Wells Fargo Survey: Millennials Optimistic about Finances

Of three generations queried in a Wells Fargo/Ipsos survey released yesterday, millennials expressed the most optimism about the present and future path of the economy and their current and future financial situations. At the same time, millennials were also most likely to report concerns about their credit score, to report that their debt level affects their personal relationships and to report living paycheck-to-paycheck.

Twenty-four percent of millennials rated the economy as strong right now, compared with 13 percent of Generation Xers and 11 percent of baby boomers. Just over half of millennials expected the economy to improve in the next year, compared to 35 percent of the overall population. Meanwhile, 28 percent of millennials rated their personal finances as strong, compared with two in 10 Gen Xers and 23 percent of boomers. More than two-thirds of millennials expected their personal situation to improve over the next year, compared to less than half overall.

However, one-third of millennials expressed strong concern about their credit score, compared to a quarter of the overall population. Twenty-seven percent strongly agreed with a statement about losing sleep over their credit situation, versus 17 percent of all respondents. And three in 10 report worrying about being turned down for a loan—compared to two in 10 overall.

The survey, conducted annually as part of Wells Fargo’s participation in ABA’s Get Smart About Credit program, looked at opinions among boomers (ages 49-65), Gen Xers (36-48) and millennials (18-35) about personal finances and debt and asked respondents to assess their own knowledge and confidence about making credit choices. Respondents generally gave themselves average knowledge grades but indicated a desire for more. One-third graded themselves with a C, D or F for overall understanding of personal finances, and 45 percent gave themselves a C, D or F for understanding credit and knowing what a bank considers when making a credit decision.