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Retirement Planning > Retirement Investing

Gen Zers Look Forward to Early Retirement

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What You Need to Know

  • Results from a study show that members of Generation Z expect to retire early.
  • The study also found that most Gen Zers have had or expect to have a successful career.
  • Despite this, 44% of Gen Z respondents described their mental health as weak or very weak.

Members of Generation Z, which includes the youngest adults in the U.S., have significantly improved their financial well-being and expect to retire before they reach 60, way ahead of their older counterparts, according to study results released this week by Northwestern Mutual.

The study found that 70% of Gen Zers built savings during the pandemic, compared with 60% of all adults. Three in 10 said they did not have an advisor before the pandemic, but have either started working with one or plan to do so.

Even so, three-quarters of young adults acknowledged that their financial planning needs improvement.

“It’s encouraging to see the youngest generation of adults showing an inclination to plan and holding themselves to a high bar,” Christian Mitchell, chief customer officer at Northwestern Mutual, said in a statement. “Developing a plan isn’t just the first step toward achieving your long-germ goals, it’s also what allows you to enjoy your life more along the way.”

The Harris Poll conducted an online survey in mid-February among 2,381 American adults, with an oversampling of Gen Zers.

Confident, but With Mental Health Caveat

The survey found that 79% of Gen Zers have had or expect to have a successful career, compared with 72% of all adults surveyed. Seven in 10 said they had achieved long-term financial security or will do so, compared with 66% of the overall sample.

The research also showed that Gen Zers plan to retire younger than any other generation — at 59, 12 years earlier than baby boomers and other older Americans.

Although Gen Zers are looking forward to an early retirement, money is not what drives most of them at work. Sixty-four percent said personal fulfillment is more important in a career than money, the motivator of 36% of respondents.

But contentment is elusive, and Gen Zers’ assessment of their own mental health stands out as considerably more fragile than that of all other age groups in the survey.

Forty-four percent of young respondents described their mental health as weak or very weak, compared with 31% of both millennials and Gen Xers and 13% of boomers and older adults.


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