Financial freedom continues to elude Millennials, building up savings is #1 financial goal for 2017


Louisville, KY—February 1, 2017—In recent Twitter polls, responded to predominantly by Millennials (Gen Y) and Gen Z*, SUM180 asked respondents to share their biggest barrier to financial freedom and financial goals for 2017. The results reveal that more than 50% of respondents to each poll identified not having enough and building up savings as their primary goal. SUM180 is an online financial planning service designed to be simple and affordable.

“In an article tagging Millennials ‘The Cheapest Generation,’ The Atlantic revealed that new car sales had plummeted among this age group (from 38% in 1985 to 27% in 2010) and that the number of young people getting their first mortgage was just half what it had been 10 years earlier. Many Millennials were delaying marriage as well, citing heavy student debt and a shaky economy as reasons. Observing these trends, many of us wondered whether a perfect storm of factors—re-urbanization, student debt, flat wages, new technologies fueling the sharing economy—would permanently re-shape the financial aspirations of this generation. Whether this is the case remains unclear. What appears to be clear, as the result of the financial freedom poll suggests, is that financial freedom continues to elude Millennials,” Carla said.

What is your biggest barrier to financial freedom?  
(1,422 respondents; predominantly Gen Y and Gen Z*)
51%      I just don’t have enough
21%      Debt gets in my way
18%      Confusion: What’s next?
10%      Ignoring my finances

“Is this group, in fact, worse off than previous generations? A comparison using the Guardian’s income calculator shows that people age 20-24 in the U.S. are making $3,389 less than they did in 1979. However, people age 25-29 in the U.S. make about $1,274 more than people their age did in 1979. According to the data, Gen X and Boomers have an even larger income advantage over past generations. This tells us that, directly out of school, the financial barriers young people are experiencing are real, but that they recede after a few years.  Continued barriers, then, are more about attitude than reality. As such, we’re heartened to see indication of this in the response to our poll on financial goals for 2017,” Carla continued.

What are your financial goals for 2017?  
(1,185 respondents; predominantly Gen Y and Gen Z*)
55%      Build up my savings
23%      Cut down on spending
12%      Pay down debt
10%      Set a budget and honor it

“Young people understand that they need to build their savings, and—at least as they enter the 25-29 age range—they are finally in a position to make real progress toward achieving their financial goals. The key to success is to break through the barrier of thinking ‘I can’t, it’s hopeless’ and then creating a clear, manageable plan for moving forward,” said Carla.

For those looking to seriously pump up their savings in 2017, Carla offers the following tips

1.     Take stock of where you are. Work with a financial adviser to build a game plan that shows you where you stand financially and clarifies your immediate next steps. A good plan will also point out your accomplishments to date. It will help correct those misconceptions—like “I just don’t have enough”—that keep you from tackling your savings goals.

2.     Use a spreadsheet or money tracking app (like Mint or Quicken) to understand where your money is going. Simply gathering the data and seeing it in one place will empower you to better align your spending to your priorities and zero in on ways to save. The point is to learn to be mindful of where your money is going. This allows you to prioritize and make targeted changes to your spending.

3.     Jump start your savings campaign with a no-spend month. This exercise can make a big difference in your personal balance sheet. It’s simple: commit to a 30-day period of spending ONLY on necessities. Walk or bike to everywhere instead of driving; take lunch to work every day; embrace free entertainment options, like exploring local parks. Not only will you save a lot of money during this one month period, you may find yourself re-evaluating old spending habits altogether and deciding you prefer your own creative, low-cost alternatives.

4.     Identify two or three regular monthly expenses that you can do without—then delete them. For one person, the eliminated expense may be premium cable and a too-generous data plan. For another, it may be online shopping and extra spending on eating out. Be creative so you don’t feel deprived. If you love to eat out, challenge yourself to make delicious meals at home six nights a week. Your one restaurant meal per week will feel more special and you’ll save a ton of money.

5.     Set up automatic transfers for the beginning of the month. By doing this, money you have earmarked to save is transferred from a checking account to a savings account before you have a chance to spend it on something else.

6.     If you haven’t yet, join the ‘sharing economy.’ Why spend money buying stuff when sites like Freecycle, StreetBank, Zilok, Peerby and U-Exchange let you find what you need for free, trade for what you want or rent it for less? You can also quickly fatten your savings account with extra income by participating in popular services such as Uber, Lyft, TaskRabbit and DogVacay.

*Twitter polls do not match respondents to their birth dates, but rather predict respondents’ age through other factors. Twitter reported that 75% and 70% of the respondents to these polls, respectively, were Gen Y and Gen Z.


About SUM180 

SUM180 is an online financial wellness service designed to make planning and dealing with your money simple and affordable.

Specifically, SUM180 is differentiated in the following ways:

  • SUM180 meets people where they are. SUM180 plans are personalized to help people wherever they are right now on their financial journey; whether they’re just beginning, starting over or well on their way.
  • SUM180 plans are simple. They start with only the three (3) most important next steps, making them easier to accomplish, and gives clients a clear picture of where they are.
  • SUM180 doesn’t assume clients want to become financial experts to meet their financial goals. SUM180 provides the tools they need, without overwhelming them with “education” and details they don’t need.
  • SUM180 offers a community for users, unfiltered, which allows them to explore and share.
  • SUM180 serves; never sells. Earning and keeping client trust is SUM180’s highest priority
  • SUM180 never makes commissions from any of its recommendations, ever.

Additional information about SUM180 may be found at

Robin Schoen
Robin Schoen Public Relations
215.505.2122 office
215.595.7542 mobile