12 Signs You’re Doing Better Financially Than the Average Millennial

SAVING & SPENDING - BUDGETING & EXPENSES
Measure your financial fitness against the Millennial standard.
Updated April 9, 2024
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Data show millennials face unique financial challenges. But how do you stack up against U.S. net worth statistics and your peers? 

Forget generic advice – here are 12 data-driven indicators that reveal your financial fitness compared to the average millennial.

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You have less than $78,396 in debt

fizkes/Adobe businessman holding documents

According to pre-pandemic data from Experian, the average millennial had $78,396 in debt. 

If you’ve made some clever moves to crush your debt and now have less than that, you’re doing better than many of your peers.

You own a home

Davide Angelini/Adobe female realtor handing keys to couple

Paying a mortgage is not easy. In 2022, more millennials finally owned a home than didn’t own a home. Still, millennial homeowners are the majority by only a slim margin.

The US Census Bureau reports that 51.5% of millennials own homes. If you own rather than rent, you’re in the majority — but only just.

Your mortgage balance is less than $224,500

fizkes/Adobe husband and wife doing paperwork

Per the same Experian data, the average home-owning millennial has a balance of $224,500 on their mortgage loan. If you own a home and owe less than that amount, you’re doing better than most millennials. 

You’re also doing better than most home-owning Gen Xers, whose average remaining mortgage balance is $238,344.

Resolve $10,000 or more of your debt

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You have more than $10,000 saved for retirement

fizkes/Adobe business owner with eyeglasses

As a millennial, you have several decades left until retirement, but saving now is crucial if you want to retire with enough money to maintain your quality of life.

According to information from GoBankingRates, more than 50% of millennials have less than $10,000 saved for retirement. If you’ve saved more than that, you’re more financially sound than most members of your generation.

Your household earns more than $71,566 per year

insta_photos/Adobe woman looking at paperwork

In 2020, US Census Bureau data found that the median household income for millennial households was $71,566 (before taxes). Earning more than that? You’re doing much better than average.

You spend less than $1,461 per week

Prostock-studio/Adobe cybershopping concept

Earning more than the median is a good indicator of success, but your financial health depends on what you earn and how much you spend. The average millennial spends $208.77 a day (or $1,461.39 a week), which doesn’t leave much left over for savings.

Your net worth is over $135,600

fizkes/Adobe woman holding letter

Your net worth refers to the total amount of assets you own minus your debts or liabilities. You can calculate your net worth using a free calculator from the FDIC. 

If the amount is higher than $135,600, congratulations: Your net worth is above the median millennial amount.

You have less than $32,800 in student loan debt

fizkez/Adobe serious woman calculating domestic bills

Generationally, millennials have less student loan debt than both Gen X and baby boomers. Still, the average millennial borrower owes $32,800 on their student loans.

You have an emergency fund

virojt/Adobe man taking notes with account passbook

A 2023 LendingTree survey shows that 53% of millennials have an emergency fund. As with homes, more millennials have emergency savings than don’t.

But since 47% of millennials lack an emergency fund, it’s safe to say you’re ahead of the curve if you have one.

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You spend less than $76.86 on groceries each week

Prostock-studio/Adobe African American woman choosing groceries 

The average millennial spends $10.89 on groceries a day, which comes to $76.86 on groceries each week. If you’re spending less on groceries than that, you’re spending less than the average millennial. 

You’re also spending less than the average American. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans spend $11.95 on groceries daily.

Your monthly car payment is less than $533

loreanto/Adobe Two young women enjoy their summer day trip through the countryside, singing and dancing inside the car to the music playing on the radio.

Americans pay an average of $533 per month toward used car payments (or $726 monthly on new car payments). Around 40% of millennials keep their payments at $500 or below. 

If you’re paying less than that, you’re doing better than most members of your generation and most Americans in general.

You aren’t living paycheck to paycheck

Pormezz/Adobe young woman using calculator

LendingClub recently reported that an incredible 73% of millennials live paycheck to paycheck, which is a higher rate than members of any other generation. 

If you don’t stress about making ends meet until your next check clears, you’re in the millennial minority.

If you’re in the process of making moves to stop living paycheck to paycheck, you’re on a great path. Keep going.

Bottom line

Prostock-studio/Adobe couple holding hands

While comparing your finances to your fellow millennials can help you understand where you stand, these metrics only tell you so much.

If you’re saving more than you’re spending, have healthy financial habits, and keep working to get ahead financially, just keep doing what you’re doing. Maybe you aren’t ahead of the curve just yet — but you will be soon.

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Author Details

Michelle Smith Michelle Smith has spent a decade writing for and about small businesses. She specializes in all things finance and has written for publications like G2 and SmallBizDaily. When she's not writing for work at her desk, you can usually find her writing for pleasure near large bodies of water.

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