The content is accurate at the time of publication and is subject to change.
In 2015 more than half of Millennials were thinking about how to turn their financial goals into a reality, but in 2016 that number dropped to 37%, according to Navy Federal's 2017 Millennials and Their Money study. They also found that there is a split between the reality of what's in their bank accounts and their perceptions about where they are financially.
Focusing on financial goals can manifest in taking a variety of actions, ranging from setting a budget to checking credit scores. In this study, they found that 18% of Millennials have set a budget and 36% have checked in to find out what their credit score is over the past 12 months. What about being financially literate? Just 26% believe that their level of financial knowledge will help them meet their goals.
Some may assume that Millennials in the military might have better habits, but their habits were similar to their non-military counterparts, according to the study which looked at the habits of both non-military and military Millennials. When it came to making a budget and checking credit scores, their percentages were just slightly higher.
What's real and what's not
The study found a rift in how Millennials see their financial picture, and how much money they actually have on hand and in the bank. When asked, 56% of non-military Millennials and 84% of Millennials in the military think they have enough money to deal with an emergency. While 64% of non-military Millennials and 78% of military Millennials think they will be able to meet their five-year retirement savings goal.
But the reality of their financial situation does not reflect this confidence, with 83% of non-military Millennials and 73% of military Millennials indicating that they do not have an emergency fund on hand, while 72% of non-military Millennials and 65% of military Millennials haven't saved for retirement.
Saving is on the radar
Even with the divide between perception and reality, saving is still one of their top priorities with nine out of 10 saying just that. And they are willing to put their money where their mouths are, with 64% of non-military Millennials and 82% of military Millennials planning on saving more this coming year.
What about the economy? Whether they are in the military or not, Millennials are feeling optimistic, but military Millennials are feeling more hopeful with 82% seeing better times ahead, while 52% of non-military Millennials feel the same.
The survey was carried out by Forrester Consulting in February and March of this year. They queried 1,600 military, non-military, and veteran Millennials falling in the 18- to 34-year-old age range.