Study: Saving vs. spending causing anxiety in millennials
Local residents confident in financial plans


September 10, 2017


Jason Eggert and his wife, Katie, plan to continue investing in retirement despite the added cost of welcoming their first child, Emma, three weeks ago.

Submitted photo

WAUKESHA — While a study by Northwestern Mutual found that millennials are feeling stressed by the tug-of-war from wanting to spend money to knowing they must save for the future, Waukesha County millennials expressed much more confidence in the financial plans they have in place.

According to Northwestern Mutual 2017 Planning & Progress Study, nearly two-thirds of millennials (64 percent) recognize that they need a financial plan that anticipates up-anddown cycles compared to 55 percent Gen X and 43 percent of baby boomers.

The study also found that nearly one in four (23 percent) of millennials view themselves as “highly disciplined” financial planners (compared to 15 percent for Gen X and 19 percent for baby boomers) but are still substantially more likely than Gen X and Boomers to say that their financial planning needs improvement (82 percent millennials relative to 71 percent Gen X and 54 percent boomers).

Millennials also excel at starting to save early, the study found, with 34 percent of millennials saving at a young age compared to 24 percent of Generation X and 17 percent of baby boomers.

Local millennials start saving early

Jason Eggert, vice president of commercial banking for Associated Bank, is a good example of that.

He said that when he was 17 years old and working at Associated Bank, he was told to pay himself first, so he set up a 401K and started to contribute 3 percent of his paycheck to it. Now, at almost 30 years of age, he is putting 15 percent into the fund.

Eggert said since the money isn’t showing up into his bank account, and instead just going straight into his 401K fund, he doesn’t really miss the money and then plans his lifestyle around what goes into the checking account.

But there is the desire to enjoy life, Eggert said.

“We try to have a good balance because we have that same mentality as some other millennials of wanting to do things,” he said.

Eggert and his wife, Katie, welcomed their first child, Emma, three weeks ago. Reducing his contribution to the 401K fund doesn’t seem likely, although it’s something Eggert says he has in his back pocket should the need arise.

While Eggert stated saving at a young age, he said the attitude is different

among millennials, especially those on the younger side who are more apt to spend.

For Eggert and his wife, using Google spreadsheets to monitor their spending is key. Both are able to plug in their purchases using their smartphones.

Twenty-eight-year-old Brock Diedrick with Mangold Creative said because he comes from a finance background and due to the way he was raised, he has placed emphasis on saving. After graduating from college, Diedrick said, it was important for him to obtain a job that had 401(k) options. And since he still lives in an apartment and doesn’t have kids, Diedrick felt it was time to start investing in a Roth IRA now.

“I am being diligent now to put money away, to start earning now to put myself into a good place for the future,” he said.

Diedrick’s millennial friends place importance on spending money on experiences, such as sporting events and local cultural events, but the group he is closest to also places importance on saving.

Spending vs. saving

Balancing the desire to save and urge to spend can be challenging.

According to the Northwestern Mutual study, the financial stress millennials feel has a pronounced effect on their health, careers and social lives.

Twenty-eight percent say that anxiety impacts their job performance daily, weekly or monthly and nearly one quarter (23 percent) say financial anxiety makes them physically ill weekly or monthly. Nearly two in 10 (18 percent) feel depressed due to financial anxiety on a weekly basis and 24 percent say financial anxiety affects their relationship with a spouse/partner hourly, daily or weekly.