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Maybe the millennials aren't doing so badly after all.
A slew of recent media reports and studies have painted the millennials as a generation defined by financial hardship and struggle. They are burdened by student debt, blocked from a career by high unemployment and unable to buy homes or marry because of a lack of savings or investments.
"Millennials are the first in the modern age to have higher levels of student loan debt, poverty and unemployment, and lower levels of wealth and income than their two immediate predecessor generations," said a recent Pew Research report on the group, which now ranges in age from 18 to 33 years old.
They also have been described as a highly idealistic, left-leaning generation who values happiness and social good over material gains.
A new study, however, paints a much different picture, and shows the millennials might not be quite as impoverished or austere as we think.
A report from The Shullman Research Center, titled "Millionaires Have Their Own Generation Gap," found that 23 percent of today's millionaires are millennials. There are now about 5 million millennial millionaires. That's half as many as the boomers. But it's more than the older and more established Gen-Xers, who count only 4 million millionaires among their ranks.
Millennials also like to spend. The survey found that 82 percent of millennials are planning to spend on luxury over the next 12 months—compared with 58 percent for Gen-Xers and 32 percent for boomers. Their No. 1 luxury purchase is a vacation (44 percent).
The millennial millionaires are far more likely to be male. Fully two-thirds of millennial millionaires are male, compared with 40 percent for boomers and 55 percent for Gen-X.
They are also more optimistic about the economy and they are clear in their goals of getting rich. Fully 49 percent of them said they wanted to "get rich" compared with only 6 percent for Gen-Xers and 14 percent for boomers.
"Millennials want to remain financially independent, to have fun, and to become rich," the report said.
They also don't seem to be suffering from hardship. Fully 84 percent of them are satisfied with their personal financial situation, compared with 63 percent for Gen-Xers and 72 percent for boomers. And 91 percent of millennial millionaires say they will be better off financially in 12 months.
Of course, the millionaires are a small slice of the total millennial pie. But they could become a potent force for the economy if their own rosy predictions come true.