Nearly Three-Quarters of Millennials Live Paycheck to Paycheck: Report

A new survey found the majority of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, and the problem is worse for millennials, with nearly three-quarters, or 73 percent, living paycheck to paycheck. Personal finance site PYMNTS and LendingClub, an online lender, released an April report, titled “New Reality Check: The Paycheck-to-Paycheck Report,” to learn how the rising cost of living is impacting consumers’ financial lifestyles. The report is based on a census-balanced survey of 3,363 U.S. consumers conducted from March 8 to 17 and an analysis of other economic data. The survey found 60 percent of consumers across all age groups were living paycheck to paycheck, down from 64 percent during the same period last year. The most cited reason for all respondents who said they were living paycheck to paycheck was that their paycheck only covers basic bills, with 38.4 percent saying so. Millennials Face Struggle When broken down by age group, millennials—those born between 1981 and 1996—are the most likely to live paycheck to paycheck, with over 7 out of 10 currently doing so, according to the report. Compared with other generations, 65.5 percent of Gen Z consumers, 64.2 percent of Gen X consumers, and 49.5 percent of baby boomers and seniors responded they were living paycheck to paycheck. The main reasons for millennials’ financial hardship are heavy debt and the financial pressure of having to look after dependent family members, according to the report. “The oldest millennials are in their 40s now and often managing expenses for not just their kids but also aging parents,” Anuj Nayar, LendingClub’s financial health officer, said in a press release. “It’s no wonder that almost three-quarters of them are living paycheck to paycheck.” The survey found more than 70 percent of millennials live with a partner or spouse, and more than 60 percent live with children or grandchildren. Almost 80 percent earn more than half of their household’s income, while 20 percent earn all of it. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau (pdf) shows that the median millennial household income was $77,338 in 2021. This generation also contends with income levels that haven’t kept pace with huge increases in the cost of living. However, researchers found that millennials appear to be learning to manage finances more effectively, with respondents to the survey reporting they had an average savings of $11,000 in March compared to $7,300 one year prior. The report states that millennials and other paycheck-to-paycheck consumers learn to handle finances through recessions and financial crises. Gen Z Show Signs of Strain The report also found a growing trend of Gen Z consumers showing signs of financial struggle. The almost 66 percent recorded in March is an increase from 58 percent a year ago. Many in this group are still establishing their careers, which can mean less earning potential and a greater susceptibility to layoffs. “Generation Z are more apt to face financially life-altering events such as job loss, making them more financially vulnerable than any other generation,” Nayar said. Generation Z consumers are the most likely to cite discretionary spending as the reason they live paycheck to paycheck, with 31 percent saying so. “With inflationary pressures expected to continue well into 2024, consumers of all generations remain tasked with adjusting their financial behaviors to be able to put aside savings and remain creditworthy,” the report stated. Living paycheck to paycheck can lead to increased levels of debt and stress. Most experts recommend going back to a basic budget, even if that means using the envelope method, or “cash stuffing,” to stay disciplined.

Nearly Three-Quarters of Millennials Live Paycheck to Paycheck: Report

A new survey found the majority of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, and the problem is worse for millennials, with nearly three-quarters, or 73 percent, living paycheck to paycheck.

Personal finance site PYMNTS and LendingClub, an online lender, released an April report, titled “New Reality Check: The Paycheck-to-Paycheck Report,” to learn how the rising cost of living is impacting consumers’ financial lifestyles.

The report is based on a census-balanced survey of 3,363 U.S. consumers conducted from March 8 to 17 and an analysis of other economic data.

The survey found 60 percent of consumers across all age groups were living paycheck to paycheck, down from 64 percent during the same period last year.

The most cited reason for all respondents who said they were living paycheck to paycheck was that their paycheck only covers basic bills, with 38.4 percent saying so.

Millennials Face Struggle

When broken down by age group, millennials—those born between 1981 and 1996—are the most likely to live paycheck to paycheck, with over 7 out of 10 currently doing so, according to the report.

Compared with other generations, 65.5 percent of Gen Z consumers, 64.2 percent of Gen X consumers, and 49.5 percent of baby boomers and seniors responded they were living paycheck to paycheck.

The main reasons for millennials’ financial hardship are heavy debt and the financial pressure of having to look after dependent family members, according to the report.

“The oldest millennials are in their 40s now and often managing expenses for not just their kids but also aging parents,” Anuj Nayar, LendingClub’s financial health officer, said in a press release. “It’s no wonder that almost three-quarters of them are living paycheck to paycheck.”

The survey found more than 70 percent of millennials live with a partner or spouse, and more than 60 percent live with children or grandchildren. Almost 80 percent earn more than half of their household’s income, while 20 percent earn all of it.

Data from the U.S. Census Bureau (pdf) shows that the median millennial household income was $77,338 in 2021.

This generation also contends with income levels that haven’t kept pace with huge increases in the cost of living.

However, researchers found that millennials appear to be learning to manage finances more effectively, with respondents to the survey reporting they had an average savings of $11,000 in March compared to $7,300 one year prior. The report states that millennials and other paycheck-to-paycheck consumers learn to handle finances through recessions and financial crises.

Gen Z Show Signs of Strain

The report also found a growing trend of Gen Z consumers showing signs of financial struggle. The almost 66 percent recorded in March is an increase from 58 percent a year ago. Many in this group are still establishing their careers, which can mean less earning potential and a greater susceptibility to layoffs.

“Generation Z are more apt to face financially life-altering events such as job loss, making them more financially vulnerable than any other generation,” Nayar said.

Generation Z consumers are the most likely to cite discretionary spending as the reason they live paycheck to paycheck, with 31 percent saying so.

“With inflationary pressures expected to continue well into 2024, consumers of all generations remain tasked with adjusting their financial behaviors to be able to put aside savings and remain creditworthy,” the report stated.

Living paycheck to paycheck can lead to increased levels of debt and stress. Most experts recommend going back to a basic budget, even if that means using the envelope method, or “cash stuffing,” to stay disciplined.