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50 Years From Now, What Will Life Be Like for Millennials?

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A new study by Prudential Financial looks at how millennials imagine health, wealth and work in 50 years.

This study, “The 80-Year-Old Millennial,” includes responses from more than 1,000 millennials ages 21 to 38.

“Millennials are at an important crossroads, having experienced some of the most significant economic booms in history, but also the Great Recession,” said Vishal Jain, Prudential’s Workplace Solutions Group financial wellness officer, in a statement. “It’s incumbent on financial services companies — and any company that seeks to meet the financial and personal wellness needs of these constituents — to understand the changes that are driving behaviors within this generation.”

The study focused on millennials’ feelings about workplace trends, economic opportunity, technological advances and maintaining health. And, according to the millennials surveyed, the old assumptions about education, work and retirement no longer apply for themselves and their children.

The Workplace

Nearly nine in 10 millennials (88%) say people now in their 20s and 30s will need to work much longer than previous generations did to retire with the same level of financial security.

Even if they do work for a longer period, 79% believe that by the time they reach 80 years old, comfortable retirement will be a thing of the past. At least 70% say that’s because it’s impossible to save as much money each year as prescribed by current retirement planning tools.

Almost two-thirds of respondents agree that in the future “traditional full-time employment will largely disappear and freelancers will make up 75% or more of the U.S. workforce.”

And nearly two-thirds of millennials are extremely or somewhat nervous that people will need to learn to work with and adapt to robots and artificial intelligence to do their jobs.

Most millennials (72%) report being nervous that employers will stop providing health care and retirement benefits. One-third say they are “extremely” nervous that employer-provided health care and retirement benefits will disappear.

Money and Investing

According to the report, millennials are planning a financial future in an economy that has rebounded from the Great Recession, but they also see a world that feels more volatile, uncertain and complex than ever before.

The survey finds that there is deep concern about the decline of government benefits. According to the survey, 83% of millennials say they’re extremely or somewhat nervous about “a future where Social Security and other government-provided social safety nets may provide considerably less financial benefit than they do today.”

Millennials’ concerns about government benefits are part of a general tone of uncertainty and anxiety for the future, according to the report. Most millennials expect their future economic lives to be even more volatile than the recent past. The survey finds that 77% of millennials think it’s likely that there will be a global recession in their lifetime that will be more disruptive than the Great Recession.

Health & Wellness

When asked where they believe the biggest gains in health and wellness will come from in the future, millennials are roughly split in half between lifestyle adjustments and technological advancements.

“Millennials will likely be the first generation to pioneer a truly combined approach — taking a more proactive approach toward their health and wellness aided by a range of emerging technologies (wearables, personalized treatments and genomic technologies, digital health coaches, etc.),” the report states.

According to the survey, 73% say it is likely that their possessions will be digitally connected and synced — leading to personalized services by the time they retire. They also believe that insuring data will be as important as insuring life by this point.

The survey also finds that millennials are nervous about the skyrocketing cost of health care in the U.S. Four in five millennials with incomes over $75,000 believe the health care procedures they have access to today will likely be considered a luxury in the future. According to the survey, wealthier millennials expect an increase in health care costs just as much as lower-income millennials.

— Check out Boomers’ Kids Don’t Want Heirlooms: How Advisors Can Help on ThinkAdvisor.


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