New Wells Fargo Survey Shows Americans Feel Optimistic About Their Finances

Millennials are the Most Optimistic
Audio: 
Gigi Dixon, Senior Vice President & Director of Strategic Partnerships at Wells Fargo

(San Francisco, CA, Thursday, October 29, 2015) - Americans feel optimistic about their finances and the future, according to the third “How America Buys and Borrows” survey by Wells Fargo & Company and Ipsos. The findings show millennials, ages 18 to 35, are the most optimistic about their finances and report being most likely to buy a home in the next three years. This optimism is a shift from last year when generations were more united than divided in their outlook.

In June 2015, the “How America Buys and Borrows” survey asked nearly 2,000 American adults ages 18 to 65 about their attitudes and perceptions of the current economy, financial situations and understanding of credit. Weighting on age, gender, education, diverse segments and income were applied to the results to achieve a nationally representative population.

Data from the 2015 survey shows millennial optimism is strong in several key areas: 

  • Twenty-eight percent of millennials rate their current financial situation favorably, compared to 24 percent of the general population;
  • Looking ahead, 66 percent of millennials feel their personal financial situation will improve, compared to 48 percent of the general population – an 18 percent divide;
  • Millennials are most likely to be in the process of refinancing their mortgage or buying an investment property, vacation home or new home for themselves; and
  • Nearly a third of millennials say they plan to buy a new home in the next three years, compared to 19 percent of their general population counterparts.

Additional findings reveal a thirst for more knowledge:

  • More than half (52 percent) of respondents say borrowing money makes them uncomfortable;
  • Half report some level of discomfort with the payments they currently make to repay debt;
  • A third (34 percent) grade their overall understanding of personal finances a C, D or F;
  • Forty-one percent grade their overall understanding of how credit scores work a C, D or F;

10 Tips to Get Smarter About Credit

Good credit helps with more than borrowing. It can factor into everything from renting an apartment and getting a cell phone, to landing a job. Lenders, landlords, utility providers, and employers can all review credit reports when making decisions. Here are 10 tips to help manage credit:

  1. Monitor your credit regularly
  2. Know your credit limits
  3. Know that good scores = good rates
  4. Don’t make late payments
  5. Know your debt-to-income ratio
  6. Start with a college or secured credit card
  7. Pay down highest interest rates first
  8. Live within your means
  9. Pay more than the minimum amount
  10. Set up account and autopay alert
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