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Category: Leads · 5 min read

The Realities About Millennials and Their Plans for Retirement

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on February 28, 2019

author profile photo

on February 28, 2019

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Are millennials different from the generations before them? Most people think so. For instance, since they grew up with the changing world of technology, millennials may tend to be more tech savvy than any generation before them, and they use tech differently, too.  

Millennials are also unique when it comes to spending, as many brands are discovering (see: Applebees, Budweiser, Downy, Kraft).1 They want to shop online, and buy from brands that they trust. But does that apply to financial strategies, too? Do millennials save for retirement, and if so, how? 

FINRA recently debunked several millennial myths about their financial strategies, and here’s what they found:


They Expect to Retire at 65 

Many millennials have big goals. They want to make a difference, start a successful business, and retire early. All of the millennial groups in the survey said they expect to retire when they’re 65. But this isn’t the most realistic outlook, especially with the uncertainty surrounding Social Security, and whether or not there will be any left for the millennials when they’re ready to retire. In fact, 80 percent of millennials fear that there won’t be any more Social Security when they retire, according to Transamerica.3 Millennials that don’t invest may be a little more pessimistic in this area, as they aren’t as hopeful about retirement as their millennial investor counterparts.  

This information shows that it’s important to have the retirement discussion early with millennials clients. That way, reasonable retirement expectations can be set and agreed upon.  


They Lack the Knowledge to Invest 

Yes, millennials know a lot about technology, but they’re also aware that they don’t know everything, even though they aren’t afraid to troubleshoot or Google search when their knowledge comes up short. The stereotype might say that they’re overconfident, but they actually realize that they still have a lot to learn when it comes to investing and financial strategies. Better still, they want to learn. Some millennials may not know how to invest, create a financial strategy, or even how to get started. Income challenges and debt play a factor in not investing for millennials, but a lack of knowledge around investing is an even bigger obstacle.2  

The stereotype might say that they’re overconfident, but they actually realize that they still have a lot to learn when it comes to investing and financial strategies.

To help them, figure out what they already know, and give them recommendations to advance their knowledge and assist them in making sound decisions. Explain how they can get started and what they need in order to create a financial strategy. They’ll thank you for it, and it can lead to an increased sense of credibility towards you (and if you’re lucky, they’ll do business with you).  


They Aren’t Skeptical of Financial Professionals 

Millennials aren’t skeptical of financial professionals, but the FINRA study revealed the top reason why millennials don’t want to seek help: “Those not using a financial professional say the main reasons are perceived expense and lack of resources, not lack of trust.”2 In fact, the report goes on to say that millennials that work with a financial professional are highly satisfied with them. 


They Underestimate the Amount of Assets Needed 

Like many first-time homeowners, many millennials underestimate how much they need in assets to start a retirement savings or a financial plan. The study found that they believe they only need $10,000 of investable assets to work with a financial professional. Again, this goes back to informing millennials of the industry averages for fees and assets and when they may be applicable, so they know the right time to talk to a professional about their financial situation. 


They Don’t Gravitate Toward Robo-Advisors 

Contrary to popular belief, millennials aren’t excited to use robo-advisors. It turns out they have limited interest in using them, and they would prefer to interact with a human, like previous generations. We know they don’t like to talk on the phone or in person if they don’t have to, but they still want and need a human connection. That’s encouraging, because it shows they value individualized guidance based on a personal analysis, instead of an algorithm. 

We know they don’t like to talk on the phone or in person if they don’t have to, but they still want and need a human connection.

They Don’t Behave Consistently  

Millennials aren’t all alike, so lumping them into one broad category doesn’t work very well. The FINRA study revealed these four distinctions:2  

  1. Millennials from rural areas are less likely to invest or be confident investing.  
  2. Millennial women are less confident in their investing decisions but are more eager to learn. 
  3. Millennials ages 22 to 29 are less confident in their investment decisions. 
  4. Minority millennials are more likely to be non-investors.  

Keep these distinctions in mind when dealing with millennial clients. Some of them may need more help than others when it comes to making financial decisions, so give them the help they need to do it right. In the not-so-distant future, millennials may be your main clients, which is why it’s important to know how they behave, what they need, and how you can effectively help them with their financial goals.  



1. Taylor, Kate. “Millennials and their spending habits are wreaking havoc on these 18 industries.” Business Insider. Feb. 1, 2019.  

2. FINRA. “Uncertain Futures: 7 Myths about Millennials and Investing.” 2018. 

3. Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. “18th Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey.” Page 137. June 2018.  


For Financial Professional use only, not for use with the general public. #19-0072-021320 

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Written By

Mark Williams

President and CEO

Mark Williams is the President/CEO of Brokers International. Over his more than 25 years of financial services experience, Mark has been both a producing independent agent in the field and a home office leader consulting to agencies and field marketing organizations. Currently, Mark is focused on the future of the insurance industry, from the disruptions of InsurTech and robo-advisors to the changing demographics and needs of customers. He also is an avid mentor, helping financial professionals navigate the industry.

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