NEW YORK (MainStreet) Millennials keep high balances in their checking accounts, surpassing Gen X-ers, a TD Bank survey said.
While Baby Boomers, or those ages 55 and older, keep an average of $3,447.80 in their checking account, Millennials or those who are aged 18 to 34 followed close behind with an average balance of $2,241.20. Gen X-ers, or those aged 35 to 54, maintained an average of $2,081.80.
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"Millennials have higher balances than their counterparts because this group has more debt," said Ryan Bailey, executive vice president of deposits and payments for TD Bank, the Cherry Hill, N.J.-based financial institution. "They have more payments credit cards, car loans, mortgages and others. If you have 15 to 20 payments, you have to keep a little more in checking to have the protection."
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A recent survey conducted by Fiserv, the Brookfield, Wis. financial services technology provider, found similar results among 10,000 respondents Gen Y-ers or the Millennials maintain a higher minimum balance of $1,809 in their checking accounts than Gen X-ers of $1,544 or Baby Boomers of $1,472.
Many Millennials keep more of their money in their checking account, because they need the cash flow to pay all of their bills, said Sean Devlin, a 23-year-old who is working in the financial public relations industry in the Philadelphia area.
"Many of us are new to the working world and having money to spend at hand is a luxury of sorts," he said. "I've been employed full-time for around six months. This goes with the theory of us young people thinking we're invincible."
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Some of Devlin's emergency reserve is also kept in his checking account in case he needs money immediately to pay for an unplanned car repair.
"Personally, I tend to keep money in my checking account so I can auto pay my student loans and have available funds for anything that goes wrong with my car or apartment," he said.
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Since many Millennials are recent graduates, most have only been receiving regular paychecks for a few months. Many want to maintain their belief of living for the present, Devlin said.
"There is an attitude of living in the now that my generation maintains and I fully support," he said. For better or worse, it's just the nature of the beast. I was born in 1990 and I'm very curious to see what the generation 10-15 years behind me does with their finances."
As consumers get older, they often increase their minimum balance, Bailey said.
"This is not a new occurrence," Bailey said. "This is the way people think. As you get older, the minimum balance goes up. You can afford it and you get more benefits for the account. As you get older, you want to add your money to savings accounts. Millennials are just trying to meet their daily banking needs."
Many millennials are still looking for checking accounts which offer a low minimum balance of $100, Bailey said.
"People are frustrated with fees and they want to have many options," he said.
Some consumers still lack an adequate savings account, which puts them in a bind when they lose a job or become ill.
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"Without a well-funded savings account, Americans are left with less than ideal resolution options when an unplanned event occurs," said Gail Cunningham, vice president of public relations for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. "Taking money from a higher priority such as rent or utilities, borrowing from friends and family, charging the expense, or high-interest loans can all trigger a negative spiral that aggravates an already shaky financial situation. The good news is that people are aware of their need to save. People may feel they can't afford to save. I say they can't afford not to."
--Written by Ellen Chang for MainStreet