Survey shows younger employees struggling to meet financial goals

A new survey reveals young adults’ attitudes toward work, their employer and personal finances. Gen Z and Millennial Survey: The Pandemic Perfect Storm—One Year Later, conducted by Georgetown University’s AgingWell Hub in partnership with Bank of America,1 is a follow-up to a similar survey conducted in 2020 and checks in on progress young adults are making toward their financial goals.

“Millennials in particular face challenges in managing their personal finances, including paying down debt, creating a budget and saving for retirement, with nearly half saying that they are living from paycheck to paycheck. This also shows the need for access to sound financial wellness programs in the workplace,” says Kevin Crain, head of Retirement Research & Insights at Bank of America.

“More than ever, young adults are prioritizing workplace benefits when considering an employer. A more diverse labor market and competition for talent makes it vital for employers to offer strong benefits that cater to the needs of their Gen Z and Millennial employees,” Crain says.

The following are five key findings from the new report:

  • 56% indicate that they will prioritize flexibility, (e.g. time, working hours, comfort, etc.) in their next job
  • 51% want their employer to support working from home, even after the pandemic restrictions subside, an 8% decline from last year
  • Nearly half (48%) say they are living paycheck to paycheck, 6% more than last year
  • Less than one-third (28%) believe that they could handle an unexpected major expense, a 4% drop from 2020
  • Less than one-third (30%) reported taking steps to save for retirement despite 43% citing it as a top financial goal in 2020

Key takeaways

Download the full report: Gen Z and Millennial Survey: The Pandemic Perfect Storm—One Year Later.

Promote the Education Center on Benefits OnLine®, where employees can conveniently access articles, videos and tools tailored for a range of life stages and needs.

Workforce benefits, such as retirement plans and financial wellness programs, coupled with financial education and individualized guidance can help employees take charge of their financial futures. Your Bank of America team can work with you to develop a holistic program to help meet the needs of younger adults at your organization.

1 Methodology: The Pandemic Perfect Storm—One Year Later was fielded October 14 to October 20, 2021, and was conducted by the AgingWell Hub at Georgetown University’s Business for Impact at the McDonough School of Business in partnership with Bank of America. It was designed and executed by Edge Research utilizing an online panel to produce a nationally representative sample across the U.S. with 1,174 respondents, ages 22 to 40, across all genders, age bands, geographies, and education and income levels. Sufficient samples of races/ethnicities and marital, parent and student statuses were collected. Two generations are analyzed in this report: respondents ages 22 to 24 as leading-edge Gen Zers, and respondents ages 25 to 40 in the millennial cohort.