For Some Reason, the Millennials Are Ready to Go Shopping

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- America's Millennials are of two minds about their financial futures -- they're bearish on the long term, bullish on the short term.

A study from Financial Finesse, a money management website for consumers, says Millennials "are at significant risk" of not saving enough for retirement. Only 17% say they are on track to retire with recommended income allocation -- 80% of their annual income in retirement.

Financial Finesse Chief Executive Liz Davidson calls the Millennials a "lost generation" financially. "Although they have more time than the boomers and Gen Xers, they face far more economic and financial challenges than any other demographic, and they're not recognizing retirement planning as a priority," Davidson says.

But Millennials seem to be brushing off those financial challenges, acting quite bullish on the economy in the short term.

Data on consumer credit risk from FICO says that 30- to 39-year-olds are "the largest source of growth" in the consumer lending market over the next six months.

That segment is at the heart of the Millennials -- Americans born after 1982.

Overall, FICO says 46% of bankers surveyed believe Americans will be borrowing more for things such as new homes and new cars and putting more purchases on credit cards. Only 8% of bankers say requests for credit from Americans will decrease over the next six months.

Another 53% of bankers surveyed expect credit card balances to rise through March, and only 7% say credit card balances will fall.

"The theme of the economic recovery seems to be 'slow and steady,'" says Andrew Jennings, chief analytics officer at FICO. "Consumer spending and income ticked up slightly during the summer. I'm sure that contributed to the feeling among our respondents that consumer borrowing is poised to increase. It remains to be seen if the government shutdown causes consumers to tighten their purse strings."

But it's those Millennials who will be driving that credit train, FICO says.

Half of the bankers interviewed in the study say those 30- to 39-year-old borrowers will be at the front of the line, and in greater numbers, to borrow money this year and next. Another 22% say their younger brothers and sisters (in the 20-29 age category) will be right behind them looking to spend some money.

Only 18% of bankers view Americans 40 and older as a big driver in consumer spending, the FICO report states.

Nobody is sure why Millennials take a dimmer view of their long-term financial prospects and a brighter one over the short term. But the consensus is that the 30-39 demographic is ready to buy more cars, buy or refinance more homes and break out their plastic in greater numbers as the nation heads into the holiday shopping season.

A few caveats: FICO says student loan delinquencies are on the rise, and that could affect those 30-somethings looking for more credit muscle. And 72% of bankers surveyed say interest rates will rise in the next 180 days. That would make credit purchases more expensive.

Past that, though, the Millennials are ready to buy, and buy now -- regardless of student loan debt and higher rates.

Economists can argue whether that's a good financial strategy, but one thing's for sure: It would be a big boost for a wheezing U.S economy.

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