Reports of young people's financial behavior often treat millennials as an indistinguishable group, but a new survey from PNC Financial Services Group (PNC) has found that their debt and savings patterns vary greatly by age.
People between the ages of 20 and 24 carry an average debt load of $17,100, according to PNC's Financial Independence Survey report released last week. Millennials between the ages 25 and 29 have double that amount of debt, carrying an average load of $35,600.
Younger millennials are also more likely to be debt-free. Nearly a third of people between ages 20 and 24 have no debt, compared to just one in five of older millennials.
Not only do younger people carry less debt, they are also more likely to save. Ninety percent of the younger set said they were committed to putting money away, compared to 83% of their older peers.
Both younger and older millennials have savings aspirations that may not correspond with reality, according to the survey. Seventy-four percent of respondents say they plan to own a home before age 35, but just 11% are currently saving money for that purpose. Two-thirds expect to stop working before or in their early-to-mid sixties, yet just 6% are putting away money for retirement. Sixty-two percent say they might like to start their own business, but only 4% have socked away cash to do so.
PNC's nationwide survey of 3,288 people between the ages of 20 and 29 took place between June 7 and June 24, 2013.