Financial stress among American workers is high, particularly among millennials, a group that makes up 35 percent of the U.S. workforce.

A study by Payoff shows that one in four Americans and one in three millennials suffer from a condition known as Acute Financial Stress (AFS).  Study author Dr. Galen Buckwalter suggests that there is virtually no difference between the symptoms of AFS and a more well-known condition known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Surveys by the American Psychiatric Association indicate that millennials (born between 1981 and 1996) are the “most anxious” generation, which some experts attribute to that group being worse-off financially than their parents. Millennials have lower employment rates, larger student loan debts, and are less likely to own a home than previous generations at the same age.

Do millennials want financial education?

Although stressed about finances, millennials send mixed signals about their desire to learn how to become financially sound.

In a recent study, “Millennials’ Engagement with Online Financial Education Resources and Tools: New Survey Insights and Recommendations,” George Washington University’s Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center found that:

  • 55 percent of millennials grasp basic financial concepts, but only 25 percent are truly financially literate
  • 92 percent state they would like to be better at money management
  • 40 percent believe they don’t have enough money to worry about financial education
  • A majority only seek financial education when the need is urgent
  • One-third feel that money is a private matter and dislike discussing it even with friends and family

More than half of millennials say they find it hard to be financially responsible even when they have the right information.

Ironically, this digitally connected generation often feels like they don’t know where to turn for financial information. This could be due to their mistrust of online financial resources. The GFLEC study shows that just over half of millennials either don’t trust or are not sure if they trust resources found on the Internet. Nearly one-third of millennials also believe that information with value is not available for free and will be too expensive to use.

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