Ys (Wise) Beyond Their Years

I’m not big on generalizations but I do believe there are a multitude of admirable characteristics that define the millennials (born 1982 to 2000), also known as Gen Y: tech-savvy; family-oriented; team-focused; and achievement-driven.

This last trait is evident in new research from The Principal® Knowledge Center, on the attitudes and actions of Gen Y, which show they are taking clear responsibility for their own financial security. Here are a few highlights:[1]

  • 94 percent of Gen Y workers believe it is imperative to be saving for retirement.
  • 79 percent have an established monthly budget.
  • 52 percent started saving for retirement by age 24 and 77 percent started by age 27; with just 8 percent reporting they have not started to save.
  • 70 percent of respondents reported saving at least $5,000 a year for retirement…
    • 32 percent reported saving $5,000 to $9,999
    • 38 percent reported saving $10,000 or more

There’s no one size that fits all in terms of how much will be enough in retirement. But the table below certainly illustrates that the majority of millennials are currently on track to build sizable nest eggs over a 40 year career.

Graph 3

Gen Y’s ability to save is even more impressive given the track record of U.S. workers overall, with more than half reporting less than $10,000 in total savings and investments.[2] Gen Y – our youngest and fastest growing generation of workers – not only seems to understand concepts that many struggle with, but more importantly, they have the discipline and resolve to act on that understanding.  To me, that’s the very definition of wisdom.

My thanks to Gen Y for setting a good example for generations to come, as well as for their own parents.




[1] Survey conducted September 2013, of workers age 18 to 34, from companies with a workplace retirement plan with the Principal Financial Group.

[2] 2014 Retirement Confidence Survey, Employee Benefits Research Institute, March 2014.