Millennials and Personal Finance: New Technology, Old Challenges

Millennials and Personal Finance: New Technology, Old Challenges
Millennials have conflicted feelings about their personal finances; they are uncertain but lean toward optimism. This conclusion is in accordance with a recently released Experian report originating from a survey of more than 1,000 millennials, ages 19-34, about a variety of personal finance topics – from their future views, to loan status, to credit knowledge, to use of technology.

The survey follows a July 2015 report from Experian that analyzed credit bureau data and placed millennials last in generational credit score rankings.

Topline survey results include:

  • A surprising number lack knowledge about credit – or show apathy toward it
  • A majority have had their credit, loan or lease attempts impacted – positively or negatively – by credit scores
  • Millennials embrace technology and are quick to try new offerings – at the expense of loyalty

“Millennials are coming of financial age at a very unique time,” says Guy Abramo, President, Experian Consumer Services. “They’ve experienced a recession and the explosive advancement of personal technology. As a result, they’ve developed different views toward managing money, using credit and how they expect financial services to be delivered. The survey also showed that millennials will abandon loyalty for better products and services, which is something the entire financial services sector should consider; the pressure is on to keep innovating.”

Perception vs. Reality:

  • Millennials miss the mark when estimating their generation’s average credit score (654 [est.] vs. 625 [actual]), average debt $26,610 [est.] vs. $52,210 [actual], and average debt, excluding mortgage ($12,580 [est.] vs. $26,485 [actual]).

Current Debt:

  • Despite being associated most closely with student loan debt, credit card debt takes first position as the most common millennial debt (38%), followed closely by student loans (36%). Others, in descending order, are: auto loans (28%), home loans (20%), personal loans (17%) and “other” (14%).

Pushing the Edge of Personal Finance:

  • The majority of millennials (57%) use financial mobile apps to manage their finances
  • Millennials have, on average, three financial apps on their phones
  • Most (57%) millennials are willing to use alternative companies/services that innovate to better meet their needs
  • A significant number of millennials (39%) are familiar with “non-bank” lenders (e.g., Prosper, Lending Tree, Upstart) and 13% have already used such a service
  • Nearly half (47%) will likely use alternative lenders in the future, citing easier application process, not dependent solely on credit score, more accessible, faster review process and digital savvy

Loyalty to a Financial Brand Is a Tough Sell:

  • Many millennials (46%) look for new financial companies/services that better meet their needs
  • More than 3 out of 4 millennials will switch financial accounts if they find a better alternative
  • Most frequently mentioned reasons to switch include: better interest rates (47%), better reward programs (43%), better identity protection (32%) and better customer service (35%), among others

Credit Knowledge Deficit:

  • Most millennials feel confident of their credit knowledge (71%); however, 32% don’t know their credit scores and 67% have questions as to how their scores are created
  • Among those who check their reports less than every three months, reasons for not checking reports and scores include: not necessary (35%/37%), afraid it will hurt their scores (24%/22%), unsure how to check their credit reports/scores (19%/18%)
  • Millennials are very aware of how credit scores impact them; nearly 3 in 4 had a lending or leasing experience helped or hurt by their credit scores

Youthful Angst, but Optimism Prevails:

  • Despite most having a handle on their finances (73%), more than half feel that they are “going it alone” (59%) and that “the odds are stacked against them” (57%)
  • Top financial future concerns are supporting a family (30%), retirement savings (28%) and financial independence (25%)
  • Nearly 3 out of every 4 survey participants had their loan, credit or rental applications impacted – positively or negatively – by their credit scores
  • Despite the concerns, 83% of respondents says being debt-free is an attainable goal; 71% feel confident about their financial futures

View the full report here.

For more real estate information, including a FREE Home Market Analysis and Market Area Statistics, please contact me at or on my mobile phone at 707-337-6938.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

10 Ways to Winterize Your Home

10 Ways to Winterize Your Home
Whether winter proves mild or brutal, colder temperatures can cause major damage to your property. To avoid potential repairs come springtime, take the time now to carry out these 10 winterization steps.

1. Insulate – Proper insulation is essential to keeping heat in and cold out of your home. Insulation tends to be lacking in attics and basements, so evaluate these areas and, if needed, retrofit with cost-effective, energy-efficient injection foam insulation.

2. Weatherize – Weatherization prevents ice dams from damaging your roof.  To do it effectively, be sure to have a qualified professional ventilate, insulate and seal the attic.

3. Test – Take the time to test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors—these early-warning systems are crucial to your family and home’s safety. Replace batteries if needed.

4. Swap – Dirty, clogged air filters in your furnace can result in unnecessary wear-and-tear on the system. Before turning on your furnace for the season, swap in a new air filter to ensure functionality and efficiency all winter long.

5. Install – Homes with single-pane windows are susceptible to cold outdoor air. If your home has single-pane windows, installing storm windows can help block the cold, saving you the expense of unnecessarily heating your home.

6. Switch – If your home has ceiling fans, switch them to rotate clockwise to keep heat from rising to the ceiling during winter.

7. Clean – Gutters free of debris will ensure winter precipitation properly drains away from your home. Clean out your gutters when the last leaves have fallen.

8. Mow – Mow the lawn one last time before winter hits. Don’t forget to leave leaves on the grass—they provide vital nutrients.

9. Trim – Before winter storms strike, assess your property for dead trees, limbs or other plantings that may cause accidental damage. Be sure to trim back branches away from your home.

10. Drain – Water in your garden hose may freeze if left out in the cold, which could cause it and the home’s spigot and pipes to burst. Take time to drain your garden hose before storing.

Source: RISMedia’s Housecall

For more real estate information, including a FREE Home Market Analysis and Market Area Statistics, please contact me at or on my mobile phone at 707-337-6938.

Beautiful Listing on Amber Ridge Lane

Beautiful like new, built in 2006. Designer touches include espresso hardwood floors & tile throughout the downstairs. New carpet installed upstairs. Open floor plan, kitchen with large island and spacious family room with fireplace. Master suite with his and hers walk-in closets. Spa like bathroom with view of the hills from the soaking tub. Finished garage has epoxy floor. Private backyard with stamped concrete patio and tropical landscaping.
4 bedroom
2.5 bathroom
2,291 square feet


Locally Grown Foods Give Household Gardening a Boost

Gardening is growing as the number one hobby in America, with 5 million more households digging in and planting than in 2010, according to a recent National Gardening Survey. The edible gardening category, which includes vegetable gardening, herb gardening, fruit trees and growing berries, recently hit a six-year high in both participation and spending.

Looking to source locally grown food straight from their backyards, nearly 80 percent of gardeners aged 18-30 purchase vegetables to grow, according to the 2014 Home Garden Panel by Metrolina Greenhouses, the nation’s largest greenhouse.

Growing berries emerges as the most popular trend in edibles, likely due to the reported health benefits of antioxidant-rich foods.

Regardless of age, gardeners grow edibles for the pride of harvesting their own fresh produce, to experience the growing process and to share. Almost two-thirds report plans to share their harvest with family, friends or neighbors, lending to the growing trend of community gardening.

Source: Lowe’s

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2014. All rights reserved.

Tips to Reduce Moving Stress

You’ve found the perfect neighborhood and the ideal new house for your family. But before you can settle in and begin making your new surroundings feel like home, you have to cross one more dreaded hurdle: moving day.

"Finding a new home is a wonderful and exciting experience, but moving can be overwhelming -juggling packing, moving essential belongings and transforming your new house into a home," said Wendy Froehlich, vice president of marketing at

To help movers avoid unnecessary stress and reduce property damage, keep in mind these expert tips:

Plan ahead: The key to executing a move that is both efficient and stress-free is to plan your move weeks before the actual day. A moving file and calendar are great ways to keep all of your moving information, such as your lease or mortgage contract, utility hook up, power documents and other important information in one place.

Get organized: Organize boxes for their corresponding room in your new home, sealing them with colored duct tape to color code.

Don’t crack under pressure:
Keep your plates in one piece by stacking plastic foam plates in between each one, and protect glasses by putting them inside pairs of clean socks.

Vacuum seal out-of-season clothing: Don’t waste time fumbling through out-of-season clothing. Not only will it take up less space and be a breeze to pack, but it can go directly into storage in the new place.

Think of the little things: Keep sandwich bags handy to hold any small items you have to take apart, such as the screws for a mounted flat-screen television or your bed frame, and tape them to the backside. Label the bags accordingly to make unpacking and reassembling furniture a breeze.

Sweet dreams: Check the mattress tag; if a mattress is more than eight years old, it has accumulated dust, dust mites and sweat that can make it practically double in weight. Avoid the hassle of moving it and arrange to get a new one delivered to your new home. If the mattress is still in its prime, use a mattress protector to transport it safely to the new home.

Green thumb: Transport plants delicately by using a Christmas tree bag to keep all of the appendages safe and prevent snapping.

Survival kit:
Make life easier when arriving at the new home by packing an easily accessible overnight bag with clothes and necessary toiletries. Don’t forget to include first day essentials, such as a box cutter, paper towels, trash bags and power strips.


Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2014. All rights reserved.