There’s a lot of talk about millennial debt in the media, and there’s a lot of millennial debt to talk about. About a year ago, Business Insider reported that US millennials held about a third of the country’s consumer debt. Fourteen percent of Canadians with significant debt are between the ages of 18 and 29.
In the US, millennials’ experiences with finances and debt have influenced their thoughts about credit. They observed their families’ struggles during the 2008 financial crisis. Many of them have considerable debt from student loans and have not been able to find jobs that help them repay it quickly. And in the US, the 2009 CARD act has made qualifying for credit cards more difficult. Therefore, US millennials are approaching credit differently than previous generations. Less than a third of them have a credit card. In Canada, 95 percent of Canadian Millennials have at least one.
Millennials also have more methods for money exchange available than ever before. In the US, 58 percent still prefer to get paid with cash, according to shopify.com. Many still write checks occasionally. Most of those who don’t use credit cards use debit cards. Across North America, payment apps are becoming more popular.
But with vast amounts of knowledge and experiences accessible to them, millennials on both sides of the border have poor financial literacy. Only eight percent in each country have a high knowledge about money matters, including credit. This lack of understanding—along with high debt, little savings, and being at the low end of the pay scale—makes the financial world a fearful one for many millennials. In fact, 33 percent of US millennials named credit card debt as the scariest aspect of their everyday lives.
People fear what they don’t understand and what they can’t conquer. This month, the COMPASS Initiative gives you several opportuntites to conquer your fears about credit by increasing your understanding:
- Get great insights every week on this blog and on our Twitter feed and Facebook page.
- Join us for a Live Chat with Denise Wayman, regional operations manager for Everence, on Thursday, March 29, 2:00 p.m. Eastern time, 1:00 p.m. Central time, Noon Mountain time, and 11:00 a.m. Pacific time.
So join us, and take some credit for reducing your fear and increasing your understanding about your finances!
About the Author
Marcia Shetler is Executive Director/CEO of the Ecumenical Stewardship Center. She holds an MA in philanthropy and development from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota, a BS in business administration from Indiana Wesleyan University, and a Bible certificate from Eastern Mennonite University. She formerly served as administrative staff in two middle judicatories of the Church of the Brethren, and as director of communications and public relations for Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Indiana, an administrative faculty position. Marcia’s vocational, spiritual, and family experiences have shaped her vision and passion for faithful stewardship ministry that recognizes and celebrates the diversity of Christ’s church and the common call to all disciples to the sacred practice of stewardship. She enjoys connecting, inspiring, and equipping Christian steward leaders to transform church communities.
This blog is a component of the Ecumenical Stewardship Center’s COMPASS Initiative to engage young adults in conversations about faith and finances. Like what you see and want to know/do more? Visit the COMPASS web page, follow us on Twitter, and join the COMPASS community on Facebook.