Greatest Generation?

You might be surprised which one is showing the most financial responsibility.

Each week, Consolidated Credit searches for financial research that can help you deal with your debt and budget. This week…

The interesting study

A company called Financial Finesse spent two years asking 35,000 employees around the country to fill out “financial wellness assessments.” It recently issued its report, called Generational Research 2016, and what they learned isn’t what you might’ve guessed.

The big result

Millennials make smart credit choices

After crunching the numbers, Millennials scored much higher than common wisdom might suggest. Most surprising: In 2015, 61 percent of Millennials said, “I check my credit report annually.” That eclipsed Generation X (60 percent) and Baby Boomers (56 percent).

Knowing your credit score is often a sign of overall financial knowledge. In other words, if you’re doing that, you’re probably paying attention to other financial issues.

The fascinating details

Millennials are also the generation most concerned with debt – 61 percent said “getting out of debt” was their top priority. For Gen X, it was 55 percent, and for Baby Boomers, it was only 31 percent.

As the nation approaches $1 trillion in credit card debt and still struggles with a savings rate in single digits, Consolidated Credit president Gary Herman finds this statistic particularly encouraging.

“While the Millennial generation is the one mostly struggling to pay back more than $1.2 trillion student loan debt, the credit card crisis is shared among all three generations,” Herman says. “In more than two decades at Consolidated Credit, I’ve tried to educate people about the hidden costs of debt. Many listen, and they get their lives in order. Sadly, many don’t. Maybe Millennials will turn that tide.”

What you can do

Take a lesson from the 61 percent of Millennials who check their credit reports every year. In fact, do it every four months – for free. While many adults in all three generations know you can get a free credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com, they don’t realize they have three different reports.

The “Big 3” credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – are each required by law to give you a free credit report per year, if you request one. So the best way to ensure your report has no incorrect information is to ask for one every four months. Spreading out the reports means you’ll see more up-to-date information. If you want to know what’s actually in your report, check out Consolidated Credit’s special section called Understanding Your Credit Report.