Millennials--What the 2015 National Financial Capability Study Reveals

By FINRA Investor Education Foundation Staff

Millennials are the largest cohort in the U.S. workplace today. While millennials make up about 33 percent of the work force in the U.S., they constitute three-quarters of the service men and women in the military. Understanding the financial capability of millennials is an important step toward understanding the financial capability of the military in general.  

Although the improving economy has lifted many boats, some groups continue to struggle. Consistent with previous years, the latest National Financial Capability Study (NFCS)—released this month by the FINRA Investor Education Foundation—finds that measures of financial capability continue to be much lower among younger Americans, those with household incomes below $25,000 per year and those with no post-secondary educational experience. For instance: 

The NFCS measures four key components of financial capability: making ends meet, planning ahead, managing financial products, and financial knowledge and decision making. Drawing on a data set comprising responses from more than 27,000 U.S. adults, the NFCS is one of the largest and most comprehensive financial capability studies in the country.

All in all, the study revealed that the millennial cohort is more highly stressed financially than older cohorts. Further indicators of this stress include:

Even though retirement may seem like a long way off to a millennial, more than half (57 percent) reported being worried about running out of money in their golden years. Yet many don’t hesitate to borrow or withdraw from retirement accounts. Twenty-two percent of millennials have taken a loan from their retirement account and 20 percent have taken a hardship withdrawal.

To learn more about millennials and other segments of Americans, take a deeper dive into the findings of the NFCS by visiting

Later in 2016, the FINRA Foundation will release the findings of the Military Survey portion of the NFCS. Stay tuned.

Need help handling your finances? can help!