Young Consumers A Mix Of Super Savers, Debt Slaves

By Susan Tompor
Detroit Free Press.

Ebeth Fielder, 22, is like a lot of young consumers when she admits that she has not begun saving in a 401(k) yet.

Even Fielder, who makes a living talking to other millennial consumers about money, admits she has a big financial learning curve ahead.

Fielder drives a car with loud logos plastered all over it. She heads to festivals and events as the hip “spokester” for the Young & Free program that targets the 18-to-25 crowd at Michigan First Credit Union, based in Lathrup Village, Mich.

She thinks younger consumers can save money, sees a financial future as doable, but says many young people need to re-think how they’re spending their money.

Giving up small purchases can help finance bigger projects. Her goal is to save money to buy a home with her husband, who is a youth minister.

“I love to shop so much, but I hate spending money,” said Fielder, who writes a blog at YoungFreeMichigan.com.

Young consumers, depending on the survey, can provide a contradiction in financial terms.

Millennials either are “super savers” with an eye on retirement or so dogged by debt that they don’t know which way to turn.

They are the digital do-it-yourself generation of “super savers,” according to a study by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies.

That study offered a shocking tidbit: about 70 percent of millennials are starting to save for retirement either through employer-sponsored plans or outside the workplace.

The median age they start saving is 22 years old, far younger than many baby boomers who started saving at a median age of 35 years old, according to the Transamerica Center study.

“Millennials have retirement on the brain,” said Catherine Collinson, president of the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies.

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