Gen-Y Americans showed notable caution regarding their personal finances, according to the Western Union Payments Money Mindset survey.

Forty-one percent of the more than 87 million Americans between the age of 18 and 34 say they plan to “reduce spending and increase savings” this year, compared to 32% of all consumers.

When a group of 18-29 year olds were surveyed by the Pew Foundation, only 33% said they’d spend less, compared to more than 40% of adults ages 30 to 64. In the Western Union survey, 20% of Gen Y say they are entering into “major debt” this year, compared to 18% of all consumers.

However, these are the years people assume college loans, may need to buy their first cars, and may buy homes. And a large portion, 31%, of Gen-Y Americans plan to eliminate "major debt" in 2011, compared to 34% of all consumers.

The survey was conducted online in November from a random panel of 3,001 respondents. In the Western Union survey, Gen Y Americans surveyed said that they are more confident than the population at large that they will earn more this year, despite setbacks. Forty-three percent say their earnings have decreased, but 42% believe their earnings will increase this year. Among all consumers, 52% say their earnings have decreased and only 36% think their earnings will increase.

Temma Ehrenfeld writes for Financial Planning, a SourceMedia publication. Follow EBN on: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Podcasts

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