Data and Research

Millennials Not Financing Their American Dream

They prioritize one day owning a home and saving for retirement, yet more Millennials are saving to travel than for either of these two goals.

By Rebecca Moore editors@plansponsor.com | April 26, 2017

More than six in 10 Millennials believe the American Dream is still alive today.

They even agree with Gen Xers and Baby Boomers, calling out being happy (70%), owning a home (60%), being debt-free (55%), and retiring comfortably (51%) as the top four ingredients of their American Dream, according to the Bank of the West 2017 Millennial Study.

However, Millennials' savings habits do not align with their goals for the future. They prioritize one day owning a home and saving for retirement—and yet in practice, more Millennials are saving to travel than for either of these two goals.

Millennials are more likely than older generations to say that budgeting tips and free financial education would most help them to reach their American Dream.

One behavior that could hold Millennials back is a preference to save cash for a rainy day rather than invest for the future. Having come of age during the volatility of the Great Recession, Millennials gravitate toward low-risk strategies, with most (76%) saving in cash or checking and saving accounts. Only 17 percent say they were investing on their own and less than one in 10 (7%) were leveraging the help of an adviser or robo-adviser.

Data was collected in an online survey by Maru|Matchbox on behalf of Bank of the West from January 17 to 23, 2017. The sample was based among 1,010 members of its proprietary Springboard America panel consisting of 80% Millennials (ages 21 to 34), 10% Generation X (ages 35 to 51), and 10% Baby Boomers (ages 52 to 70).

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