- Eighty-six percent of millennials said they treat themselves at least once a month, according to Fidelity Investments' 2018 Millennial Money Study.
- This doesn't mean millennials are bad with money or spend recklessly; contrary to their reputation, millennials make saving a priority.
- Millennials are balancing their current spending on "treats" with financially preparing for the future.
Millennials' money habits may not be as bad as their reputation suggests.
Known as the generation to "live in the now" and "live their best life," many millennials have a "treat yourself" mentality, according to Fidelity Investments' 2018 Millennial Money Study. In the survey, millennials were asked how often they "treat" themselves (defined as a purchase made to bring joy) - 86% said they treat themselves at least once a month, setting them back $110 a month on average.
But a "treat yourself" moment doesn't always equate to spending money recklessly.
"There are a lot of assumptions that millennials only live in the moment, but our research debunks that - they are balancing their current health and happiness with their financial futures," Brooke Forbes, senior vice president of digital planning and advice at Fidelity, said in the news release.
More than a quarter of millennials said that after a rough week, the thing that would bring them the most joy is some form of entertainment, such as going to the movies, happy hour, dinner, or a concert, according to the Fidelity report. This isn't surprising considering millennials tend to value experiences over ownership of things.
But seeing what their friends post on social media - whether it's sun-drenched photos from a recent vacation or drool-worthy dinner pics - is envy-inducing for some millennials. According to the survey, 63% of millennials said social media has a negative influence on their financial well-being.
Still, Forbes said, "Millennials deserve some credit: Many display strong financial habits, despite the magnified temptations they face daily thanks to social media."
Half of those surveyed by Fidelity said they're balancing spending now equally with saving for the future - and even more said saving for the future is as gratifying as treating themselves today.
Business Insider previously reported that millennials save more money than the national average, and Bank of America's Better Money Habits Millennial report revealed that more than half of millennials are saving - in fact, one in six have six figures tucked away. On top of that, nearly 75% stick to their budget.
Millennials even report being more dedicated to saving than older generations. Northwestern Mutual's Planning & Progress Study 2018 found that they were more likely than other generations to say they're "highly disciplined" or "disciplined" financial planners.
Specifically, more than half considered saving enough money for a milestone - marriage, college, or buying a house - their top financial priority.