They’re called spendthrifts by other generations, are laden with student debt and burdened with lower-paying jobs.
But that doesn’t mean that millennials aren’t thinking about the future and saving for it.
And they could certainly use a little help—from human resources and from plan sponsors—to be more successful at it, since both the debt and the jobs don’t leave them much to work with when all expenses are accounted for.
Both HR and sponsors might want to consider how retirement savings plans and their features—auto-enrollment, auto-escalation, employer matching funds—could be tweaked to give millennials a boost in meeting major life goals and in saving for retirement, as well as for the health expenses it undoubtedly will bring along with it.
In the meantime, they can consider how millennials are already trying to stretch every dollar till it snaps—some in very unconventional ways.
In a survey, digital banking app Varo Money, Inc. has uncovered a range of methods millennials are using to make those paychecks go farther.
And while retirement is certainly on their radar, that’s not the only goal they’re pursuing; of course they have a whole life to live first. Some of their prime goals are travel, buying property and dreaming about a new car, while
Here are some of the strategies to which millennials resort in the quest to fund their futures. Can plan sponsors be less imaginative than some of these? Surely not….
10. Half of millennials surveyed save automatically.
While respondents say they aren’t fond of spreadsheets—they don’t track their money constantly, or input figures into programs like Excel or Mint to create detailed, category-based budgets—they do watch their bank balances regularly and are pretty aware of what they spend monthly.
They view it as “hands-off” money management.
What they do, however, is save automatically out of each paycheck, with 50 percent socking away a percentage every payday. So they’re prime candidates for savings plans with auto features—enrollment, escalation, etc.
A report from the Society of Human Resource Management points to multiple studies indicating that auto escalation in particular—but to a high level such as 10 percent—results in higher savings for employees, since few actually opt out of a rate higher than they might have chosen for themselves.
9. Millennials are looking to climb the corporate ladder—to a higher paycheck.
An impressive 39 percent of millennials are on the prowl for a better-paying job opportunity, which is yet another reason that HR personnel and plan sponsors hoping to retain good staff might want to keep an eye on millennials’ rate of pay, as well as their rate of savings.
Reviewing other benefits wouldn’t hurt, either, since the more attractive an existing job is, the more likely an employee is to stay.
Considering the cost of finding, hiring and training replacements, a raise and better benefits might be cheaper in the long run.
8. Millennials know food is cheaper at home, especially with a partner to share it.
Millennials, despite their spendthrift reputation, are willing to skip little luxuries like the much-vaunted avocado toast or make coffee and meals at home.
In fact, 36 percent stick with the coffeepot on the counter instead of the barista at the corner, while 11 percent of men and 3 percent of women are willing to abandon the avocado toast—after all, everyone has his, or her, breaking point when economizing.
And 26 percent of respondents point out that cooking for two is cheaper than dining solo at home—much less in a restaurant.
7. Millennials recognize how much cheaper it is to live as a couple.
While 75 percent of millennials are conscious of the financial benefits in being half of a couple. 44 percent point to the cheaper rent when there are two to share the load.
And that helps them both save more.
Even those who aren’t part of a couple are looking for roommates, according to Mashable, which reports on a SmartAsset study finding that in high-rent cities like San Francisco, New York and Boston a person can save at least $700 a month by having a roommate.
Cue in the cooking-at-home technique for group meals, and the savings grow even more.
6. Millennials go on fewer dates to save money.
Being in a relationship, say 16 percent of millennials, is cheaper than still looking, since they save money by not going out on so many dates.
5. They save on taxes if they’re married.
Ever-practical, these millennials. They recognize that being half of a married couple can save on their tax bill—and they don’t forget that either when looking for cash to stash for the future.
4. They bargain-hunt for credit card perks.
Make no mistake, among millennials travel is a big deal: 58 percent said travel destinations are their favorite topic of conversation.
And asked what they would purchase with $2,000 if they could only spend it on one thing, 25 percent said plane tickets.
As a result, they tend to be particularly savvy when it comes to being able to travel, with 16 percent seeking out credit cards that provide big mileage bonuses.
3. They leverage perks to pursue other little luxuries without having to lay out cash for them.
In fact, they’re fond of doing it for travel, with 7 percent using airline miles to upgrade to business class.
In addition, 7 percent use status from premium credit cards for hotel upgrades, and 6 percent use premium cards for lounge access.
2. They’re planning on grad school.
While that may not seem like saving—even though it’s definitely ahead of the 11 percent of male millennials who are saving for a new luxury car and the 12 percent of female millennials saving for a new wardrobe—they’re looking toward an advanced degree for a leg up the job ladder.
Oh, and 27 percent are saving for a place of their own.
1. They stay away from credit cards.
Mashable reports that, despite their spendthrift reputations, millennials are actually opting for other types of technology—digital wallets, for instance—but not so much credit cards.
It cites a BankRate finding that in fact, 67 percent of millennials don't have credit cards—the lowest amount of people without credit cards in any demographic, among adults.
And they’d rather be paid in cash, thank you very much. So say 58 percent, and they’re smart; it wards off unnecessary purchases and helps keep them out of credit card debt.