A large percentage of the Millennial generation, also known as Generation Y, find their debt overwhelming, according to a new Wells Fargo study about the attitudes of young people towards retirement and saving.

The 42 percent of Millennials, people who the study defined as between 22 to 32 years old, who have a serious problem with their debt level is twice the rate of Baby Boomers, who were surveyed for comparison.

Student loans are one of the biggest causes of the debt that is plaguing Millennials. Sixty-four percent of the generation financed their college education through student loans, compared to 29 percent of boomers.

The Wells Fargo Retirement Survey included 1,414 Millennials and1,099 Baby Boomers between the ages of 48 and 66.

Forty-nine percent of Millennials have begun saving for retirement, according to the survey. Of those who are saving, the presence of a workplace retirement plan was the motivation for 29 percent of them. Nearly half (47 percent) of the savers are putting away 1 percent to 5 percent of their salary and 31 percent are saving 6 percent to 10 percent.

Of the 51 percent who have not started saving, most say they do not have enough money to save (87 percent) or they want to pay down debt first (81 percent).

More than half  of the Millennials (52 percent) are “not very confident” or “not confident at all” in investing in the stock market.

Fifty-nine percent of Millennials say they would be interested in working with a financial advisor and 57 percent would prefer an advisor with some years of experience rather than someone their own age. They say they prefer face-to-face meetings when establishing financial relationships.

Members of the Millennial generation expressed confidence in themselves and their future. Sixty-seven percent believe they will achieve a greater standard of living than their parents and 72 percent say they feel in control of their future and believe they can achieve their goals. Seventy percent are “very” or “somewhat confident” they will be able to save enough to be able to afford the lifestyle they want in retirement.

“We see a lot of optimism among Millennials and a belief in their ability to create a good future,” says Karen Wimbish, director of retail retirement at Wells Fargo. “The key for this generation is to put a financial plan into action so their beliefs become a reality.”
 

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