Say the word “Millennial” and many stereotypes arise: young, broke, living with parents and spending too much money on avocado toast and coffee. Many Millennials themselves believe they have few assets to protect. But while this generation faces more financial challenges than previous ones, Millennials with $15,000 or more in savings jumped to 47% this year, and one in six has at least $100,000 saved, according to a recent Bank of America survey. Even those with more modest savings should be prepared for the future with estate planning (check out upchurchlaw.com for more on that).
Common misperceptions regarding the age of Millennials may be having a negative impact on this generation’s saving patterns and long-term investment planning. Most researchers define. Millennials as those born between 1980 and 2000, making the oldest Millennials 38 years old. While the youngest Millennials may be just starting out in life, a significant percentage of this generation are starting families and have established careers. Because of lingering perceptions of all Millennials being “kids” and still living with their parents, financial planners may fail to target this generation with their marketing for estate planning.
The Great Recession and stock market collapse occurred as many Millennials were coming of age. This may explain why many in this generation are saving money but not investing in the stock market. Millennials distrust of the market may extend to financial planning services in general, including estate planning.
Millennials are much less likely to have 9-5 jobs with pensions or retirement plans than previous generations. They are more likely to be freelancing or cobbling together 2-3 jobs in a more gig focused economy, which leaves less time for budgeting, saving and planning for the future. Also, jobs and gigs tend to be clustered in a few large cities that have skyrocketing housing costs and high costs of living. Millennials are spending far more on housing as a percent of their income than any previous generation.
Many Millennials are either delaying marriage or not marrying at all. This fact can make saving money more difficult, as unmarried couples receive less tax benefits, and increases the importance of estate planning for Millennials. Unmarried couples must have wills and/or trusts to ensure that their partners inherit shared assets, investment accounts, etc. Also, unmarried partners do not automatically have rights to make medical and financial decisions in the event their partner becomes incapacitated, therefore requiring a Medical and Financial Power of Attorney to be designated.
Millennials face unique financial challenges as a generation that affect their saving and investment patterns. Still, this generation is not as behind as you may thing, and many have found ways to save significant amounts of money and certainly require estate planning to protect their families and loved ones.