As Children of the Great Recession, Millennials Have Become Tight-Fisted Savers, but with the #YOLO Social Pressure to Spend

TD Ameritrade Survey: Gen Y aspires financially vs. Boomer parents/grandparents, online life has made them comparison spenders

TD Ameritrade's 2016 Millennials and Money Survey (Graphic: TD Ameritrade)

OMAHA, Neb.--()--The TD Ameritrade Millennials and Money Survey reveals Millennials may have more in common with their depression-era counterparts than their Boomer parents or grandparents. Of the more than 1,000 Millennials surveyed:

  • Sixty-two percent identify as savers; 80 percent have a budget
  • Vast majority don’t feel financially secure now, but expect to be in the future (85 percent)
  • Nearly half are anxious about debt (47 percent)
  • More than three-quarters would stash an extra $1,000 in a savings account instead of the stock market (77 percent)

“The Silent Generation and Millennials came of age during a major financial crisis, which increases the propensity to save and financial conservatism,” said Matthew Sadowsky, director of retirement and annuities at TD Ameritrade, Inc., a broker dealer subsidiary of TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation. “Further adding to Millennials’ financial anxiety is the economy, student debt, and escalating peer influence from social media.”

They’re not just keeping up with the Joneses – they’re keeping up with everybody. Thanks to social media, Millennials feel social pressure to spend or keep up with others more so than elder generations:

  • Social media is much more likely to cause Millennials to compare themselves to others than Boomers (64 percent vs. 29 percent)
  • Nearly a quarter of Millennials feel pressure to keep up with the spending habits of their friends (24 percent)
  • Fifteen percent of Millennials admit to spending money to make a good impression
  • “I need a somewhat substantial/substantial amount of money above the minimum needed for essentials” (57 percent Millennials vs. 34 percent Boomers)
  • Millennials are more likely than Boomers to report having spent more/not saved as much in a month than they wanted to (56 percent vs. 29 percent say this happens very often/somewhat often)

Who do they listen to? How do they invest?

  • Millennials consult parents (38 percent) and/or friends (28 percent) for financial advice while Boomers are more likely to consult a professional advisor
  • Millennials are more likely to feel confident investing using a combination of online and human contact than Boomers (40 percent vs. 33 percent)

Millennials view home ownership as important and have realistic views of retirement savings hurdles:

  • Two-thirds of Millennials are saving for a down payment on a home (66 percent)
  • Millennials consider 29 the ideal age to become a homeowner
  • Almost half are concerned about running out of money in retirement (49 percent)
  • More than half are willing to retire later to maintain their desired retirement lifestyle (53 percent)

Millennials and Boomers are on the same page when it comes to many financial attitudes:

  • Saving, as opposed to spending, makes Americans feel secure and, as a result, happy (80 percent)
  • The number one reason to save is to have the confidence you can meet your financial obligations whatever happens (66 percent)
  • Millennials and Boomers are optimistic about feeling financially secure in the future (41 percent overall)

“Millennials were in a position to learn the value of financial preparation, having grown up in the aftermath of a recession. The qualities they have developed like budgeting discipline and a realistic outlook on retirement may well pave the way toward their financial future,” Sadowsky said.

TD Ameritrade’s 2016 Goal Planning Survey shows that people who have a savings plan with specific goals are more likely to make progress toward fulfilling their savings or investing targets. Not sure how to get started? Investors of any age and experience level can benefit from a free, comprehensive financial goal planning session with an investment consultant at TD Ameritrade’s more than 100 branch locations. Visit

About TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation
Millions of investors and independent registered investment advisors (RIAs) have turned to TD Ameritrade’s (Nasdaq: AMTD) technology, people and education to help make investing and trading easier to understand and do. Online or over the phone. In a branch or with an independent RIA. First-timer or sophisticated trader. Our clients want to take control, and we help them decide how — bringing Wall Street to Main Street for more than 40 years. An official sponsor of the 2014 and 2016 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Teams, TD Ameritrade has time and again been recognized as a leader in investment services. Please visit TD Ameritrade’s newsroom or for more information.

Brokerage services provided by TD Ameritrade, Inc., member FINRA ( (

About Head Solutions Group
Head Solutions Group (U.S.) Inc., is a leading market research partner for Financial Services companies in North America. With offices in New York, Toronto and Montreal, Head delivers the deep customer insights that increase institutional knowledge and propel business action. TD Ameritrade and Head Solutions Group are separate and unaffiliated firms and are not responsible for each other’s services or policies.

About the 2016 Millennials and Money Survey
A 20-minute online survey was conducted with 2,100 American adults (half Boomers and half Millennials) by Head Solutions Group, between June 17 to June 21, 2016, on behalf of TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation. The statistical margin of error for the total sample of N=2,100 American adults within the target group is +/- 2.1 percent. This means that, in 19 out of 20 cases, survey results will differ by no more than 2.1 percentage points in either direction from what would have been obtained by the opinions of all target group members in the U.S. Sample was drawn from major regions in proportion to the U.S. Census. Generations used in this report are defined according to the Pew Research Center. Millennials (born 1981 to 1997, ages 18 to 35 in 2016) and Baby Boomers (born 1946 to 1964, ages 52 to 70 in 2016).

Source: TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation


TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation
Rebecca Niiya, 402-574-6652
Communications & Public Affairs


TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation
Rebecca Niiya, 402-574-6652
Communications & Public Affairs