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Millennials still burdened by debt, according to new survey

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Delaware Public Media
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A new survey by student loan servicing company Navient says millennials are financially healthy despite half of respondents having little savings and report trouble paying their debts.

According to the survey, 83 percent of people between the ages of 22-35 are in “good” or “excellent” financial health.

But those surveyed only had to score a 44 on a 100-point scale to land in the “good” financial health column – a score well below the typical F grade handed out by teachers across the country.

The majority of people took out loans to pay for their education and still owe an average of more than $23,000. Many others have thousands in credit card and auto loan debt.

Despite that, Julia Clark, a researcher for the study, says the lack of young people meeting these traditional milestones can’t directly be attached to their outstanding student debt.

“There is a body of evidence that suggests there’s a relationship. We just can’t within the context of this study point to the specific sort of steps, if you will, of that relationship because the analytics don’t allow for that,” Clark said.

Those who don’t complete college have more trouble paying debt of any type off and earn less than those who only have a high school diploma.

Saving any kind of money is also an issue for young people. 52 percent of them report saving less than $1,000 or not making it a priority at all.

More than two-thirds aren’t saving for retirement and half own a home.

Sarah Ducich, head of lobbying at Navient, says the burden of student loans isn’t to blame for a lack of savings by millennials.

“There may be subtle effects of student debt all the way through here, but it’s not as pronounced – it’s really the [college completion rate] that’s key," Ducich said.

Those who do have college or advanced degrees report higher salaries than those who don’t. Just 62 percent of young people are employed full-time.

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