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June 12, 2014 10:10 PM

Millennials 'Drowning' In Debt; Try To Save

Sioux Falls, SD

From student loans to credit cards, many millennials say they feel like they're drowning in debt.  Wells Fargo surveyed 1,600 millennials between 22 and 30 years old and found debt was their biggest financial concern.  But even as they struggle financially, millennials place a high priority on saving. 

Paying for higher education and credit card bills, nearly half of millennials spend at least half of their monthly paychecks on their debt. 

"I worry about debt a lot; I'm going to a four-year school," Carrington Kissner said.

Millennials are putting the biggest chunk of their income to credit card bills, and then mortgage debt followed by student loans. 

"I think jobs are out there and good jobs are out there, but at the beginning, you don't make a lot," Josh Aberson said.

Real Estate Broker Josh Aberson isn't worried about debt, but he knows his clients are.  As a result, he sees his peers putting off home ownership.

"It's increasingly becoming 27 to 30. I just sold a house to a first-time homebuyer couple that's 29 and 33 and they waited," Aberson said.

The Wells Fargo Survey says Millennials' attitudes toward spending and saving have been shaped by the Great Recession.

"With the recession and everything that's happened, and the financial troubles that have occurred for a lot of families-I think (people) our age has kind of grown up with the idea that you have to support yourself or you have to find help and a lot of that is going to be through loans," Josh Jasper said.

At the same time, most millennials, some 72 percent, are confident they can save enough to create the lifestyles they want in the future.

"I'm really positive and I'm going to be hopeful, but I'm still worried," Kissner said.

More than half of those surveyed say they are saving for retirement, with most saving between one and five percent of their income.  Those that aren't saving at all for retirement say they just don't have enough money to save right now. 

In the Wells Fargo survey, the median annual household income for millennial men is $77,000 versus $56,000 for women.

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