Survey Captures Millennial Trends on Saving, Investing after Pandemic

According to findings from the sixth annual Advisor Authority study  by the Nationwide Retirement Institute, millennial investors’ financial optimism declined 24 percentage points to 38% in 2020, from 62% in 2019. The survey reflected the responses of more than 2,500 individual investors, advisors, and financial professionals. The Advisor Authority  spoke with millennials (ages 24 to 39) with investable assets of $100,000 or more.  Some highlights from the survey:

  • While protecting assets was their number-one financial concern, 88% of millennial investors said that having a plan for their investments helps them feel in control, even if they cannot plan for everything.
  • 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%).
  • Millennials were far more likely to say that being unable to meet financial obligations due to the COVID-19 pandemic (15%) was among their top financial concerns, compared to only 4% of Gen-Xers and 5% of Baby Boomers.
  • In response to the pandemic’s impact, millennials were somewhat more likely to liquidate assets from their qualified retirement savings plans (13%) than Gen-Xers (5%) and much more likely than Boomers (2%).
  • Millennials were also somewhat more likely to liquidate non-qualified investment accounts, such as stocks, bonds, and mutual funds (10%) than Gen-Xers (6%) and much more likely than Boomers (2%).

In 2020, the annual ICI survey of mutual fund ownership found that 58.7 million, or 45.7 percent, of households in the United States owned mutual funds. The ICI survey found that Baby Boomers held the largest percentage (43 percent) of household mutual fund assets in 2020. Generation X households held 31 percent; and households headed by members of the Silent and GI Generations held another 10 percent of households’ total mutual fund assets. Although Generation Z and Millennial households were 30 percent of mutual fund–owning households in 2020, they held only 16 percent of households’ mutual fund assets, reflecting the fact that younger demographics have not had as much time to save as Baby Boomer households that are in their peak earning and saving years.