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If given the choice between making a big purchase and paying off loans, millennials would rather do the latter—at least if they had the money. May 2014 polling by Harris Interactive asked US internet users what they would do if they won the lottery or received an inheritance of $100,000 and found that 18-to-36-year-old respondents were most likely to pay off any existing debt or loans if they were to get so lucky.
Millennials were also relatively likely to save the money for a rainy day fund or unexpected expenses, cited by 43% of respondents from that age group. However, they weren’t so hot on planning for retirement, with around one-quarter saying they would do that with the money. This was on par with 18- to 36-year-olds using the $100,000 for big purchases: 27% said they would buy a house, while 25% would get a car.
However, June 2014 research also by Harris Interactive confirmed that millennials were savers—or at least wanted to be. Fully 64% of US internet users ages 18 to 36 planned to save or invest more money in the next six months—the most popular spending change among respondents in that group.
What financial issues keep millennials awake at night? An April 2014 study conducted by Harstad Strategic Research for Project New America and the Youth Engagement Fund found that finding a good job was the biggest financial concern for US millennial internet users, cited by 66%. Paying bills and being able to afford a family were also top worries. Meanwhile, despite the enthusiasm to pay off debt and loans among respondents to Harris Interactive’s survey, having high student loan debt landed at the bottom of the list—though still cited by nearly half of 18- to 31-year-olds.
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