San Diego Millennials Feel Realities of Housing Costs, Stay for the Draw of Jobs

January 30, 2018 at 9:00 AM Eastern

As local housing costs continue to rise, millennials in San Diego are feeling the pressure. According to the new Better Money Habits® Millennial Report released today by Bank of America, 68 percent of San Diego millennials say housing costs are their top obstacle to financial freedom, followed by day-to-day living expenses (61 percent).

The report, which surveyed 23- to 37-year-olds, found that compared to their peers nationwide, millennials in San Diego are more likely to stress over finances: 38 percent of millennials in San Diego worry often about money, versus 25 percent of millennials nationally. They are also not saving as much: 35 percent of millennials in San Diego have $15,000 or more in savings (compared to 47 percent nationally), and 8 percent of millennials in San Diego have $100,000 or more in savings (compared to 16 percent nationally).

Despite the cost of living, millennials in San Diego say job opportunities are a benefit to help tolerate costs. Asked to name the top benefits to living in San Diego, millennials say that proximity to family and friends (58 percent) and employment opportunities (53 percent) are the biggest draws. Nationally, only 39 percent of millennials named the job market as a top benefit to the place where they live.

“There’s no doubt about it: San Diego is a great but expensive place to live, and young adults here are under pressure to be mindful of their finances,” said Christopher Allen, director of Consumer Banking, Bank of America. “They have to make trade-offs, and with the tools and resources we offer through Better Money Habits, we want to support them as they juggle expenses in the short term and plan for the future.”

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 pressures, San Diego millennials are getting their financial houses in order

While they may not have as much stashed away, millennials in San Diego are just as likely to be saving as their peers nationwide and they are more likely to budget.

  • Sixty-one percent of San Diego millennials are saving – on par with millennials nationally (63 percent). Top reasons for saving are to have an emergency fund (56 percent), vacation/travel (41 percent), retirement (37 percent), and to buy a house (also 37 percent).

  • Sixty-seven percent of San Diego millennials budget, versus 54 percent nationally. Sixty-five percent stick to their budget every month or most months.

  • Fifty-seven percent of San Diego millennials feel secure in their financial future, on par with their national peers (59 percent).

Gig economy is thriving in San Diego; job-hopping not always by choice

The gig economy is thriving in San Diego and millennials are a driving force. Thirty-five percent of San Diego millennials consider themselves to be part of the gig economy (taking on short-term contracts or freelance work), and 22 percent expect to have eight or more jobs in their lifetime. Still, this is not always by choice: 25 percent of San Diego millennials have been laid off.

In terms of career priorities, San Diego millennials prioritize passion over paycheck more so than their peers nationwide. Sixty-three percent of millennials in San Diego say that interest/passion is more important than their salary, compared to 56 percent of millennials nationally.

Finances are a major factor for millennial parents in San Diego – more so than others nationwide

San Diego millennials who are parents were much more likely than their national peers to consider finances to be an important factor when thinking about having children. Fifty-one 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. 

For more Bank of America news, including dividend announcements and other important information, visit the Bank of America newsroom and register for news email alerts.


Reporters May Contact
Colleen Haggerty, Bank of America
Phone: 1.213.621.7414