The Defining Financial Question Of Millennials: Do You Want To Live Comfortably Now, Or In The Future?

By Kelly Ann Smith
Bankrate.com

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Only one-third of millennials currently have money saved for retirement, according to a report from the National Institute on Retirement Security. Of that one-third, they have a median amount of about $19,100 saved.

Bankrate.com

Millennials are faced with the internal conflict almost every day: live comfortably now, or later?

Thanks to $1.5 trillion in student loan debt, rapidly increasing health care costs and high living costs, scraping by now often can be prioritized over worrying about retiring on a beach later.

Regardless, millennials are doing a good job at prioritizing retirement savings more than other generations. But most, including millennials themselves, believe their efforts still won’t be enough.

Current savings habits of millennials show bleak financial futures

Experts say saving 15 percent of your income should lead to comfortable retirement. Millennials are struggling to hit that target.

Only one-third of millennials currently have money saved for retirement, according to a report from the National Institute on Retirement Security. Of that one-third, they have a median amount of about $19,100 saved.

For older millennials, those values aren’t ideal. There might still be time for younger ones to ramp up their savings, but affordability is a giant barrier.

For Susan Stalte, a 26-year-old health care professional in Pennsylvania, her retirement savings are a work in progress. Each month, she puts $150 into a Roth IRA; it’s a number she admits “doesn’t feel like enough” but hopes to increase over time. She currently has about $2,500 saved.

However, Stalte says she’s often told that even having $1 million for retirement won’t suffice.

“It almost feels as if there will never be enough to save in order to retire comfortably,” she says.

Based on Stalte’s current balance and savings habits, and under the assumption that she’d earn a 7 percent annual return and like to retire at 65, Bankrate’s Roth IRA calculator shows that she will have only $392,530 by the time she’s ready to retire.

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