Millennials More Confused About Retirement Planning

Lincoln Financial found young savers, more than other age groups, are challenged by understanding long-term benefit options.

Broadly speaking, Millennials are not optimistic about retirement, and many are likely confused about the basics of these programs, not to mention long-term benefits and education. In its Measuring Optimism, Outlook and Direction (M.O.O.D.) of America Survey, Lincoln Financial Group compared the concerns and challenges of 18- to 34-year-olds against those of the general population.

According to Millennials, their top challenge is understanding their options for insurance coverage, cited by 83% of respondents, followed closely by retirement planning (79%)—a more than 10 percentage point difference from the 70% and 67%, respectively, of the general population who said the same. An earlier release from the M.O.O.D. survey reported that just one in five Americans feel “very prepared” for retirement.

To get the information they need, beyond asking family members for advice, 45% look to company shares on social media platforms, and 38% conduct their own research online. Still, 71% said they would prefer to purchase financial products—for instance, annuities—either in person or over the phone, not online.

“Lincoln Financial believes that education and empowerment are the keys to taking charge of your financial future,” says Mark Konen, president, Insurance and Retirement Solutions, Lincoln Financial Group.

NEXT: Savings grace.

More than half of Millennials (57%) believe retirement is too far off to start saving now. Roughly three-quarters (77%) report that their current cost concerns are preventing them from planning or saving for the future, keeping their focus on housing, monthly bills, etc.

Still, most Millennials look to be more promising savers than their predecessors. Eighty-three percent save some money from every paycheck, versus 78% of the general population. Many find major milestones to be strong motivators for financial responsibility: 83% report being more inclined to plan for their financial future when they are preparing to get married, have a baby or buy a home.

Fewer Millennials work with a financial adviser—25%, compared with 37% of the general population—but the majority of those who do say they feel empowered about their future when meeting with one. Ninety-four percent of Millennials that have advisers trust them to act in their best interests, and 93% are satisfied with the work their advisers have done for them.

“It’s encouraging to see that Millennials are motivated to save and plan for their financial future,” says Kristen Phillips, head of marketing and strategy for Lincoln’s Insurance and Retirement Solutions business. “Now, we have the opportunity to understand how to engage these savers at various touchpoints, to provide solutions and services to help meet their specific needs and stage of life.”

Results for the 2015 M.O.O.D. of America poll are based on a national survey conducted by Whitman Insight Strategies (WINS) on behalf of Lincoln Financial Group from March 31 to April 9, among 2,273 adults 18 years of age and older across the United States. More information about the survey is available here.