New research from The Principal spotlights spending and saving habits of millennials
In a recent survey of millennial workers, 63 percent report they started saving for retirement before age 25. But less than a third are saving at least 10 percent of their salary through their employer-sponsored retirement plan.
“It’s great to see young savers getting started early,” said
Candid Conversations Captured on Video
In addition to this new study, The Principal recently met with millennials across the country in order to gain insights into how they felt about planning and preparing for retirement, and what specific steps they were taking to get there. These conversations were captured in a series of videos, the first of which is available to watch.
“It’s clear millennials are aware of the importance of planning and preparing for retirement. It’s also clear they are struggling to balance that with all the other demands needing their time and money,” Patterson said. “Most millennials we spoke with haven’t done the math to determine what level of savings they should be targeting, but all agreed that they weren’t doing enough. This provides a tremendous opportunity for financial advisors to connect with this generation of young investors. They need the direction, and in their hearts, they know it.”
Millennials Take the Match
According to the survey, 83 percent of millennials take full advantage of matching contributions when offered through their employer-sponsored retirement plan.
“The employer match is a valuable and important incentive to get millennials saving, but the amount of the match is not a signal to stop saving,” said Patterson. “Most matching formulas phase out once an employee reaches a savings level of three or four percent of pay—well short of the 10 percent experts indicate they should be saving. One easy remedy is for plan sponsors to encourage employees to save at a higher rate by ‘stretching the match.’”
Retirement vs. Everything Else
Saving for retirement competes with many big-budget items for millennials. When asked to list their three largest budget items, it may come as no surprise that the top answers were mortgage/rent (65 percent), food (38 percent) and car/transportation (30 percent). Other major expenditures included basic expenses (27 percent), student loans (20 percent) and credit card debt (16 percent).
“Many millennials may see these large expenses—especially student loans and other debt—as primary obstacles to saving anything for retirement,” Patterson said. “But in most situations, it’s possible and necessary to both save for retirement and pay down debt by creating a plan and sticking to it.”
Financial Independence, Sort Of
When asked at what age a young adult should be financially independent, 84 percent of millennials responded by age 25 or younger. And six of 10 millennials expect to be better off financially than their parents.
But some millennials report their parents are still footing the bill for various expenses, including their cell phone bills (12 percent), car insurance (8 percent), health insurance (7 percent) and rent/mortgage (7 percent).
Additional Research Findings
- 66 percent of millennials have established a monthly budget and 35 percent use a digital-budgeting system.
- 57 percent of millennials have an emergency savings fund, but less than one third (32 percent) believe their fund could cover basic monthly expenses for more than six months.
- If purchasing a financial product, 47 percent would prefer to do so with a financial professional either in-person or over the phone; 38 percent would prefer to make the product purchase online.
The Principal Financial Group Millennial Research Study was conducted online within
1 Based on analysis conducted by the
2 “The Principal Financial Group” and “The Principal” are registered service marks of
3 As of
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