Millennials Struggle with Budgeting

Leadership // October 23, 2014

Millennials are, in many ways, shaping the future of our country. From their love of technology we talked about in last week’s post to their work habits and communication preferences, we are seeing a shift on several fronts.

Another topic to add to the list – budgeting. From a September 2014 USA Today article, we learn budgeting is a struggle for many Millennials. And with 44.5 million 20-somethings currently in the US (the nation’s largest age group), this could have long-lasting implications.

Many Millennials value finding a good job, spending time with friends, and paying back student loans much more than they appreciate collecting receipts, monitoring expenses, and controlling spending.

This article cites three reasons for this lack of financial planning.

One is that Millennials need higher-paying, full-time jobs. Only six of ten 20-somethings are employed, and 30% of those work only part-time. This uncertainty and lack of income derail a Millennial’s interest in planning financially.

Another reason cited is that Millennials want to “keep up with friends’ spending.” Many people in multiple generations work to stay up with their friends’ spending habits, but this is even more true for the younger generation.

But the reason that resonated most with me is that Millennials “don’t know much about personal finance.” A 2014 study found only 18% of Millennials were able to correctly answer four or five basic personal finance questions. And if they don’t understand it, how can we expect them to do it for themselves?

How does this affect your church, you ask? If Millennials don’t budget or understand personal finance, they’re likely not giving.

If Millennials don't budget or understand personal finance, they’re likely not giving. Click To Tweet

If they haven’t prioritized giving, there won’t be much (if anything) left at the end of the month to give away.

This is an area we as the church can influence!

One thing we can do is offer Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University to teach God’s ways of handling money. In FPU, Dave shares Biblical wisdom on how to get rid of debt, manage money, and spend and save wisely. I know from teaching FPU classes in my church, and raising two millennials of my own who have taken FPU, it works.

Your church could start a financial planning ministry, offering free budgeting classes and 1:1 counseling for those who have completed FPU and desire additional accountability. Consider Crown as another valuable resource for such a ministry.

The 20-somethings in the church today will soon be the leaders for the next generations to come. We have a responsibility as the church to enable young adults to gain the skills and knowledge of financial planning, to encourage financial responsibility, and to empower the next generation.

Pastor, how are you empowering the next generation in your church?

About Rusty Lewis

As a church leader, there’s nothing more frustrating than not having the funding to do what God’s calling you to do. But when you think about trying to address that problem, you feel overwhelmed, you dread the potential pushback from your congregation, and you’re not sure where to turn for help. Over the last 18 years, I’ve helped more than 120 churches close the gap between their current financial reality and what they need to move forward in ministry.

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