These findings are part of the PNC Financial Independence Survey, which sought insights into the financial mindset of 20-somethings within Generation Y, which is projected to outnumber all population segments by 2017.
The unique study compares the responses within the age group and reveals their financial concerns are mounting in the early years of adult life. For example, 26 percent of 22-23 year-olds feel optimistic about their personal financial future and 20 percent are confident about having enough money for a comfortable retirement. Only 14 percent of their older peers, at ages 28-29, agree on both points.
"The two keys to financial independence for 20-somethings in today's economy are: Don't panic now and plan for the future," said Todd Barnhart, senior vice president, PNC Bank. "At a young age, time is on your side and you can take full advantage if you manage your spending, start saving and chip away at any debt."
Findings: Jobs, Parents, Worries
The following are other highlights from PNC's research:
- Financial Independence: in total, 23 percent describe themselves as "totally financially independent." It increases with age, but starts small at 5 percent for ages 20-21 then 25 percent for ages 24-25 and 34 percent for ages 28-29.
- Sources of Income: Forty percent of the total relies on two or more sources of income. This includes part-time jobs (57 percent), full-time jobs (28 percent) plus help from mom and/or dad (21 percent) – 48 percent for ages 20-21 and still 7 percent for ages 28-29. They also rate parents as their top source of information about financial matters.
- Getting Behind: Half (46 percent) rate themselves as behind expectations for personal financial success, including 52 percent for ages 28-29. Meanwhile, 26 percent overall feel they are right on target and 25 percent are ahead.
Money Tips for Millennials
PNC's Barnhart offers the following tips to help Millennials feel more in control of their financial future:
- Don't panic. Time is on your side. You're still young, and it's important that you're thinking about your financial future, but don't beat yourself up for not meeting your own expectations. Try to think positively about your financial goals.
- Avoid debt traps. Not all debt is bad, but seriously consider interest rates to be sure you don't accumulate high-interest debt that can keep you from using that money to save or invest.
- Pay yourself first. Establish a regular savings program. A 401(k) plan through your employer is a great place to start.
- Budget and track spending. It sounds easy, and very basic, but this can be one of the most difficult things to do consistently. Make use of online money management tools, such as PNC Virtual Wallet®, that can help you better manage spending, payments and savings.