Here’s One Thing Millennials Do With Money That More People Should Do

Love and money
sanjeri/Getty Images

Everyone loves to pick on millennials for our lackadaisical approach to work, relationships, finances… well, kind of everything, I guess.

But there is one thing we do that knocks the socks off our aged counterparts when it comes to financial health.

Our one advantage regarding money is simple, but vital: We’re more comfortable talking about it.

Let’s Talk About… Money, Baby?

Let’s talk about you and me

Let’s talk about all the good things

And the bad things that may be

Now that I’ve got that tune securely lodged in your head for the day, let’s do talk about it, shall we?

Chase, in partnership with the University of Colorado Center for Research on Consumer Financial Decision Making, conducted a Generational Money Talks Study to learn what gets Baby Boomers and millennials talking.

It turns out, 79% of millennials are comfortable discussing finances with a friend, versus only 51% of Boomers. And 72% of millennials would go to a friend for financial advice, versus just 31% of Boomers.

We also teach (or plan to teach) our kids about money at a younger age than our Boomer parents taught us — on average, about two years earlier.

It seems our greater comfort with finances has us optimistic for the future. Even though the official retirement age is higher for our generation, we plan to retire much earlier than our parents — at age 60, compared to 69 for Boomers.

We also start saving for retirement way younger than our parents did — at 23, on average, compared with our parents, who didn’t start saving until age 40! That is, if we’re saving

Why We Talk About Money

Why are millennials so much more comfortable talking about money? We can attribute that, like so many things we enjoy in life, to our parents.

Boomers put more emphasis on having the “money talk” with their kids because they wanted their children to be more financially literate than they were, according to the survey.

We’re twice as likely to have discussed household finances with our parents growing up as they were with theirs.

An overwhelming 96% of Boomers said the money talk is very important to have with their kids.  (That’s compared with just 89% of our parents who said the “birds and the bees talk” was very important. Priorities?)

Why Talking About Money Matters

Why am I celebrating this as a win for millennials? Because talking about money is important.

If you aren’t comfortable discussing your finances, whether with friends, family, colleagues or financial advisors, you’ll have trouble controlling them.

You need to be comfortable talking about money if you ever want to ask for a raise.

Or to learn whether you’re being paid what you’re worth.

Or to help friends when they need it — and to get help when you need it.

Probably most critically, our openness to talking about money may prove beneficial to our relationships, according to a study by TD Bank.

According to TD Bank’s Love and Money Survey, the more often couples talk about money, the more likely they are to report happiness in their relationship.

While overall, 73% of respondents said they were happy in their relationships, that number was 78% for those who discuss money at least weekly and only 50% for those who discuss it less often than every few months.

Millennials are also more likely to talk about money in our relationships — 29% discuss it daily, versus just 11% of Boomers.

Admittedly, the report on happiness is a correlation, with no evidence to show talking about money causes happier relationships. It’s a notable correlation, nonetheless.

Perhaps being happier in your relationship makes you more comfortable discussing finances with your partner?

Perhaps a misalignment of values prevents you from discussing your disagreements about money and also causes trouble in Paradise.

Whatever it is, note how comfortable you are talking to your partner about money. It could have serious implications for the general health of your relationship.

Maybe this is one area where everyone could take a cue from millennials?

Your Turn: How comfortable are you talking about money with friends? Family? Partners?

Dana Sitar (@danasitar) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s written for Huffington Post, Entrepreneur.com, Writer’s Digest and more, attempting humor wherever it’s allowed (and sometimes where it’s not).

The Penny Hoarder Promise: We provide accurate, reliable information. Here’s why you can trust us and how we make money.