Fluent Study: College Millennials Worry About Money

Millennials have been tagged—perhaps unfairly so—as the most self-entitled generation to grace the planet since, well, their baby boomer parents.

But a new study from Boston-based Fluent suggests that college aged Millennials worry more today about how they’re going to pay their bills than previously thought. According to the study, only 19% of the over 1,000 college kids polled felt they had the money to meet expenses while 79% are more cost-conscious now than they were a year ago.

And they’re less reliant on Mom and Dad for money to pay their expenses than they are on school-year and summer jobs, per the survey, conducted in late July and earlier this month. Fifty-four percent of those polled said they’re reliant on school-year jobs while nearly as many (52%) rely on summer jobs. Less than half said they rely on “family gifts” to help pay the bills.

Nearly 45% said they were reliant on student loans while 38% said they participated in work-study programs during the school year.



“Most young people are no strangers to budgeting and economizing,” stated Michael Carey, EVP of Fluent. “At the same time, they are willing to pick and choose a few luxuries and splurges to keep life fun. It’s about maximum cost/benefit for them and the brands that understand this will do well with this demographic.”

More than half (53%) of the respondents said they have to meet greater expenses this year with less money.

According to the survey the five top “must haves” this year (in order) are text books, transportation, clothing, mobile and furnishings for living quarters. So-called “splurges” include brand name backpacks, shorts, designer agenda planners and make-up.

The top three purchasing influences, per the survey are recommendations from friends, coupons and in-store product demonstrations. Influences rated least important included Pinterest and other visual sharing social channels, online product demos and editorial. 

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