Surveys continue to show a major disconnect between how optimistic many millennials are about their financial future and what they are actually doing to make sure they achieve their goals.
In a Bank of America/USA TODAY survey released Wednesday, the majority of millennials say they are good at living within their means—paying off credit cards in full each month and limiting spending. Yet more than half admit to living paycheck to paycheck—and many are still living with or living off their parents.
More than a third in the survey of 1,001 people ages 18-34 still depend on the "Bank of Mom and Dad" for financial support for regular expenses, including cellphone bills, groceries, clothing, car payments and health insurance.
Sure, it's tough to save when saddled with student debt. Yet a third of the millennials are able to save—for a vacation. And more are saving for travel than for a house.
Stashing cash for emergencies may be a top goal of some millennials, but it's not a reality: 37 percent in the survey admitted to having less than $5,000 saved and 22 percent had no savings at all.
Despite all of this, 4 in 5 said they think they'll be at least as well off, if not more so, than their parents.
Maybe they will. More than a third of Americans age 55 and older have less than $10,000 in savings and investments, according to the 2014 Retirement Confidence Survey from the Employee Benefits Research Institute.
So the bar isn't very high.