Many Milliennials ‘overwhelmed’ by debtNews added by Benefits Pro on June 12, 2014

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By Lisa Barron

A vast majority, 80 percent, of millennials say the Great Recession taught them they have to save “now” to “survive” economic difficulties in the future, according to a Wells Fargo survey.

At the same time, though, 45 percent say they are still not saving for retirement.

The poll found differences by gender, with 61 percent of men and 50 percent of women reporting that they are saving. Wells Fargo speculates that the difference may be due to the fact that the median annual household income is reported to be $83,000 for men and $63,000 for women.

About half of all millennials say they are “satisfied” with their savings at this point in their lives, but again there is a pronounced gender discrepancy; 58 percent of men report feeling satisfied, compared to 41 percent of women.

“The silver lining of the recession that started over five years ago is that a majority of millennials get that saving is a necessity and even equate it with ‘surviving’ tough times. But millennial women are starting out their working lives making far less than men and, as a consequence, are saving less and feeling less contentment at the start of their working lives,” said Karen Wimbish, director of Retail Retirement at Wells Fargo.

The survey found that millennials are struggling under the pressure of debt, with 42 percent saying “it is their biggest financial concern currently.” Four in 10 say their debt is “overwhelming.”

Not surprisingly, there is a gender gap here as well. Forty-five percent of millennial women feel “overwhelmed” by debt, vs. 33 percent of millennial men.

Regardless of gender, though, more than half, 56 percent, of millennials say they are “living paycheck-to-paycheck.”

“People have to closely examine what they are spending their money on and figure out the best way to comfortably manage debt and savings levels,” Wimbish said.

The findings are part of the 2014 Wells Fargo Millennial Study, conducted online among more than 1,600 adults aged 22-33 by Harris Poll.

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