Editor’s note: Cristina Capobianco and Eugenia Zavradinos are associate directors, and Merle Sandler and Anne Pessala are senior consultants at management consulting firm, C Space, Boston. This is an edited version of a post that originally appeared here under the title, “For Millennials and their finances, today’s confidence is tomorrow’s fear.”

Forget FOMO. For Millennials’ long-term financial futures, it’s all about FOTU: Fear of the unknown.

But here’s the rub. When it comes to more short-term financial management – and spending in particular – Millennials feel confident and in control. They excel at responsibilities like living within their means, consolidating and paying off debt, automatically putting a portion of their paycheck into a savings account and opting for more affordable options when buying big ticket items like cars and homes.

So, why the erosion in financial confidence? A recent C Space study of 750 U.S.-based Millennials, predominantly female, points to the issue: a disconnect between Millennial consumers and the financial services industry. Nearly all Millennials (92 percent) in the study said that being educated on personal finances is important. Further, nearly three-quarters (73 percent) feel confident in their financial decision-making ability. But, this confidence does not match with actual financial literacy levels. Despite holding financial education in high regard and having confidence in making financial decisions, only 39 percent said they rely on financial advice from a professional.

For this generation, smart spending is the new saving and short-term relief is the new long-term planning. When they make financial decisions they feel confident about, they feel proud, happy, responsible, safe, accomplished, relaxed, strong and smart.

But many of these decisions involve interacting with financial institutions on a purely transactional basis – for example, ma...