Your college roommate works at a fancy law firm and just bought a new car to celebrate his promotion. The girls you used to brunch with seem to always have new designer handbags and fresh manis.
From where you’re scrolling, all of your friends are doing really well while you can’t seem to get it together financially. The truth is, most people have no idea what they’re doing when it comes to money. While everyone’s life may look totally under control from the outside, the numbers tell otherwise. Here is the real truth about your friends’ finances.
1. They are living paycheck to paycheck.
Nearly 80% of full-time workers are living paycheck to paycheck. While unfortunate, this makes sense considering the majority of our country never received a financial education. By the time most of us fully grasp how important it is to save money, we’ve already formed bad habits that make it extremely difficult to do so.
Most of your friends don’t know how to manage their money and have little to no savings. Four in ten of Americans don’t even have enough cash to cover a $400 emergency.
2. They worry about money.
More than a quarter of millennials say they are stressed about money to the point where it negatively affects their performance at work. On top of that, 23% of millennials say financial stress makes them physically illon at least a monthly basis.
Both of these numbers are roughly double what the general population experiences. And that’s saying a lot considering money is the leading cause of stress in America. Your friends may act like they have it all together but many of them are freaking out about their finances.
3. They have credit card debt.
FOMO is real and it’s a big cause of credit card debt. In fact, almost 40% of millennials have spent money they didn’t have and gone into debt to keep up with their peers.
The average household that’s carrying credit card debt has a balance of more than $15,000. So if you’re wondering how your friends can afford to live so lavishly, the answer is they can’t.
4. They aren’t saving for retirement.
66% of millennials have absolutely nothing saved for retirement. Which is understandable with student loans, high housing costs, and stagnant wages. It can be really hard to save for something that won’t happen for several decades when you have more pressing expenses to deal with.
Millennials also don’t realize how much they’ll really need to retire. 75% think less than $1 million will allow them to retire comfortably. According to AARP, a retiree needs to save about $1.18 million to live off of $40,000 a year for 30 years. So the majority of millennials are drastically underestimating just how expensive their golden years will be.
If you’re embarrassed that you can’t commit to regular 401(k) contributions, know that you’re not the only one.
5. They have no idea what they’re doing with their money.
Nearly 70% of millennials rate themselves as having a high level of financial knowledge. But when given a basic financial literacy test, only 8% were able to demonstrate a high level of knowledge and only 24% could demonstrate a basic level of knowledge.
So when a friend tells you what you should be doing with your money, think twice about listening to their advice. There’s a good chance that they’re dead wrong.
The bottom line? You’re not as far behind as you think and now is a great time to start managing your money the right way. Regardless of what your friends are doing, you can start making the smart decisions that will get you where you want to be financially.