Top Five Myths About Millennials

August 2, 2017

Stereotypes about the Millennial generation, born between 1980 and 2000, run from complimentary (Millennials care about diversity), to indifferent (Millennials care about brunch), to critical (Millennials only care about trophies).  Like many labels, however, there are a number of misconceptions.

1. Myth: Millennials would rather use technology than interact with financial advisors.

Millennials are actually the most-likely age group to have enlisted the help of an advisor in crafting a written financial plan.  In fact, they are twice as likely as Baby Boomers (those born between 1945 and 1964) to have a professionally written financial plan. (Schwab) While they grew-up during the 1990s technology boom, it appears this generation also values the advice of a real, live person.

2. Myth: Millennials are naturally risk averse in their investments.

Some believe that the Millennial generation came of age during the financial crisis, dampening their willingness to take on risk.  However, 39% of Millennials say they are willing to take investment risks to boost their retirement savings, the highest of any generation. (HSBC)  And while they recognize that illiquid strategies like private equity and hedge funds are risky, wealthy Millennials show a strong interest in investing in these areas. (Oppenheimer) This makes sense—Millennials have the longest path to retirement of any working generation and should be willing to accept greater risk. 

3. Myth: Millennials don’t save any money!

Most people believe their elders are thriftier than themselves. Less than 1 in 10 Americans believe that Millennials are “very good savers” compared to about half for Baby Boomers. Interestingly, Millennials say they save a higher portion of their income (19%) than Boomers (14%). (Merrill)

4. Myth: Millennials have a short attention span and they want to change jobs constantly.

A recent Pew Research Center study proves that Millennials are just as likely to stay - or leave - their employer as Generation X (those born between 1965 and 1980).  Twenty-two percent of Millennials had been with their employers for 5 or more years in 2016, exactly the same as Gen Xers in 2000. (Pew)

5. Myth: Millennials are much more likely to rent than to buy a house.

Ok, this one is true—but it’s really a change in society as a whole.  About two-thirds of households headed by those under 35 today are renters, compared with 57% in 2006.  However, renting has become more common across every age cohort – under 35, 35-64, and 65 and over – than it was ten years ago. In total, 37% of households rent today compared with 31% in 2006. (Pew)

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