UpFront | Published in November 2016

Generations Display Different Financial Goals and Anxieties

How does each generation feel about it's future?

By John Manganaro | November 2016
Art by Marta Sevilla
A new report from American Funds, a mutual fund provider operated by Capital Group, highlights just how anxious each generation feels about its financial future.
According to the survey data pub-lished in “Wisdom of Experience: Lessons Learned From Millennial, Generation X and Baby Boomer Investors,” nearly two-thirds (63%) of Gen Xers are regularly kept up at night thinking about financing their retirement, and one in three worry they are earning too little to invest effectively for the future.
“After experiencing the dot-com bust, the global financial crisis, and the housing collapse, as well as stagnant wage growth during their formative adult years, Gen Xers—or Generation AnXious—are wary about their financial future,” says Heather Lord, senior vice president and head of strategy and innovation at Capital Group.
The research shows that Boomers have the lowest expectations about future market returns, but they have the most optimistic outlook on their retirement. For Millennials and Gen X, the opposite is true, says the survey data: They are more bullish about the market but less so about their own retirement.
“Over the next 10 years, only 16% of Boomers expect the market to do as well as the last five years of relatively strong returns,” Lord notes, “while nearly twice as many Millennials—31%—and Gen Xers—28%—picked the most bullish scenario.”
One positive finding is that all generations “feel smarter when they stick with a long-term investment strategy, with nearly two-thirds (65%) of Boomers adhering to this buy-and-hold mindset.” Also positive, an impressive 59% of Millennials currently in the work force say they began saving for retirement before age 25, compared with 42% of Gen Xers and 28% of Boomers.
“Despite concerns of Millennials about saving enough money for retirement, they do dream big,” the report highlights. “They expect to retire later than Boomers but are [the] least likely [group] to expect to keep working part-time. Two-thirds of Millennials want to spend their time in retirement, traveling the world.”