Generation Y workers are having a harder time recovering from the recession than older Gen Xers and baby boomers, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey.
Employees between the ages of 21 and 32—also called the Millenial generation—are struggling more with debt and cash management than older employees, the PwC US 2014 Employee Financial Wellness Survey reveals.
In comparison, the financial well-being of Gen X employees, those born between the mid-1960s and early 1980s, and the older baby boom generation has improved over the last 12 months, according to the survey.
Gen Y was the only generations to see an uptick in the percentage of employees who consistently carry balances on their credit cards, up 14 percentage points year-over-year to 51 percent, the survey of 2,100 working adults says.
Forty-one percent of Gen Y employees also reported difficulty meeting their household expenses on time each month, up 11 percentage points from last year. In this category, Gen Y was the only age group to not see an improvement.
“While last year our results showed that Gen X carried the heaviest financial burden as they were pulled between obligations to their parents, children and their own retirement, their financial health, along with that of haby boomers, appears to be recovering faster than Gen Y employees,” says Kent Allison, partner and national practice leader of PwC’s Employee Financial Education practice.
“Baby Boomers and Gen X have savings stored away and many still have some equity in their homes, so they’ve benefitted from the stock market rally and an increase in home values in most markets in the US. Millennials are more dependent on their incomes, and we’ve seen that the labor and wage markets haven’t improved as quickly as the equity markets. Disparity in financial health between the generations will likely continue to grow until we see an increase in wages that is greater than the increase in living expenses,” Allison predicts.
Millennials also report more financial stress than other generations. Sixty percent report having anxiety over finances, compared to 36 percent for baby boomers and 53 percent for Gen X. Overall, 24 percent of employees admit that personal finances are a distraction at work.
“Financial stress has a significant impact on both employees and employers. Increased stress can affect morale, health and ultimately an employer’s bottom line,” says Allison.
While baby boomers’ financial well-being is improving, their retirement confidence also is on the upswing, according to PwC. Retirement confidence for all employees rose 5 percentage points this year to 40 percent, with the largest jump in confidence coming from baby boomers, who rose to 48 percent from 37 percent.