There are many myths about millennials. One holds that 18- to 34-year-olds are spendthrifts who thumb their noses at saving and crave instant gratification. Some are, but many could teach boomers plenty.

Saving early: Millennials don't want to be like boomers, for whom 80 may be the new 65 as they continue working into their twilight years. The Spring Merrill Edge Report found more than half of millennials surveyed started saving for retirement between 18 and 24; 80 percent have retirement savings; and 36 percent were motivated to save for retirement when they got their first jobs, compared with 15 percent of boomers.

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Using technology: Millennials "use technology to enhance the investment decision process," says Josh Fatoullah, a millennial and president of JR Wealth Advisors in Great Neck. They micromanage their finances and investments online, adds Matthew Senicola, registered representative at JHS Capital Advisors in Massapequa. They shop online for the best deals for everything, and track spending via phone apps.

Listening and learning: They aren't hardheaded. In a TIAA-CREF study, 66 percent changed spending habits after getting financial advice, compared with about 30 percent of boomers who acted on advice.

Room to improve: But millennials haven't completely grown up. In the Merrill Edge survey, more millennials than any other generation would not want to reduce what they spend on coffee or technology to save for retirement.