A majority of millennials treat their retirement accounts like a piggybank.
According to ETrade, more than a third of millennials make withdrawals from their 401(k) plans – and they use the money for a purchase, vacation or other personal expense.
"That's a very high percentage," said Gregg Murset, a certified financial planner and CEO of BusyKid, a savings app for kids and families. These early withdrawals point to an inability to set priorities, he says.
Young workers who do this clearly lack a full understanding of why they're setting that money aside in the first place. Murset says three things are responsible for this gap.
The first is the lack of financial literacy. Only 17 states have a required personal finance course for high school students. This can set kids up for financial problems later in life, including lower credit scores.
Parents and schools blame each other, Murset says. "Parents say the schools should be teaching it," he said. "And the schools say these lessons should be learned at home."
We all make financial decisions all day, every day, according to Murset, making it more important than many school subjects.