“Millennials are perfectly positioned to grow a lot of wealth and perhaps retire early—or to make big financial mistakes that they might regret for decades,” according to The Motley Fool.
The article cites the three worst money habits of millennials: Failure to save for retirement, burdensome student loan debt, and excessive credit card debt.
“Millennials… [have] decades ahead of them in which they can work and save money in order to make their futures financially secure and comfortable. It’s important to not make game-changing mistakes along the way, though,” the article notes.
This week, an investigation of investment choices and other financial decisions millennials make.
How do these financial preferences and tendencies impact future security for this group? Are they making game-changing mistakes or sound decisions?
‘Parents who wonder where the younger generation is going should remember where it came from.’ –Sam Ewing, former baseball player
How might millennials differ from prior generations in handling money matters?
“Half of Millennials Merge Finances Before Marriage,” notes USA Today. “Merging finances has become the norm in modern relationships.”
It’s twice as common today for people ages 25-34 to cohabitate than it was 20 years ago. For men, the rate of cohabitation has increased from 6.9% in 1995 to 14.7% in 2014. For women, the corresponding statistics are 6% to 14.3%.
With this trend, couples are “discussing how to budget, creating a division of financial responsibilities and holding each other accountable for joint expenses.”
One-third of boomers had combined finances prior to marriage compared to half of millennials who have married.
On the job, consider “How Millennials are Redefining Benefits,” according to Chief Learning Officer. Fifty-three percent of those hiring millennials indicate finding and keeping this cohort is difficult, so managers create benefit offerings to appeal.
Millennials like “holistic and proactive” approaches to benefits like wearable devices and rewards for healthy living. Companies are advised to “make it simple and make it social” as they devise and promote benefits; incorporating mobile devices is a positive.
Employee benefits do have economic impact. “Millennials Would Switch Jobs for Family Benefits,” says shrm.org. Eighty-three percent of new-parent millennials would change employment for better family benefits like flexible work arrangements, parental leave, and family care assistance.
Nationally, the average annual expense for two kids in daycare is $18,000; the weekly cost is $341.21.
Flexible spending accounts can help save thousands of dollars annually, but 36% of parents do not have this awareness.
Survey results further show care discounts, assistance in finding a housekeeper and child care, backup child care, and help with senior care were among other benefits “that employees said would most improve their ability to do their job.”
‘My generation is having its midlife crisis in its 20s.” –Edward Norton, actor
What sort of impact is student loan debt having on millennials’ fiscal choices?
“The Biggest Thing Keeping Young Homebuyers Out of the Market Isn’t Student Debt,” notes BloombergBusiness. Rather, “college-educated couples are buying homes, regardless of how much they owe.”
A Zillow analysis looks at those in their early 30’s with at least one child. Seventy percent of bachelor’s degree holding graduates without debt are homeowners. Sixty-six percent of such degree holders with $50,000 in college debt are also homeowners.
College debt is more impactful in the home buying decision for those with Associate’s degrees or without any degree. “It seems that the worst thing a young person can do is borrow money to go to college and never finish.”
The article notes that paying high rent is a bigger inhibitor to home purchases than student debt.
“Are Student Loans Deterring Millennials from Launching Startups?” asks Technical.ly. “Student debt is over $1 trillion, according to a study from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia” and growing. This figure has doubled in less than 10 years.
And, the Kauffman Foundation notes business startups for those 20-34 “fell to 23% of self-starters in 2013. That’s down from 24% in 1996.”
Further, according to another report by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, there is “a significant and economically meaningful negative correlation between changes in student loan debt and net business formation for the smallest group of small businesses, those employing one to four employees.”
It would seem that student debt is impacting small business creation and influencing career choices of millennials.
‘Progress is the injustice each generation commits with regard to its predecessors.’ --Emile M. Cioran, philosopher
Millennials are aging too, and retirement considerations on the radar.
“How Much Will Gen Y Receive from Social Security?” asks cnbc.com. About 25% of millennials do not expect to receive Social Security.
But a new analysis by the Urban Institute shows that should Social Security survive, “the average millennial married couple could actually receive nearly double the average Social Security benefits that current retirees collect.”
Greater benefits would be the result of cost of living hikes, longer lifetimes leading to more benefits, and improved but costlier health care.
This estimate works under the assumption of current laws remaining in effect.
“Given the financial state of Social Security and Medicare, the… analysis likely overstates the future benefits and understates the taxes to be paid by millennials.”
An investment and retirement educator from BlackRock advises millennials “concentrate on saving as much as they can for retirement and worry about Social Security and Medicare… when they turn 60.”
A recent article in Forbes says millennials need to reconsider retirement planning, and that they are “well suited for a change in mindset.” They should “Stop thinking about what your retirement savings number is and start thinking about what you need to do today in order to live the life you want.”
This might mean working longer, retiring at 62 like previous generations, increasing travel, or other options. “We already see millennials switching jobs more than previous generations, traveling more, and spending more money on life experiences.”
Although traditional retirement might be redefined by this group, saving is still important to retain financial independence.
“Retirement savings accounts still offer good tax advantages and investment opportunities” and “Millennials have the unique opportunity to refocus and plan for financial independence on their own terms.”
You can help millennials achieve this independence when you know that “Millennials Crave Face-to-Face Advice,” per insurancenewsnet.com. Eighty-seven percent prefer financial advisors meet with them personally. And, 62% “would like to be walked through each step of the process.”
Only 19% of survey respondents are apt to use robo-advisors.
Millennials may be transforming many aspects of the financial landscape, but in some ways they “at least appear to be more like other generations than one might assume.”
Learn how to best assist this influential group as they both develop new fiscal traditions and adhere to others.