The financial future of our youth may not be as gloomy as some are playing it out to be. Mutual fund giant Fidelity Investments has released its Millennial Money Study, detailing how adults between ages 25 and 34 are approaching financial issues.
The sample size of just 152 millennials surveyed may be small, but there are still some pretty interesting nuggets in the report.
Nearly a quarter of millennials don't trust others with their money
It's not just snapshot selfies that Gen Y-ers are taking. A whopping 23% of the respondents are taking financial selfies, too. They don't trust anyone else to manage their money. That's not necessarily a bad thing in a world where many brokers are still pushing fee-laden load funds and other high-commission products and services.
Distrust can go too far, of course. Conspiracy theorists with tin-foil hats and paranoia do more harm than good on Wall Street. However, a healthy bit of skepticism is fine. It's what fuels the next generation of individual investors.
Almost half of Gen Y-ers are already saving for retirement
The study finds that 47% of the respondents are already saving for retirement. Given the magic of compounded returns, it's always best to begin stashing some money away for the future. The survey finds that 43% have a 401(k) with 23% investing through an IRA.
Yes, that also means that more than half of the folks born in the 1980s haven't started to save up for retirement. That's a shame, of course. However, instead of dwelling on that 53% of the poll let's applaud the 47% that are going to enjoy decades of compounding before heading off into their golden years.
Just 59% of millennials look up to their parents as good financial role models
The majority of respondents agree with the statement "My parents provided a good example of how to have a successful financial future" -- but that also leaves 41% disagreeing with that statement. That's more healthy skepticism at play. It also suggests that Gen Y-ers in general are fully aware as to where their parents are or were financially.
This kind of openness is a good thing. Too many generations in the past weren't as chatty when it comes to finances, but Fidelity's study finds that 76% of the survey participants have no problem initiating a conversation about saving and investing for the future with their parents.
Millennials are ready to care for their parents
In a time of hefty student debt loans it's probably not a surprise that two-thirds of 25- to 34-year-olds in the survey find that it's more acceptable now for kids to move back in with their parents after college. However, the generational generosity goes both ways.
A little more than half of the respondents assume that they will be the ones caring for their parents if they should ever become ill. Some may paint millennials in broad strokes as detached, but clearly family values still matter.
Don't sell Gen Y on being worse off than their parents
A common observation about millennials is that they will not be as financially successful as their parents. They don't seem to see it that way. Fidelity's survey finds that just 32% of the participants agree that they are more financially dependent on their parents than when their parents were at that age.
Reality may tell us otherwise. A New York Times article on boomerang kids finds that one in five people in their 20s and early 30s are currently living with their parents, double the rate tallied a generation earlier. A whopping 60% are leaning on parents for some level of financial support.
That's not very encouraging, but the flip side to that argument is that there is something to be said about the confidence and optimism. Millennials will be just fine.
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