Passion More Important Than Paycheck, Seattle Millennials Say

January 30, 2018 at 9:00 AM Eastern

Nearly three-quarters of Seattle millennials believe passion is more important than salary in their career, according to the new Better Money Habits® Millennial Report released by Bank of America today. Seventy-two percent of Seattle millennials say that personal interest or passion is more important than the size of their paycheck, compared to 56 percent of millennials nationally.

The report, which surveyed 23- to 37-year-olds, also found that 67 percent of Seattle millennials wish they had chosen a job with a better work/life balance, and 47 percent wish they had chosen a job they enjoyed more.

Even if money isn’t their main motivator, Seattle millennials are more likely to stress about their finances than their peers nationally. Thirty-four percent of Seattle millennials often worry about finances, compared to 25 percent nationally. Their biggest financial stressors are not putting enough money into savings (37 percent), credit card debt (20 percent), not planning/saving for retirement (19 percent), and the cost of everyday items like groceries (19 percent).

Asked to name the top obstacles to financial freedom in Seattle, millennials here named housing costs (61 percent), day-to-day living expenses (48 percent) and health care costs (19 percent).

“Seattle can be a pricey place to live, especially for millennials who are just starting out in their careers,” said Michael Gonzalez, Small Business Banking manager, Bank of America. “While many millennials indicate they’d choose a job with purpose over a big paycheck, they still need to pay the bills and want to buy homes. Better Money Habits offers resources that help millennials better understand where their money is going so they can, among other things, make the most of their personal finances.”

Better Money Habits is Bank of America’s free financial education platform. It features easy-to-understand information and tools to navigate personal finance topics like spending and budgeting, home ownership, taxes and income, and more. The Better Money Habits Millennial Report explores millennials’ views on personal finance matters to give insight into the unique financial milestones they experience as young adults. This is the fifth installment of the report, which has been published since 2014.

Despite high cost of living, Seattle millennials are saving and budgeting

While money may not be the driving factor in their careers, Seattle millennials are still attentive to their finances and displaying important habits – like saving and budgeting – that are on par with or better than millennials across the country.

  • In Seattle, 67 percent of millennials are saving and 66 percent have a savings goal, compared to 57 percent nationally. It’s not all talk, either: 70 percent of Seattle millennials who have a savings goal usually meet it.

  • Seattle millennials are budgeting at a higher rate than their national peers, and most who budget say they stick to it. Sixty-nine percent of Seattle millennials budget, compared to 54 percent nationally, and 72 percent of them stick to their budget every month or most months, on par with 73 percent nationally.


Also, 48 percent of Seattle millennials have $15,000 or more in savings. Their top reasons for saving are to have an emergency fund (56 percent), retirement (43 percent) and vacation/travel (35 percent).

At home, money is a source of tension for Seattle millennials

Millennial couples in Seattle are more likely to say that finances cause friction at home. Thirty-three percent of Seattle millennials say that money/finances are the top source of tension in their household, compared to 25 percent of millennials nationally.

As parents, Seattle millennials are also more likely to consider finances to be an important factor when thinking about having children than their peers nationwide. Thirty-six percent say that financial considerations played a major role in their decision to start a family, compared to 30 percent of their peers nationally.

Report methodology

Bank of America commissioned a survey of 1,500 respondents, ages 18 to 71, to explore their views on personal financial matters. The survey was conducted online in English and Spanish during the period of September 22–October 16, 2017. Interviews were conducted by GfK Public Communications and Social Science, using GfK’s KnowledgePanel®, a statistically representative sample source used to yield results that are projectable to the American population. The margin of sampling error for national data is +/- 3.1 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level. An augment sample of approximately 2,025 additional interviews was also included to bring the millennials found in the national sample up to 300 completes each in six DMA markets including Austin, Texas; Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; San Diego, Calif.; Pittsburgh, Pa.; Denver, Colo.; and Seattle, Wash. Margin of error for the DMA augments are higher than that of the national sample.

Better Money Habits®

At Bank of America, we’re committed to helping people lead better financial lives by equipping them with the skills, knowledge and confidence to succeed. That’s why we created Better Money Habits, a financial education platform of tools and information that helps people make sense of their money and take action to improve. As a cornerstone of Better Money Habits, we offer free financial education content and tools that break down financial topics in a way that’s digestible, approachable and tailored. We also work with the education nonprofit Khan Academy on a video series for young adults focused on career-related financial topics. We continually look for ways to expand the reach of Better Money Habits and over the course of 2018 will offer Spanish language resources on the site.

Bank of America

Bank of America is one of the world's leading financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small and middle-market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk management products and services. The company provides unmatched convenience in the United States, serving approximately 47 million consumer and small business relationships with approximately 4,500 retail financial centers, approximately 16,000 ATMs, and award-winning digital banking with approximately 35 million active users, including approximately 24 million mobile users. Bank of America is a global leader in wealth management, corporate and investment banking and trading across a broad range of asset classes, serving corporations, governments, institutions and individuals around the world. Bank of America offers industry-leading support to approximately 3 million small business owners through a suite of innovative, easy-to-use online products and services. The company serves clients through operations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and more than 35 countries. Bank of America Corporation stock (NYSE: BAC) is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. 

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Reporters May Contact:
Vanessa Cook, Bank of America
Phone: 1.980.683.2247