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Money worries impacting millennials’ job performance

Emma Lunn
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Emma Lunn

Nine in 10 (87 per cent) millennials say money worries affect them while they’re at work.

More than half (53 per cent) of 18 to 34-year-olds worry about money either always or often.  A third (36 per cent) have made no preparations for an unexpected financial event, and just 34 per cent have a savings pot for emergencies

The figures come from Close Brothers’ Financial Wellbeing Index developed in conjunction with corporate wellbeing expert Professor Sir Cary Cooper.

If found that anxiety about money is far less common among older age groups with just over a third (36 per cent) of 35 to 54-year-olds worrying about money, and just one in five (20 per cent) of those over 55.

Saving for a rainy day

The research found that millennials are also less confident about achieving any kind of saving goals, compared to those aged over 55, whether that is short-term (54 per cent vs 59 per cent), medium-term (44 per cent vs 54 per cent), or long-term (38 per cent vs 45 per cent).

It found that this financial struggle is impacting young people’s ability to prepare for a rainy day. A third (36 per cent) of millennials have made no preparations for an unexpected financial event, and just 34 per cent have a savings pot for emergencies.

Close Brothers also found there is a clear knowledge gap. Just over half (57 per cent) of millennials say they would be confident where to seek advice for debt issues. The number that admit to being unconfident is twice that of those aged 55 and over (17 per cent vs 9 per cent).

Planning ahead

Although millennials face these challenges when it comes to money, their overall financial wellbeing is significantly boosted by their planning. More than half (52 per cent) have a financial plan, with 29 per cent having updated it in the past 12 months.

This is a higher figure than those aged 35 to 54 and 55+ (40 per cent each). According to the Financial Wellbeing Index, this cohort scores 52 in this category compared to 46 for those aged 35 to 54, and 49 for those aged 55+.

Millennials are also the generation most likely to budget their finances, with 70 per cent using some kind of budgeting tool, compared to 63 per cent of 35 to 54-year-olds and 62 per cent of over 55s.

Jeanette Makings, head of financial education at Close Brothers, said: “The number of millennials that are anxious about money is a real cause for concern in itself, as well as in regard to its knock-on effect on their ability to focus and be productive at work.

“While it’s certainly positive that they are the best performing generation for budgeting and planning, it is clear that there is a significant need for financial education targeted to help their particular concerns and needs.

“But around half of young people are still without a financial plan and far too many are ill-prepared for a financial shock. By raising their financial awareness and confidence, employers can help their younger workers develop better money habits and greater financial resilience, as well as benefitting from their improved presenteeism and focus at work. Better financial wellbeing is good for all concerned.”

Professor Sir Cary Cooper, an expert in workplace wellbeing at the University of Manchester, said: “Although millennials worry the most about money problems compared to other generations, it is encouraging to see that they are better planners and budgeters compared to their older counterparts. Society should really cut the millennials some slack when it comes to managing their finances, as they are doing better than they think.

“Millennials have different financial needs and face different challenges, such as increasing house prices and having to pay off student debt. Due to these pressures, they may worry more about money and find it difficult to focus on their long-term goals. This may of course limit their ability to save for retirement, but with their eagerness to plan and budget, I have no doubt that this generation is on their way to achieve better financial wellbeing.”