What Millennials Have in Common with their Grandparents (or Great-Grandparents)

rsmWhen it comes to attitudes about personal finances, millennials appear to have more in common with their Depression-era grandparents or great-grandparents than with anyone else.

That’s a key takeaway finding from research conducted recently by TD Ameritrade and published in its Millennials and Money Research Report.

Headlining the TDA results is this interesting finding: More than three-quarters of the millennials surveyed would place an extra $1,000 in a savings account rather than invest it in the stock market.

Concurrent with that conservative financial worldview, two-thirds of the respondents in the TDA survey consider themselves to be “savers.” Even more have established personal budgets for themselves and their families.

Helping to explain the similarities in characteristics between millennials and the Depression-era generation, Matthew Sadowsky, director of retirement and annuities at TD Ameritrade, put it this way:

“The Silent Generation and Millennials [both] came of age during a major financial crisis, which increases the propensity to save and financial conservativism. Further adding to Millennials’ financial anxiety is the economy, student debt, and escalating peer influence from social media.”

Social media could partially explain one finding in the Ameritrade field research – the notion that the vast majority of the survey respondents don’t feel financially secure now.

Being active on social media is much more likely to cause Millennials to compare themselves to others: Nearly two-thirds of Millennials admitted that fact (64%), whereas with Baby Boomers the percentage is less than half of that (29%).

Despite Millennials’ awareness of their financial limitations, it doesn’t seem to translate into seeking out the counsel of professional financial advisors. Instead, they’re more likely to rely on parents (38%) and/or friends (28%).

As for their financial goals, most Millennials have bought into the idea that home ownership is a good thing – and something most of them aspire to achieving by the age of 30.

They also appear to have pretty realistic attitudes about retirement, too, as about half are concerned about running out of money during retirement, and hence are open to retiring at an older age in order to maintain a decent lifestyle in retirement.

Does this mean that Millennials will be better-prepared to handle the challenges of living and growing old in our society? The TD Ameritrade survey suggests so.  Still, life has a way of playing tricks on people, so the question remains as to whether this generation will actually do any better than the preceding ones.

Time will tell.

One thought on “What Millennials Have in Common with their Grandparents (or Great-Grandparents)

  1. Millennials may follow their parents’ financial advice as a matter of course — just as I did. But the advice has changed.

    I grew up in NYC as a boomer, where parents talked about the stock market, but never once did I hear any advice about buying a house. I didn’t know anyone who owned one; few New Yorkers did in those days. But in my era, one wanted ultimately “financial advice” from experts — a good broker.

    Millennials have grown up seeing index funds do as well for them as stockbrokers of an earlier time. So who needs experts…?

    Millennials are truly the “do-it-yourself” generation.

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