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Younger Millennials Carry Less Debt Than Older Counterparts, PNC Study Finds

The bank surveyed the personal finance habits of consumers age 20-29.

The financial habits of millennials aged 20-24 differs vastly from that of their older counterparts in the 25-29 range, a survey from PNC Bank found.

The PNC Financial Independence Survey, which sought insights into the financial patterns and mindsets of 20-29 year-olds, found that the younger set carried just half the debt -- about $17,100 -- than that of their older peers ($35,600).

Nearly one third of the 20-24 demographic carried no debt whatsoever, compared to the older set, where just one in five reported having no debt. Further, the study found, among respondents with some level of college education, average reported debt came in at $31,800, a 30 percent drop from $45,400 in 2011. In the 25-29 age group, debt amounts were reported at double, triple and quadruple that of their younger peers when it came to car loans, credit cards and mortgages, respectively, the survey found.

Millennials overall hold ambitious goals when it comes to major life events that require financing in their future, the survey found. Regardless of age, 74 percent think they'll own a home before age 35, two-thirds think they will retire before or in their early to mid-sixties, and more than three in five 62 percent claim to have considered starting a business.

"Financial maturity in this generation has noticeably shifted," said Cary Guffey, financial advisor at PNC Wealth Management in a statement. "Younger millennials just entered adulthood when the economy shifted downward and as a result, it's clear they've become more cautious by avoiding debt."

Bryan Yurcan is associate editor for Bank Systems and Technology. He has worked in various editorial capacities for newspapers and magazines for the past 8 years. After beginning his career as a municipal and courts reporter for daily newspapers in upstate New York, Bryan has ... View Full Bio

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