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Here’s How Financially Naive Millennial Parents Are

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The idealism of the millennial generation shines brightly in Personal Capital’s latest survey of affluent families. The online survey of just over 1,000 affluent investors, 18 or older with assets of $500,000 or more, found that millennials with children plan to spend more on their children’s college education and housing (including home purchases) than older generations.

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They’re three time as likely to say they will cover the entire cost of their kid’s home purchase and twice as likely to contribute a full down payment compared with parents overall, according to the survey. Moreover, 70% say they would prioritize saving for their kid’s education over saving for their own retirement, a strategy many advisors frown upon because college can be financed in part with loans but retirement cannot. In comparison, just under 50% of parents overall say they would adopt that strategy.  

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Fifty-six percent of affluent millennial parents expect to pay $100,000 or more for their children’s college education compared with 42% of Gen X parents and 23% of baby boomer parents. Ninety-five percent of millennial parents expect to help pay for their child’s graduate school education, with 60% providing $100,000 or more.

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These generous plans among millennial parents, who aren’t more than 35 years old, may change over time.

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“It’s early innings right now,” says Personal Capital CEO Jay Shah, noting that the data comes from a “very attitudinal survey” whose results differ widely from an earlier survey by Personal Capital about millennials in general.

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That survey found that 40% of millennials don’t have a retirement account but plan to retire in 15 years with $450,000 worth of investable assets, which is an even more idealistic view than the findings of the current survey.

The latest survey  also found that among affluent parents overall, close to one-fifth plan to support their children into their children’s 30s, 12% plan to continue that into their children’s 40s and 97% plan to leave an inheritance to their children. Just over 90% plan on leaving $100,000 or more to their heirs.

“Affluent parents, across generations, are feeling increasing pressure from their children to provide longer-term support,” says Shah.

Mothers appear to be feeling that pressure more than fathers. Sixty-four percent, for example, say their children expect or will expect them to pay for college compared with 44% of fathers, according to the survey.

Personal Capital, an RIA that combines human and technological advice, manages more than $5 billion in assets in more than 30,000 accounts. Non-advisory clients can also access its platform of online financial tools at no cost to keep track of their finances.

— Check out 13 Public Colleges With the Best ROI: Princeton Review on ThinkAdvisor.



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