Financial Planning

2024 Millennials' Financial Milestones

Nearly half of millennials say they are doing better financially than their parents at the same age

CFP Board research reveals millennials’ top life goal: financial independence. View the complete report here.

WASHINGTON, June 6, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Achieving financial independence is the highest priority for Americans aged 25 to 44, according to the 2024 Millennials’ Financial Milestones study, the latest CFP Board research report.

The survey found that millennials’ most-cited life goal is financial independence or stability (46%). Other life aspirations include traveling (39%), having a long, healthy retirement (38%), achieving career fulfillment (32%) and developing lasting relationships with family and friends (31%).

To achieve those goals, millennials must first ensure that they have a sound financial picture. Most are optimistic: 7 in 10 (70%) believe they can achieve their life goals, and 58% have a positive financial outlook. Additionally, 43% of millennials see their financial situation as better than their parents or guardians at the same age, while only 32% see themselves as worse off.

“It’s no wonder financial independence and stability are paramount for millennials,” said CFP Board CEO Kevin R. Keller, CAE. “The eldest millennials entered the workforce during the 2008 financial crisis, which left lasting impressions. But this generation now shows that prioritizing financial goals and working with a competent, ethical CFP® professional to achieve them can provide confidence today and a more secure tomorrow.”

Financial Milestones Are Steppingstones To Life Goals

A majority of millennials (63%) are confident in their ability to achieve the financial milestones they set. Furthermore, 41% of survey respondents also believe it is easier for them to achieve these milestones than it was for their parents or guardians at the same age.

For millennials, the main goal in their lives is also their top financial milestone: 58% of millennials are working to feel financially independent or stable. To achieve financial security, they are prioritizing the creation of a savings account or emergency fund (57%), being financially self-sustaining (50%), holding minimal debt (50%), owning a home (47%) and funding a retirement account (41%).

Despite their optimism, 9 out of 10 millennials say they face challenges that keep them from fully realizing their financial goals. Three obstacles that millennials contend with are having “too many” expenses (47%), having little or no savings (36%) and holding significant debt — both credit card and student debt (34%).

By developing a financial plan, millennials can enjoy their lives today while staying on track to achieve their life goals of financial independence and stability...

Millennials Make Smart Financial Decisions But Still Find Ways To Treat Themselves

To meet their financial milestones, millennials are identifying new ways to earn extra money (49%), reducing spending on necessary items (47%) and reducing spending on discretionary expenses (45%). Additional steps they are taking include developing and sticking to a budget (44%), saving for future known expenses (34%) and opening or adding to a retirement account (31%) or an investment account (31%).

When seeking to reduce expenses, millennials are more likely to cut spending on eating out and delivery (63%), attending events (including movies, concerts and sports) (49%) and buying clothes (45%). However, they are less likely to reduce spending on less expensive, everyday pleasures. Only a third or fewer reduced spending on daily, low-cost items, including streaming services (34%), gym memberships or fitness classes (29%) and coffee (28%).

“By developing a financial plan, millennials can enjoy their lives today while staying on track to achieve their life goals of financial independence and stability,” said Kevin Roth, Ph.D., Managing Director of Research at CFP Board. “They would benefit from working with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional to create a plan that sets achievable milestones that empower them to reach bigger life goals.”

Given the importance placed on achieving financial stability, more than a third of millennials report that they have worked with a financial planner, with most indicating high satisfaction with the experience.

To find a CFP® professional who can help you achieve your financial goals, visit




On April 11, 2024, CFP Board’s Research team sent an 11-question survey to a panel of Americans aged 25 to 44 nationwide, sourced by Alchemer. The panel ensures that the data collected reflects a reliable demographic and geographic representation of the targeted population. The 950 survey responses serve as the basis of this report and are subject to a sampling error of +/- 3.1% at the 95% confidence interval.
About CFP Board
CFP Board is the professional body for personal financial planners in the U.S. CFP Board consists of two affiliated organizations focused on advancing the financial planning profession for the public’s benefit. CFP Board of Standards sets and upholds standards for financial planning and administers the prestigious CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification — widely recognized by the public, advisors and firms as the standard for financial planners — so that the public has access to the benefits of competent and ethical financial planning. CFP® certification is held by more than 100,000 people in the U.S. CFP Board Center for Financial Planning addresses diversity and workforce development challenges and conducts and publishes research that adds to the financial planning profession’s body of knowledge.