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- Millennials are saving their money – but it could be hurting the US economy, reported Pippa Stevens for CNBC, citing a note a Raymond James analyst wrote to clients.
- The personal savings rate in the US has increased from 5.7% in 1996 to 8.1% in 2019, according to the St. Louis Fed.
- Jason Dorsey, a researcher of millennials, previously told Business Insider that the Great Recession has made millennials more risk-averse and practical when it comes to money.
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Contrary to popular perception, millennials actually are saving. But it’s not necessarily a good thing – at least for the economy.
That millennials are saving more than their parents did is creating an “economic imbalance,” reported Pippa Stevens for CNBC. Data from the St. Louis Federal Reserve indicates the personal savings rate in the US has increased from 5.7% in 1996 to 8.1% in 2019, she wrote.
Stevens cited a note that Raymond James analyst Tavis McCourt sent to clients: The higher savings rate, he said, has driven slow growth and low inflation – the decrease in spending affects businesses, and ultimately, the economy.
You can thank the Great Recession for this behavior.
The Great Recession split millennials into two cohorts – and they have distinctly different money habits
While older millennials, who bore the brunt of the financial crisis, dealt with a tough job market and wage stagnation that made it more difficult to save, younger millennials experienced the recovery period and became risk-averse as they watched the recession unfold, Jason Dorsey, a consultant, researcher of millennials, and president of the Center for Generational Kinetics, previously told Business Insider.
According to Dorsey, younger millennials got the benefit of learning from older millennials without having to go through some of the economic pain the older cohort experienced. This has made younger millennials more aware of the risks of a bad economy and more practical when it comes to money, from saving for emergencies to contributing to a retirement account.
“They are increasingly risk-averse with their money and seeking to get more value from the items or experiences they buy,” he said.
The investment-banking company UBS found in 2014 that millennials were the most financially conservative generation since the Great Depression. And, citing a 2015 Capital One study, Rebecca Lake of SmartAsset reported that 93% of millennials were wary of investing.
According to an INSIDER and Morning Consult survey from earlier this year that polled 4,400 Americans – 1,207 of which identified as millennials – 69% of millennials have a savings account, compared to 65% of Gen Xers. But while having a savings account is positive, 58% said they have less than $5,000 in their account, Business Insider’s Tanza Loudenback reported.
When given an extra $1,000 in cash, the majority of respondents in the survey said they would pay off debt or save the windfall – only 6% said they would put it toward travel or shopping.
Millennials might not have much money to spend or save – but when they do, it seems they opt for the latter.