A new member survey by Apple Federal Credit Union, which has 22 branches throughout Northern Virginia, found that most Millennial members do not believe they are saving enough for retirement. The survey, sent to 25,000 credit union members, compares retirement savings trends between Baby Boomers and Millennials and sheds light on how the two generations are saving for retirement.
“We surveyed members all over Northern Virginia to understand how the two largest generations of our time are saving,” explains Jeff Callan, Vice President Apple Financial Services, Apple Federal Credit Union. “We found some similarities and differences, including that Millennials are less likely to be making sacrifices to save.”
Here are the top findings:
Saving—More than 90 percent of Baby Boomers say they are saving for retirement, as compared to slightly more than 60 percent of Millennials. With retirement much more eminent for the Boomers, this is not surprising. An interesting finding is that both groups reported putting away between 5-10 percent of their annual income.
But not everyone is saving for the same things. Of the Boomers who say they are not saving for retirement, the majority are instead saving for travel, compared to Millennials who say they are saving for a house or other things like emergencies, student loans or other debt.
“What is concerning is that 34 percent of Boomers say they do not believe they are saving enough to reach their goals,” says Callan. “Retirement does not need to be a guessing game. Determining how much to save and developing a plan is important, and it’s not too late for Boomers.”
Sacrifices to Save—Sixty percent of Boomers say they have made sacrifices in order to put more money away for retirement, while only 48 percent of Millennials say they have sacrificed to save money. The top sacrifices for both groups are shopping sales, eating in, and vacationing inexpensively or at home.
Type of Saving—As for the type of savings, these two groups are actually in sync. More than half of Boomers (55 percent) said they used their employer’s retirement plan, while just under half (47 percent) of Millennials said they enrolled in such a plan. Of those who said their employer offered a 401K match, half of Boomers and Millennials say they contributed enough to their employer’s 401K to earn a match. “This is free money,” says Callan. “Everyone should be maxing out their employer match if it is offered. Otherwise, they are leaving money on the table.”
Of the Boomers who are saving, their favorite investment vehicles are mutual funds (72 percent), stocks (52 percent) and bonds (30 percent). These vehicles are favorites among Millennials as well. “Millennials can afford to be more aggressive as they have a longer time before retirement,” explains Callan. “They should consider investing a larger percent of their portfolios into large cap mutual funds and stocks, which typically yield a bigger return, but should also be aware that they could lose value.”
Something that is viewed differently through the lens of the two generations is Social Security. Approximately 80 percent of Boomers say Social Security is factored into their retirement planning, while only 22 percent of Millennials are counting on it.
Investment Advisors—Fifty-four percent of Boomers report using an investment advisor, as compared to 29 percent of Millennials. The most popular reason both say they do not use an investment advisor is to avoid paying someone for the service. This is despite several investment studies, including from Vanguard Funds and Morningstar, showing that clients working with a good financial advisor receive on average a 3 percent increase in the value of their portfolios each year.
(Pew Research defines Millennials as those born between 1981 and 1996, while Boomers are born between 1946 and 1964.)
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