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Editors' pick: Originally published August 25.
Millennials are cracking under the weight of too much debt.
According to Merrill Lynch's 2016 Workplace Benefits Report, only 24% of millennials surveyed say that they are in control of their finances and 40% report an unmanageable amount of debt. 85% of the millennials surveyed say the financial benefits offered by their employer are critical to their financial security, yet 70% say they need help understanding how these benefits work.
"A high percentage of millennials are buckling under the weight of student loan debt and their post-college jobs are not paying them enough to relieve much of the burden," said Kevin Crain, head of workplace financial solutions at Bank of America's (BAC) Merrill Lynch. "They are feeling the stress."
Meanwhile, the survey showed that millennials have far less desire than other generations to separate their personal finances from their work life.
The Merrill survey also showed that millennials are more likely to work for a company that offers financial wellness programs. Over half of millennials say that they would like their employer to provide online tools (65%) and access to a one-on-one relationship with a financial professional (54%). Millennials say they would prefer to get education and guidance about financial benefit plans via a website (70%) or one-on-one in-person (57%), rather than in a group setting, such as a seminar (39% vs. 58% of Baby Boomers).
The survey also showed that 52% of plan sponsors believe millennials view benefits differently than other generations. 38% say millennial employees value equity compensation more than other employees, and nearly half (49%) of respondents also noted that millennials prefer to invest on their own.
Despite these differences, only 12% of plan sponsors with millennial employees have made an effort to use different technologies or channels to communicate with and motivate millennials to become more engaged with their benefits. Of those who are using different technologies or channels to communicate with and motivate millennials, texting (49%), LinkedIn (41%) and Facebook (38%) are the most popular channels, according to the survey.
More than half (54%) of employers with millennial employees cite that millennials can access their human resources or benefits website via their smartphone.