Millennials get blamed for a lot of things. Often, they’re accused of being spendthrift and irresponsible. Critics assume that Millennials are unable or unwilling to save money or invest smartly.
Much of this criticism is unfair. In fact, if you look at what Millennials have accomplished with their finances, they have a lot to be proud of.
1. More than one in three Millennials own a home
Pew Research Center reports that about 35 percent of Millennials now own homes. That’s still lower than the national average overall, but many experts say that an increase in Millennial homeownership in recent years has helped boost the overall rate of ownership to its first increase since before the Great Recession. Given the headwinds facing Millennials (high housing costs, student loan debt, stagnant wages), a homeownership rate of more than one-third is nothing to sneeze at. (See also: 10 Reasons to Cut Millennials Some Slack About Their Money)
2. Millennial homeowners have good credit
Research from Ellie Mae, a platform provider for the mortgage finance industry, showed that mortgages to Millennials weren’t going to people with terrible credit. In fact, the average FICO score among Millennial borrowers in 2017 was 723, which falls in the “good” range. (See also: 7 Ways Millennials Are Better With Money Than You Are)
3. Millennials are hitting their savings goals
A 2018 Bank of America survey revealed that about two-thirds of Millennials who have a savings goal are able to stick to it each month. In fact, 16 percent of Millennials have $100,000 or more socked away in savings. And 59 percent of this demo feels financially secure. These stats directly contradict the assumption that Millennials don’t know how to save and waste every dollar they earn.
4. Millennials ask for raises, and often get them
If you’re a Millennial, there’s a good chance you’ve summoned the courage to ask for a pay increase, and have gotten one. Bank of America reported that 46 percent of Millennials have asked for a raise in the last two years, and 80 percent of those people have received higher pay. Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, and other generations have lagged behind in asking for more money. (See also: 6 Ways Millennials Are Working Less and Earning More)
5. Millennials have made investing cheaper and easier
It used to be that investing was exclusively for the elite, and you could only trade stocks through a human stockbroker who charged high commissions. But in the last 20 years since Millennials began investing, costs have come down. Index funds with super-low expense ratios have revolutionized investing. Discount brokerages are engaged in a race to the bottom on the commissions charged per trade.
And there are also tons of smartphone apps that make it easier to buy even fractional shares of stock. Millennials are also responsible for the surge in new services such as robo advisors, account aggregators, and more. (See also: Here’s How Boomers and Millennials Are Creating Winners on the Stock Market)