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News: Optimism is In, Especially with Millennials -

Optimism is up for Americans when it comes to finances, with Millennials being the most gung-ho about the next six months, according to the new American Express Spending & Saving Tracker. With confidence up, so is spending and saving.

Across the board savings have increased for all generations, but people aren't reining in their spending. They are looking for balance and still treating themselves, spending money on everything from fashion and leisure activities to computers and gaming. This may well be due to some feeling more secure in their jobs this year over last (34% vs. 25% in 2014).

This is not a new development. Optimism has been on the rise as the economic recovery continues. “Over the past few years, we’ve seen consumer spend confidence improve steadily,” said Jed Scala, senior vice president, Consumer Lending at American Express. “Millennials especially are feeling more optimistic than ever, and they are apparently ahead of the savings game, too.”

Millennials are growing up

Millennials are known for being creative and very in touch with expressing themselves, but according to the Tracker they are also getting a reputation for being fiscally smart and saving more.

On average with a few months to go in the year, they have managed to meet 49% of their savings goals, with 40% reporting that they have more in the bank than they did last year.

This trend may be somewhat due to setting goals when it comes to savings. Last year, survey takers were asked what their projected savings would be, and their final number was $12,189 for the year, but when asked the same question this year, their number was a more realistic $10,063. They are also putting more elbow grease into the mix with twice as many Millennials looking for second jobs to boost savings, more than the other generations.

All generations have an eye on saving

The Millennials aren't the only ones saving. When people regardless of their age were asked about their savings goals in January they reported that they were looking to save $11,292 on average this year. When the study checked in with them in August they had already saved $7,518. They were ahead of the game, up 5.1% from the same time last year and at the 70% mark for their goal.

Paychecks fueled savings for many but others boosted savings by cutting down on luxuries, selling off items they didn't need, and working a second job, along with saving bonuses and the refunds from their tax returns.

But even with all that, people are balancing saving with spending, with 74% reporting that they have spent as much or more this year as they did last year on having fun and looking good.

The American Express Spending & Saving Tracker was conducted online from August 18 to 21. They interviewed 1,505 adults that was a mix of the general U.S. population.