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Millennials: the cheapest generation?

By Paul Nelson  |  Posted Oct 9th, 2012 @ 9:42am


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SALT LAKE CITY - Economic hardships over the past few years are making one generation a little more careful with their money. Recent studies show Millennials are quickly becoming the cheapest generation.

According to the National Chamber Foundation, people born between 1980 and 1999 are struggling from the effects of the Great Recession.  Local financial counselors have noticed the same thing.

AAA Fair Credit Foundation president Preston Cochrane says Millennials have gathered student loan debt, they've seen high unemployment and they've had a hard time getting raises.

"You [add] that together, and it's hard to dig out of a hole," he said. "If you add in the credit card debt they may have incurred through college, then they're going to be a lot more frugal."


When we sit down with someone and we look at their household budgets, you compare a Millennial to a baby boomer, it's very, very different in terms of where they're spending patterns are.

–Preston Cochrane


Cochrane says this demographic is likely to spend more money on technology, but they're more likely to use that technology to scour the internet and search the best deals they can find.  Plus, they're not as loyal to specific brands as Generation Xers are.

"When we sit down with someone and we look at their household budgets, you compare a Millennial to a baby boomer, it's very, very different in terms of where they're spending patterns are," he said.

Cochrane also says they're not as preoccupied with buying a home.  In fact, they seem to be comfortable with renting.  People in older demographics bought homes which declined in value, and many of them went through foreclosure and moved back in with their parents.  Cochrane says Millennials watched that very closely.

"They don't want that," he said. "They don't want to have that happen to them."

Unfortunately, this could have a negative impact on the price of rent in the future.

"When you take rents close to colleges and universities, average rents have gone up just because the inventory is smaller and the demand is higher," said Cochrane.

But, there's no question that this specific demographic is learning from the mistakes of older groups. Cochrane says he can only hope they're setting aside money in their savings accounts.

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