NEW YORK — Checking in on their finances is the one of the last things on these millennials’ minds. A survey examining how 2,000 millennials manage their money reveals the average young adult spends nearly 150 more hours a year scrolling through social media than monitoring their finances!
That’s not the only activity they seem to prioritize ahead of their cash — or lack thereof. They’re also more likely to play with their pets or search for a new TV show to stream than checking on their money every week.
In fact, being on top of their finances came last on a list of activities millennials spend time doing — including deciding what’s for dinner or caring for their plants.
Set it and forget it
Finances appear to be a touchy subject for millennials, with more than a quarter of respondents admitting they only check their bank account balance once a week (27%). Nearly half are unsure of the amount of money currently in their bank account (45%).
Conducted by OnePoll in partnership with Upwise, the survey found that the ease of making payments automatically may contribute to the lack of awareness around their finances. Millennials use their cell phones, tablets, or computers to enroll an average of five monthly bills in “auto-pay” – an automatic payment system used to track monthly costs.
More than half of respondents who use the feature admit they rely on “auto-pay” to pay their bills (57%) because of its convenience (45%), it helps them save money (39%), or because they have fewer worries about making late payments (38%). Four in five millennials say they’re more likely to make impulsive purchases because they trust “auto-pay” will keep track of their bills (81%).
This may explain why millennials are looking to take more control of their finances. In fact, more than half (51%) say they would feel more in control of their finances if they relied less on “auto-pay,” and three-quarters don’t want to rely on others for money.
Pandemic debt is piling up for millennials
Four in five also think it’s important to develop good financial habits at a young age, but it’s not too late for those looking to be more in control of their finances now.
“Taking control of your finances isn’t just a matter of keeping up with your monthly expenses; it’s also about taking a proactive role in managing and developing healthy money habits,” says Jenn Kischell, vice president of Upwise at MetLife, in a statement. “People tend to underestimate their expenses, especially when using auto-pay. This is why it is essential to take a holistic assessment of your finances on a regular basis.”
To help keep track of their debt and savings, people are turning to financial planners (50%), finance apps (48%), or trying to stick to a good old-fashioned monthly budget (45%). Sixty-two percent of people who’ve experienced increased debt during the pandemic have seen an additional $10,000 added to their debt versus 54 percent of respondents who have seen that amount added to their savings.
“Managing your finances doesn’t have to be as intimidating or overwhelming as it seems,” adds Kischell. “Tools such as financial wellness apps can be a powerful resource to help take actions that lead to confidence and a greater sense of control. Everyone deserves to feel good about their finances, little steps can help free up that next dollar and the good news is that it’s never too late to start.”