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Millennials Defying Financial Stereotypes, Survey Finds

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What You Need to Know

  • Millennials weathered both the economic turbulence of 2008 and the ongoing pandemic.
  • The share of millennials who said they had an advisor grew from 50% in 2016 to 75% in 2020.
  • These investors overwhelmingly say they have a plan to protect against market risk and outliving their assets.

Millennials weathered both the economic turbulence of 2008 and the ongoing pandemic, and now seem determined to take steps to secure their financial future.

More than eight in 10 millennials say they have a plan to protect themselves from outliving their savings, and 70% have a strategy to protect their assets against market risk, according to the latest Advisor Authority study from the Nationwide Retirement Institute.

“Millennials have had more than their fair share of challenges when it comes to their finances, but these younger investors continue to defy stereotypes in unexpected ways, with a focus on long-term goals, a real discipline for planning and the foresight to seek out an advisor or financial professional to make sure they stay on track,” said Craig Hawley, head of Nationwide’s annuity distribution.

“Even in a year where they’ve been hit hard by the pandemic’s impact, it’s clear they understand the power of planning to help protect their assets, and they’re already putting in the work now so they can shoulder the responsibility of retirement in the future.”

In 2016, only 50% of millennials said they had an advisor. A mere four years later, that number had grown to 75% in 2020, possibly a sign of increasing trepidation, because 84% said they could do all the right things to manage their finances and still be blindsided by outside events.

Protecting assets rose to millennials’ number one financial concern (29%), with losses in their portfolios because of the pandemic a close second (27%).

Generating reliable income during retirement is the No. 3  financial concern, quadrupling to 21% in 2020 from just 5% in 2019.

Nearly 90% of millennial investors said having a plan for their investments helps them feel in control, even if they can’t plan for everything.

To confront an extreme market drop and ongoing volatility, millennials were much more likely to have a strategy to protect their assets against market risk in 2020 (71%) than they were in 2018 (53%).

“When it comes to outside events, the COVID-19 pandemic has had an outsized impact on millennials, and that kind of uncertainty can make balancing current needs with planning for the future seem like a longshot for a lot of the investors in my generation,” said J.J. Perez, president of Nationwide Financial Corporate Solutions.

“Flashing back to the crash of 2008, it’s great to see that this time around, more millennials than ever are seeking the help of financial professionals to put a holistic plan into place that will help them manage the pandemic’s impact, protect their assets now and prepare them to reach their long-term goals.”