Optimizing Financial Education Utilization


Financial Well-Being of the Millennial Generation: An In-Depth Analysis of Its Drivers and Implications

Document Type

Issue/Research Brief/Blog

Publication Date



general population, financial status and behavior, age, economic barriers, financial education, loan repayment


The Millennial generation, comprised of individuals ages 23 to 37, is well educated and ethnically diverse and is currently the largest living adult generation. Millennials have experienced changes in the financial landscape that have shifted more financial responsibility onto the individual, and our paper finds that, overall, Millennials are struggling with this increased responsibility and with achieving financial well-being.

Our paper provides an in-depth empirical analysis of the factors that are related to financial wellbeing among Millennials, as measured by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)’s abbreviated financial well-being scale. Using data from the 2018 National Financial Capability Study (NFCS), we examine the factors that are associated with financial well-being. We investigate differences in financial well-being using measures of assets, debt, money management behavior, and shocks to income. We also examine financial well-being by subgroups to shed more light on the heterogeneity of financial well-being among Millennials.

Key Findings

  • Financial well-being is lower among Millennials than older working-age adults and can vary widely.
  • Within the Millennial population, women, those without a college degree, those who are single, and the unemployed display particularly low levels of financial well-being.
  • Financial literacy is correlated with financial well-being.

Findings show that many Millennials experience financial hardship and engage in costly borrowing behavior. The prevalence of such behavior may contribute to their lower average financial well-being scores. Moreover, we find particular groups may face greater challenges in achieving financial well-being. This is notable as these subgroups are large portions of the Millennial population. We do find that Millennials who are financially literate are more likely to have higher financial well-being which suggests that programs that improve financial knowledge and skills may also help in improving financial well-being for Millennials.

This research highlights the importance of designing and offering financial education programs that will optimally meet the needs and address the concerns of this diverse population. To improve financial well-being, programs should be tailored to the financial situation of their participants.