Skip to Main Content

Strategic Business Insights (SBI) logo

Millennials: Poised to Mature Segment Summary November 2015

Source: 2014–15 MacroMonitor

Learn more: MacroMonitor subscribers may contact us to learn more about Millennials households’ financial attitudes, needs, and behaviors.

In 2015, the number of Millennials (75.3 million young adults between the ages of 18 and 34) has surpassed the number of Baby Boomers (74.9 million). However, only 42 million Millennials live independently of family—parents and relatives (Pew Research, July 2015). The MacroMonitor reports 34 million Millennials-headed households. Subdividing Millennials households: 15% are affluent, and 85% are nonaffluent; 26% are single, and 28% are married (or cohabiting); 46% have dependent children. Within Millennials, age has very little predictive value; Life Stage is an effective method to understand Millennials-household financial needs as they develop and mature.


Some Millennials’ demographics point to Life Stage.

  • Affluent Millennials households and households with children are the oldest; mean ages are 33 and 32, respectively. Single Millennials heads are youngest, with a mean age of 29. Two in five of all Millennials are younger than age 30.
  • Affluent Millennials households have roughly three times the median HHI that all Millennials ($126K versus $42K) have. Single Millennials have the lowest HHI ($28K).
  • Millennials household heads with children are the least educated; about one-third have a high school education or less; about one-third have some college or a technical school. In comparison, 40% of affluent Millennials have a postgraduate degree.
  • Almost one-half of both affluent and nonaffluent households support dependent children.
  • Four in five Millennials heads work full-time.
  • Millennials are almost twice as likely as all households to rent; only affluent households are as likely as all households to own a single-family home.
  • Affluent Millennials are more likely than average to be an owner or part owner in a business or professional practice and to be in dual-headed households.
  • Roughly one-half of affluent households and two in five married/cohabiting

Product Ownership and Institution Use

Millennials’ product ownership is differentiated by Life Stage. Households starting out own the fewest products; affluent households own the most.

  • More Millennials households than all households need assistance to make ends meet each month; 10% do so. About one-half are financially stable right now.
  • One-third of single Millennials report having no financial goals; almost one-half say they have no financial strategy.
  • Nonaffluent households report an average disposable income of $518 per month, in comparison with $2263 for affluent households.
  • All Millennials subgroups are more likely than all households to say they want to buy a home.
  • Millennials households are more likely than all households to be very interested in a savings plan for their children’s education.
  • Affluent Millennials households are more willing than all households to take a more-than-average risk in savings and investments in order to secure a higher return.
  • In comparison with other households, Millennials households are more interested in learning about how to use credit cards properly, how to manage debt, and how to budget better.
  • Millennials are more likely than all households to believe that life insurance is a good vehicle to use to save for the future.


Unlike older age cohorts, Millennials may not be easily swayed by price or by the physical proximity of an institution. The convenience of an “app” is not a substitute for an array of access options or a lack of focus on their wants. Increasingly, ready information puts customers in the driver’s seat; social-media contacts influence behaviors. Many Millennials are less trustful and more skeptical than previous generations but at the same time more financially focused.

Welcome to the future. To initiate, develop, and retain relationships with Millennials, you must give Millennials reasons to trust you and to value a relationship with your institution.

MacroMonitor subscribers may request a more in-depth profile of Millennials and an on-site presentation of these findings and a Q&A session for a small additional fee.