Man throwing money and hundred dollar bills into the air

A man throwing money (© deagreez -

NEW YORK — More than half of millennials (58%) think they’re more mature than their parents when it comes to finances. Unfortunately, a new poll finds two-thirds can’t even define many basic financial concepts.

The survey of 2,000 millennials examined their financial knowledge, finding that while many feel they know more than their parents, 71 percent still want to learn more. Half of those surveyed say they’ve already taken more of an interest in managing their finances this year than last year. So much so, that eight in 10 are confident in their ability to manage their finances.

Conducted by OnePoll and commissioned by BOK Financial, the survey finds there’s still plenty to learn, as only a third were able to correctly match six basic financial terms to their correct definitions. One in nine millennials admit that they’re not confident in understanding how the credit score system works.

Similarly, nearly a fifth of respondents haven’t heard of the term “rising rate environment” (19%), and even more aren’t aware that they’ve likely been impacted by this kind of economy (36%). Surprisingly, 62 percent of millennials could not correctly identify the definition of “credit,” and even more couldn’t define “net worth” (66%), “mutual fund” (66%), “home equity” (68%), or “bonds” (68%).

Infographic on millennial confusion over financial terms

To avoid misinformation and make sure they’re guided correctly, most have sought information from a financial professional (59%), citing that this is the top source (33%) they trust beyond their own research. Interestingly, the second most go-to resource for financial information is their friends (54%), and another 47 percent look for guidance from social media or influencers.

“Millennials gather information from a variety of sources and the survey reiterated the importance of having a financial professional you can rely on,” says spokesperson Kimberly Bridges, director of financial planning at BOK Financial, in a statement. “With all of the information out there coming from many directions, we encourage you to double-check the qualifications of your sources and consult a professional advisor prior to making significant financial decisions.”

Many are playing the long game when it comes to their finances, but one in seven still lack confidence in their financial plans to save for long-term goals, especially female respondents ​​(58% of women feel confident compared to 65% of men). However, maybe millennials are being too hard on themselves. While the average respondent expected that they’d purchase a home at 37 years-old, the average millennial homeowner surveyed accomplished this feat at age 29.

Seventy percent of millennials surveyed are homeowners, and while women felt less confident in their long-term financial plans, more women (78%) than men (63%) currently own their homes. However, times have changed according to one in eight who believe it’s impossible for others their age to afford a home today.

A quarter of millennial non-homeowners have saved up money to purchase a house (26%), but most of these respondents have put those plans on hold (62%) in the current economic cycle. The average millennial who was saving up for a home, but hasn’t yet purchased one, has $46,560.51 from their home fund in the bank.

Further, half of all respondents say the current economy has had an impact on where they always imagined themselves living (48%), putting their plans for moving somewhere secluded (27%), or to a big city (22%) on hold for now.

“Millennials are confident and optimistic on the whole, in spite of the economic challenges they have experienced. Even with today’s rising home prices they are not deterred, with 70% still believing it is possible for people their age to afford to purchase a home,” Bridges says. “With their positive outlook, willingness to educate themselves and desire to partner with trusted financial professionals, I have no doubt they will be able to accomplish their long-term goals.”

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 millennials was commissioned by BOK Financial between Nov. 15 and Nov. 17, 2023. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).

About Patrisha Antonaros

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1 Comment

  1. Ralph D. Lynch says:

    Ignorance is a stupid choice.