By Carlo Versano
Sixty percent of millennials would have to beg, borrow, or steal if confronted with a mere $1,000 in emergency expenses, according to a new survey from LendingTree, which defines the generation as those between 22 and 37 in age.
But the rest of the country doesn't fare much better. Only 42 percent of Gen-X could come up with a grand to cover an emergency, and just 60 percent of Boomers. All told, less than half of all Americans could cover the cost with cash or savings.
The other half said they'd either borrow from family or friends (16 percent), sell something or use a credit card (9 percent each), work more (7 percent), or take out a loan (6 percent).
Brian Karimzad, vice president of research at LendingTree, told Cheddar that millennials were least prepared in part due to the combined $1.5 trillion in student loan debt they are carrying. But asked whether they fared worse than past generations at the same point in time, he said: "the answer is mixed."
Obviously, younger generations are more stretched and less liquid than older generations, though Karimzad noted that millennials born in the 1980s had 34 percent smaller net worth than would have been predicted based on prior generations.
And yet, there is reason to remain optimistic. "This is the most educated generation in history," he said. As millennials advance in their careers and earning potential, that 60 percent number will shrink.
In the meantime, he has some age-old advice: Save. A 401(k) that automatically debits from a paycheck is the best way to avoid the temptation to spend that money instead, he said. However, he noted that money would not typically be available in an emergency situation.
"Try to force that savings," he said. It may be the difference between bouncing back from an emergency or going bankrupt.
For full interview click here.