There are 75.4 million millennials in the U.S., making them the country's largest living generation. Naturally, with a group that large, any generalization you try to make will be...let's just say "flawed." Even so, these preconceived notions keep getting repeated -- and widely accepted.
In this clip from Motley Fool Answers, Alison Southwick and Robert Brokamp dig into the stereotypes, and see if they're supported or refuted by cold, hard facts and scholarly research. Next on the list: The idea that millennials are incapable of making smart and responsible choices with their money. But is that really an accurate reflection of them? Let's find out.
A full transcript follows the video.
This podcast was recorded on July 26, 2016.
Alison Southwick: Our fifth and final predominantly held belief about millennials is that they are bad with money. Oh, wait. Maybe they're good with money. Because again, the surveys and studies on this are all over the place.
For example, the headline of a Goldman Sachs study was "Millennials Don't Trust the Stock Market." But when you actually look at the numbers, you see that about 20% said they do believe it's the best way to save for the future. Another 45% said only in small amounts or only in low-risk investments. That's actually a good amount of millennials who believe in the stock market. And when you look at overall surveys of people -- of everybody -- generally 52% of people said they aren't invested in the stock market.
Robert Brokamp: Huh!
Alison: And this was Bankrate. The survey specifically mentioned, "What about a 401(k)?" And people were like, "Nope." So when you compare the numbers, millennials aren't necessarily that different from everybody else in the world when it comes to trusting the stock market or investing in the stock market. They're also going to be younger, so they're not necessarily going to have as much money to invest in the stock market.
Alison: But I think the jury is still out on whether or not they are good or bad with the money. Apparently they save a lot.
Robert: I think it's clear that the average millennial is graduating from college with a lot more debt than the average Gen X person did, or the average baby boomer...
Robert: ...so to the extent that they are not good with money, or they're not investing in the stock market, I totally understand because they are starting their careers with a burden that a lot of us didn't have.
Alison: Yes. So one study found that millennials start saving and investing, on average, at the age of 23. Compare that to Gen X, which is 26 and 32% for younger baby boomers.
Robert: That's great.
Alison: That's not too bad, but everyone's like, "Oh, they're horrible with money. Oh, they're great with money." Who knows?