Study: Millennials Have High Debt Burden, Low Financial Capability

U.S. millennials are lacking in their understanding of financial concepts, with only 24 percent demonstrating basic financial knowledge, according to a recent study by PwC on young adults’ financial capability. Of those surveyed, 34 percent reported that they were “very unsatisfied” with their current financial situation, and 50 percent said they lacked the ability to cope with even a moderate financial shock.

The study, which surveyed Americans aged 23-35, found that debt obligations, particularly from student loans, are a main point of concern; two thirds of millennials—including 80 percent of those with college degrees—say they carry at least one source of outstanding long-term debt, and 54 percent are concerned about their ability to repay. In addition to student loan debt, more than half of millennials report carrying over a credit card balance in the last 12 months, and many find themselves turning to alternative financial services, such as payday lenders or pawnshops.

Despite the considerable burden of debt that millennials face, the study also pointed out that few have sought professional financial advice—only 12 percent reported seeking help with debt management.


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