It seems like every time the words “Millennials” and “money” appear in the news, they’re connected by a phrase like ... “don’t have any.”
But new research paints a slightly sunnier picture of young adults’ finances, giving us reason to believe that they’re actually more stable than many others.
We know: It sounds implausible. But the eighth annual America Saves Week survey, conducted by the Consumer Federation of America, suggests that Millennials are saving more than almost any other generation.
According to the survey, 56% of people ages 18 to 34 are socking away at least 5% of their income, compared to 52% of the general population. Young adults also showed significant improvement in their savings rates—in 2014, just 50% of them were saving at least 5%.
Millennials are making progress on other financial fronts, too. Nearly two-thirds have an emergency fund to cover unexpected expenses, compared to just 53% last year.
What’s more, the portion of Millennials who have savings plans increased from 43% to 47% since 2014. That’s especially important, given that the survey found those with financial plans are more likely to hit their money goals.
So what’s driving Millennials’ positive financial behavior? While this survey didn’t look specifically at people’s motivation for saving, other research suggests that Millennials learned key lessons from the recent recession, like the idea that it’s important to save now to prevent future financial disaster.
Ultimately, while this research may be generally heartening, it’s important not to jump to conclusions based on a single survey. After all, Millennials’ money habits can look a whole lot different based on who’s measuring them.