Why Are Millennials So Stressed About Money?

Meagan Johnson
3 min readJul 24, 2018

According to a recent Mercer report, financial stress experienced by employees can cost organizations up to $250 billion. That’s right, 250 billion dollars in lost wages, with employees spending around 150 hours annually worrying about money while on the job.

One might think the number-one generation worrying about their financial situation would be the Baby Boomers as they reach retirement age. Surveys shows that only around 24 percent of them feel confident they’ll have enough money to last them throughout their retirement. Or, maybe it’s the Gen Xers, who feel they should have started saving for the future much sooner. The truth is it’s neither of these generations.

Photo by Artem Bali on Unsplash

Millennials and Money

It’s Millennials, 80 million people born after 1980 who worry most about their finances. A whopping 67 percent of feel that financial stress interferes with productivity at work. What are Millennials worrying about?

Understanding Millennials in the Workplace

Millennials graduated during the Great Recession, which resulted in stalling the beginning of their careers or forcing them to accept lower paying jobs. In fact, the average millennial makes $10,000 less than their Baby Boomer parents did at the same age.

Millennials also have more student debt than any generation previously. The average student loan is $37,000, which they won’t pay off until they hit age 35. Plus, credit card debt is also prevalent among Millennials, and combined with student loan debt, this leads to them delaying major life events, like marriage or buying a home. Their debt also takes a toll on their overall wellness. Forty percent of Millennials feel that worrying about their student loans interferes with their health.

So what can companies do?

We see organizations going out of their way to attract Millennials, doing crazy things to get their attention, entertain them and engage them. Maybe helping them with their student loans and improving their financial health might work better. Ninety percent of Millennials said they would commit to a job for five years in exchange for assistance with their student loans. This is noteworthy because three years is the average job stay for a Millennial.

Because many Millennials feel as though their education did not prepare them to handle their finances, they are looking to their employers for help with investing, taxes, saving for a home, and of course, dealing with their student loan debt.

This is why it’s so vital for companies to offer a variety of financial wellness tools to attract and retain Millennials. Some organizations have a financial professional on staff to assist them in planning for their financial future and to provide training in personal financial management. These professionals play a key role in helping Millennials understand their finances. Not only is this good for the organization, but it helps build a foundation that Millennials will stand on for the rest of their lives.

Helping Millennials with Money

It’s not uncommon to hear people reaching retirement age say they wish they had started saving for their future much sooner. What can organizations do to ensure the financial wellness of their young employees?

Millennials understand how to save for more short-term goals like a vacation or for a purchase like a new laptop. It’s in saving for long-term goals, however, that they need help. They may know they need to start saving for retirement sooner rather than later, but they aren’t sure how to do so or what steps they need to take right.

What’s an easy way to help Millennials start saving for retirement? Offer perks that can save them money, like in-house meals, healthy snacks and beverages. Why? The average American worker spends three thousand dollars a year on coffee and lunch breaks at work. Plus, employees making their daily run to get their favorite cappuccino or double fizz latte can cost your company $24 billion in lost productivity alone!

By supplying a few of these affordable perks, you’ll help ease the stress of your Millennial employees while also saving your organization literally billions of dollars in lost productivity hours.



Meagan Johnson

As a speaker, author and generational humorist, I write and speak about generations in the workforce.