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Millennials Are More Concerned With Student Debt Payback Than Saving For Retirement

woman sitting at table with laptop, calculator, and papers
Why aren't they saving their money?

Many speculate that millennials don’t know how to handle their money, but this is not necessarily true. A study found that millennials aged 23 to 37 are much better at saving their money and managing it on a daily basis compared to other generations. However, millennials are lacking in saving for retirement and are more concerned about student debt payback.

Student debt in the U.S. is now at a reported $1.45 trillion dollars and is only rising. For now, millennials are prioritizing payment of their portion of this debt rather than beginning to pay into retirement funds. Perhaps surprisingly, neglecting to focus on retirement is a learned behavior from their parent generation the Baby Boomers. A Legg Mason Investment survey found that Baby Boomers only had an average of $273,000 dollars instead of the $658,000 deemed necessary to comfortably retire. It turns out that Baby Boomers took the conservative approach to saving and investing. Regardless, millennials are the ones getting the bad rap for the lack of interest in starting to save; they’re an easy target for other generations to pick apart for their saving habits.

An average millennial student in their 20s has around $22,135 in debt. Paying that off first is largely the millennials’ goal. This means that 69 percent of millennials are not saving for retirement, a figure that details the large effect of student loan debt. It will quite literally follow millennials into retirement.

How can millennials pay back and save at the same time?

Thankfully, there are apps such as LearnVest that can help millennials begin to save for the future. LearnVest creates a customized financial plan. This includes paying loans while saving for retirement. The app studies your spending habits and makes saving much easier by giving you a daily financial plan. Included in the app’s subscription is a financial assistant that can help guide your saving process, as well as online financial courses dedicated to teaching consumers about money-saving practices, student debt payback, and overall saving habits.

Free apps such as Mint can also help millennials to save. While this app does not connect directly to a retirement plan, it does track money spent while creating a financial plan to help reach your saving goals. These goals can include student debt payback.


Millennials are stigmatized as being bad with money. However, in general, most are capable of managing daily spending. They’re not doing worse than the previous generation at saving for retirement, especially since the majority of millennials have a huge amount of student debt payback to worry about first. Thankfully, there are apps designed to make the saving process simple, so why not take advantage and start saving even a small amount today? Your retired future self will be very grateful!

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