Millennials say they work to pay the bills - but also because they want to travel

millennial vacation trip instagram travelGeorge Rose / Contributor / Getty Images

  • Millennials are most motivated to work by travel and paying their basic expenses each month, according to new data from FlexJobs.
  • A full 81% said they worked to pay their monthly bills - and 63% said they worked to travel, more than the percentages who said they were primarily motivated by paying off debt or saving for retirement.
  • Read more personal finance coverage.

Millennials have already changed the workforce, and their motivations for going to work every day might be different than their parents and grandparents.

According to data from job search site FlexJobs, most millennials are motivated to work in order to pay for basic necessities and to earn money to travel, more so than making money to pay off debt or save for retirement.

FlexJobs surveyed 1,600 millennials and found that while 83% of millennials said a primary reason for working was to cover basic expenses, 63% said traveling was a primary reason. That's compared to 51% of millennials who said paying off debt was their primary motivator for working, while 58% said that retirement was important.

In a recent survey conducted by Insider in partnership with Morning Consult, 55% of millennials, or those between the ages of 23 and 38, reported that they didn't have a retirement account. And that's a big problem, especially since starting early is one of the most critical elements to saving for retirement.

In an example previously reported by Business Insider's Tanza Loudenback, two people save $100 each month, starting 10 years apart in an account with a 5% return. The person who started at 25 will ultimately end up with $162,000 saved by retirement age, nearly double the savings of the person who started at 35. However, that saver who started at 25 only contributed about $12,000 more than the person who started later. That difference is just thanks to the power of compound interest, an investing concept in which interest earns interest on itself, snowballing into more savings over time.

Just over half of millennials surveyed said one of their main reasons for working was to pay off debt - less than the 63% who said traveling was their main reason for working. But for millennials with student loans, credit card debt, and other large debts, it couldn't be more important to start paying those off quickly.

A survey from Northwestern Mutual reports that the average millennial who has credit card debt carries about $27,000 of debt. Thanks to credit cards' high interest rates, credit card debt is some of the most expensive debt you can carry and therefore some of the hardest debt to pay off.

Generation Z from Business Insider Intelligence

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