awesome! I know a lot of bloggers are using Republic – do you like it?

      • Gentleman of Leisure Jan 9, 2017, 6:12 pm

        It servers my needs completely, the only draw back is when driving through a city it can drop calls b/c it keeps picking up different wifi signals. I’ve learned to turn wifi off at certain times. You can’t beat 13$ per month though.

  • Ning Jan 9, 2017, 3:15 pm

    Wow, that’s some really depressing statistics. I was lucky or just lazy, but I lived at home with my parents my first year out of college with a full-time job. While the commute was terrible, I had use of my old car, free living and free food for a year. Most of my savings come from that. Not to mention I’ve always contributed 10% to my 401(k) just because I knew it was good… If only I had known about financial independence back then, I would’ve saved a lot more, instead of spending it on expensive clothes, makeup, and bags…oh, what a difference 4 years make…
    Nowadays, we have an apartment we love, it’s a little on the pricey side, sigh, but we’ll re-evaluate when the lease come back for renewal in November. I’m OK with a smaller apartment if it means saving a few hundred dollars a month, but I gotta convince the hubby of that.
    My biggest goal this year is tracking our food costs. Like you said, we do eat out a lot, so we set a monthly eating out budget so that’ll hold us accountable.

    • Millennial Money Man Jan 9, 2017, 5:26 pm

      Food costs are so hard! My wife and I like going out to eat, so it’s always been tough to cut back on it but we really committed to it last year. We try to cook as often as we can, and we definitely liked trying out Blue Apron earlier in the year too.

  • Matt Spillar Jan 9, 2017, 3:32 pm

    Those are some scary stats, 67% of older millennials have less than $1,000 saved?! Wow….
    I assume these numbers include retirement savings as well, right?

    • Millennial Money Man Jan 9, 2017, 5:26 pm

      I want to say it was just savings accounts, but I’d have to go back and check. I really hope it isn’t retirement as well haha.

  • The Savvy Couple Jan 9, 2017, 4:20 pm

    Honestly pretty scary that so many people are not in control of their finances. Our motto “Living Frugal & Free” definitely applies here. When you have no savings you have no plan for when life gives you lemons. I forget Dave Ramseys numbers but somewhere close to 80% of people will suffer an expense of over $1,000 over a ten-year span, I hope people are prepared for that.

    Checking our budget every month and ensuring we are in the black is a great feeling. Growing real wealth comes from having control.

    I really like your income posts and how you explain that it has not really changed your life. It shows that you are well grounded and know what true happiness is all about.

    Thanks for another great post! Have a great week and keep GRINDING!

    • Millennial Money Man Jan 9, 2017, 5:28 pm

      I think one of the main reasons for nothing changing as far as higher income is because I still only pay myself a small salary. I’m not sure what my tax implications will be, and I want to churn money back into the business throughout the year. I don’t need to get rich quick or anything haha!

  • The Savvy Couple Jan 9, 2017, 4:22 pm

    Hey, I have a suggestion. We would love to get notified when you or someone else responds to our comments on your site. Not sure how hard that is to set up but just a thought =)

    • Millennial Money Man Jan 9, 2017, 5:28 pm

      Thanks for the tip! That’s definitely something I’m going to try to add in when I have the site redone next month.

  • Derek Hopper Jan 9, 2017, 5:29 pm

    Your section on food can be a gold mine for most people. We’ve found meal planning to be a huge tool.

    Over time, you can start to develop a list of staples you can eat on a routine basis. It helps because you can start buying certain items in bulk, like rice.

    Before my wife and I started meal planning, we would go to the grocery store at least twice a week. We would basically wander the store buying whatever we thought we needed. Well, you can take a guess on what would happen: overspending and buying what we didn’t need.

    Now we take about 30 minutes every week thinking about what we want to eat and what we need to buy to make it. It’s helped soooo much. Thanks for mentioning food – it can be a huge spending trap since us millennials are often foodies.

    • Millennial Money Man Jan 9, 2017, 6:27 pm

      No problem – I totally agree! We do like our food and probably more importantly the experience that goes along with food. It’s so easy to ignore how much money we spend there!

  • Mrs. COD Jan 9, 2017, 7:47 pm

    It’s so sad and scary to read stats like this! And I have plenty of millennial friends (I’m just barely on the old end of that scale!) who complain about their student loans, yet post on social media two and three times a week that they’re at some great bar or restaurant! It just doesn’t add up. And the Washington Post just had an article on how millennials may need to save double what they are to have a retirement (due to poor market returns projected). Just makes me more committed to never going into debt and saving at a super high rate!

    • Millennial Money Man Jan 9, 2017, 8:44 pm

      Yes definitely a bummer 🙁

      And I agree – it’s a very similar habit as saying they don’t have time to work extra when they watch every new episode of GOT and How to Get Away With Murder.

  • Gary @ Debtfreeclimb.com Jan 9, 2017, 9:02 pm

    Pretty scary stat M$M.

    I have always kept $1k in savings for an emergency per Dave Ramsey’s get out of debt plan. Since July 2016 I set up an automatic savings plan to increase this amount because I realized how important a cash emergency fund is. (I noticed you did something similar while paying off your Student Loan Debt). My EF isn’t fully funded, but I feel a little more secure than before. Once out of debt (projected April 2017) I’m planning to fund my EF 6 months expenses.

    I saved some money in 2016 by moving in with a roommate, car pooling, and meal prepping. I hope to improve upon my spending habits this year!

    • Millennial Money Man Jan 9, 2017, 10:48 pm

      Dang it sounds like you killed it in 2016! Yes, I did take a break from aggressively paying back my loans so I could build up an emergency fund.

  • Kathy Jan 9, 2017, 9:32 pm

    What have we cut back on? DEBT! Our family got out of debt & will never go back again. If we don’t have cash, we don’t buy it. Other areas we’ve cut back in (or never spent in): cable TV & movie rentals – we’ve never paid for cable TV and we quit paying to rent movies. Now we get all our movies from the library for free! We also check more books out of the library for free instead of purchasing them (hard to do sometimes for our family of bibliophiles). We buy used cars instead of new, grow our own vegetables & herbs, and cook most of our meals at home. As boomers who started a little late in the savings game, we’re working hard to catch up on retirement savings – expect to put the max in my 401K for 2017.

    • Millennial Money Man Jan 9, 2017, 10:49 pm

      I don’t have cable either! I don’t know why people keep paying for it. Sounds like you’re going to have a great 2017!

  • Go Finance Yourself! Jan 9, 2017, 9:49 pm

    “I think so many Millennials are in a rush to have the finer things in life right now, when they don’t realize that there is value in having less space or comfort and delaying their gratification.”

    This is very true. It stems from the environment that millennials grew up in. Specifically the younger millennials. Those that don’t remember a world before the internet, before everyone had a cell phone, and when you had to use encyclopedias and other books to research a paper for school. The world they are used to is instant gratification. You can look anything up on Google in an instant. You can buy anything you want on Amazon and millions of other sites in an instant. From an economic standpoint, an accomodative money policy for most of their adult life has made it easier to buy more early on. More house, more car, you name it. They just aren’t used to waiting.

    Another interesting point is that those millennials that do save haven’t taken advantage of the bull market. I wrote about this on my blog recently. They came of age during the Great Recession and have a lot of fear of investing. This coupled with low financial literacy has led to them investing to conservatively for their age, with many preferring cash and other overly safe investments.

  • Roadrunner Jan 10, 2017, 2:04 am

    These are quite scary statistics. And they only talk about savings here, excluding debt. I believe if we add those to the overview, the numbers would be even more shocking. During the next recession, which who knows when will come, many millennials will be in a really bad situation…

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