New Survey Finds That 70% Of Millennials Are Living Paycheck To Paycheck

Millennial couple stressed about money
via Shutterstock

Born between 1981 and 1996, millennials were once seen as future bearers of economic prosperity. Yet a shocking new report paints a different picture: seven in every ten are living paycheck to paycheck.

That’s right, 70% of millennials, despite being technology wizards (who often wish they picked a different career path) and cultural trendsetters, are struggling to make ends meet month after month. 

The data comes from, which surveyed one thousand millennials in April 2023. Each respondent answered questions related to their financial situation, debt, income, expenses, and opinions on other financial matters.

The findings reveal some startling information about millennials and how they save and spend their money. 

Millennials are struggling with debt

Millennials, or those age 42 – 27, find themselves in a precarious financial situation, according to the report. A significant 70% live paycheck to paycheck, according to the survey, struggling to meet basic expenses like bills (56%) and housing (47%). 

Respondents to the survey reveal that life events have pushed many into debt, with 42% blamed medical emergencies and 31% blamed job loss. Other events include having children, legal costs or disputes, weddings, and divorce. 

According to the report, this financial strain puts 36% at risk of bankruptcy. Most millennial women (74%) live paycheck to paycheck, with 49% unable to afford an unexpected $500 expense. The average millennial has seen their savings dwindle to $42,948, $6,500 less than in 2022.

Despite earning an average of $74,106 per year, millennials feel they require $119,406 to live comfortably. Just 27% believe they’re better off than their parents at the same age, and a staggering 96% have financial regrets, including not saving enough (51%) and going into debt (34%). Over half (53%) see incurring debt as inevitable in today’s world.

But some millennials only have themselves to blame…

However, some financial challenges are self-inflicted.

For example, according to the survey, more than 1 in 10 (11%) say they buy a cup of coffee every day. And that daily coffee habit can add up quickly

The report finds that over half (51%) of millennials acknowledge not saving enough, and many often dine out (59%) or make impulse buys (44%).

This includes 59% ordering food delivery for a meal once a week, 51% shopping online once a week, and 46% buying alcohol and drinks. 

Additionally, 90% of millennials carry non-mortgage debt, averaging $90,590. 

The survey found that credit card debt has ensnared an estimated 57% of millennials, who now grapple with an average balance of $8,463—a stark increase from $5,349 in 2022. Furthermore, a substantial 22%, or slightly more than one in five millennials, find themselves under the burden of at least $15,000 in credit card debt.

Increased housing costs also an issue: According to the survey, more than half of millennials (57%) are spending over 30% of their income on housing in 2023.

The burden of millennial debt

All this debt and unchecked spending is putting a lot of weight on millennials’ shoulders. Particularly when it comes to saving for the future or having an emergency fund. 

The report found that 49% of millennial women say they cannot comfortably afford a $500 emergency expense out of pocket, compared to 37% of millennial men.

Millennial savings have also decreased significantly, with respondents reporting an average of $42,948 in savings — a decrease of roughly $6,500 since 2022. 

In conclusion

In summing up, it’s a tough financial world for millennials who were once tipped for economic success. Rising living costs, soaring debt, and shrinking savings paint a bleak picture. Solutions lie in both sweeping policy reform, financial literacy, and a hard look at personal spending habits.

It’s a stiff test for this tech-savvy, trendsetting generation. But if anyone can innovate their way out of this financial squeeze, bet on the millennials to flip the script.

B. Carlisle

Contributing editor at Wealth Gang. An entrepreneur at heart, he's passionate about meaningful ways to leverage technology and social media for business opportunities and side hustles.