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Post-recession, millennials struggle to save now to survive later, survey says
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (7/17/14)--The Great Recession taught many hard lessons to American consumers, and that includes millennials.

According to a recent survey by Wells Fargo, 80% of millennials, or those born between 1980 and the early 2000s, say the economic downturn in 2008 showed them they need to save now to ensure they can survive economic problems in the future.

Unfortunately, in many cases this lesson has not led to action, as only 55% report that they've started saving for retirement. Broken down by gender, 61% of males have started saving compared with 50% of females.

"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," said Karen Wimbish, director of retail retirement for Wells Fargo. "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."

The findings are part of the Wells Fargo Millennial Study that polled more than 1,600 adults ages 22 to 33.

Further, about half of all millennials say they're satisfied with the current state of their savings, with only 41% of women reporting satisfaction compared with 58% of men.

The study also found that many millennials continue to struggle with debt, as 42% said debt is their biggest financial concern, with about 40% saying their debt is "overwhelming." Again, males fared a bit better with 45% of women feeling overwhelmed compared with 33% of men.

Student loans are the top source of debt that millennials grapple with, according to the survey, with 29% reporting that it's their strongest concern.

Additional findings:
  • Of those millennials who have started saving, 46% said they are saving 1% to 5% of their income for retirement; 31% are saving 6% to 10% of their income; and 18% are saving more than 10%;
     
  • More than 70% of millennials are confident they will be able to save enough to pay for the lifestyle they want in the future, with women far less confident than males in this category at 63% compared with 80%; and
     
  • Of those millennials not yet saving, 84% say they aren't doing so because they currently don't have enough money.


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