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While Most Americans Live Paycheck To Paycheck, 15% of Millennials Have Saved $100,000

As the World Economic Forum continues in Davos to discuss issues of poverty and equality, a Bank of America survey reports that one in six millennials have now saved at least $100,000 – double the amount who had achieved that milestone in 2015. 

The Millennial generation (now aged 22-36) are typically thought to have less of a work ethic than their Gen X and Baby Boomer counterparts – being less willing to work overtime, being unwilling to work hard, and more interested in buying expensive things to support their leisurely lifestyle.

The B of A study on millennial savings, then, is not only notable for its contradiction of those stereotypes, it also suggests that these young workers are off to a better financial start than most Americans – a CareerBuilder survey last fall reported that 78 percent of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.

As the President of the Board of a nonprofit organization that helps connect Chicago’s most vulnerable with the resources they need to achieve a better quality of life, I’ve seen firsthand the troubles that can happen when a worker hasn’t saved the minimum six months worth of living expenses that most experts recommend having in an emergency fund. Out on that tightrope, a sudden crisis can force individuals to choose between making a rent or mortgage payment, or paying a medical bill or critical prescription, and suddenly things have spiraled out of control.

Because of this, I’ll be joining Care For Friends in a Sleepout for Homelessness on one of the coldest nights in Chicago this winter. Their work in providing access to affordable housing, sober mental and physical healthcare, and job skills is something I’ve found to be effective in getting Chicago’s poor back on a better trajectory.

Millennial savings is moving on the right track – with twice as many getting on solid financial footing than were just two years ago. Yet, these great savers are still a small minority of the overall population. Until we see reports of many more Americans achieving similar safety nets, I’ll be supporting the work of Care For Friends – and I hope you’ll join me, too.

Regardless, I'm curious to hear your experiences. Have you saved at least 6 months of living expenses - or $100k - aside for an emergency? How old were you when you achieved that milestone? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below. And if you enjoyed this article, let me know by giving it a "Thumbs Up!" and sharing it with your network.

This article is also available in videoblog format. Find it in the archive.

About:  JD Miller is a senior technology executive with a career spanning small startups and large public companies. He uses this expertise to help organizations increase and sustain financial performance. He is also active in Chicago’s philanthropic community, with a special interest in issues related to hunger and homelessness.

You can follow Dr. Miller on Twitter @JDM_Chicago

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