Millennials get a bad rap when it comes to spending. (If we hear another avocado toast joke, we’ll throw our matcha lattes against the wall.) But research from Charles Schwab reveals that—surprise!—Millennials are actually more responsible with money than Generation X and Baby Boomers. The company surveyed 1,000 Americans between the ages of 21 to 75, and looked at four main categories: goal setting and financial planning; saving and investing; staying financially on track; having confidence in reaching financial goals.
The research revealed that Millennials are more focused on saving, investing and financial planning than older generations. Millennials were significantly more likely to have a written plan (31 percent) than Gen X (20 percent) and Baby Boomers (22 percent), and 74 percent of Millennials regularly rebalance their investment portfolios (compared with 66 percent of Gen X and 64 percent of Boomers).
TLDR: You probably have a slight edge over older people when it comes to getting a grip on your finances. Here are other ways—some obvious, some sneaky—to figure out if you’re savvy. And if you’re not? No worries. There are easy fixes you can make now to get yourself on the path to money moves.
You believe you’re good with money
Being “good with money” isn’t just a matter of spending less than you earn. It’s a mindset. A new study of more than 2,000 students at the University of Arizona found that financial self-efficacy (a belief in your ability to succeed at financial tasks) correlated with people’s financial health more than almost anything else, including gender, race, and socioeconomic background. In the study, students who believed they could learn to manage money had a much higher chance of achieving financial well-being after they graduated than those who didn’t. They also tended to earn more.
You keep a to-do list—and cross stuff off it regularly
In his book Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits Of Wealthy Individuals, author Thomas Corley spent years interviewing both wealthy and poor people. He found that not only do the wealthy keep to-do lists, but that two-thirds of them complete 70 percent or more of those listed tasks each day.
You know exactly how much you need every month
If this number comes to mind without you having to scratch out some rough math, you have a head start on about half of U.S. residents, according to a poll by Bankrate.com. The survey found that 42 percent of people don’t track their expenses. Make things way easier by downloading an app that automatically keeps tabs on your cash flow, like Joy.
You live a healthy lifestyle
In a 2016 study, economists Matthew Gibson and Jeffrey Shrader found that one extra hour of sleep per week can result in 5 percent higher wages. In a new study published in the June issue of the Journal of Labor Research, researchers found that employees who regularly exercise earn 9 percent more than those who don’t.
You always sock some away
The average American saves 5.4 percent of their salary, according to a report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. But experts say you should be putting between 10 to 20 percent of each paycheck. About 20 percent of millennials are saving 15 percent or more of their income, finds research from Bank of America. What’s more, savers are more likely to feel comfortable with their finances and are better able to weather a financial crisis like the last recession—without having to cut back on their expenses. Bottom line? No matter how much you make, if you’re in that savings zone, pat yourself on the back—and keep it up.