Gen Y Focused on Saving

March 9, 2011 ( – Perhaps it’s because they’re less likely to have a mortgage or other financial burdens, but Gen Y defines “financial success” as putting money aside for long-term goals, whereas older generations see success as being debt free.

TD Ameritrade published these findings in it “Investor Index 2011” report, which found 36% of Gen Y (those born between 1977-1989) as defining financial success as “putting money aside every month for long term goals.” The number one answer from the Mature group (born between 1930-1945), Boomers (1946-1964), and Gen X (1965-1976) was “being debt free.”

The survey also found that many more Matures feel they have achieved financial success compared to any other generation – 58% of Matures responded that they have reached financial success; only 18% of Boomers felt that way, 8% of Gen X, and 9% of Gen Y. The majority in those three generations said they are on their way to achieving financial success, however, quite a few said they are far behind their goals and may never succeed. For Boomers, 20% said they are “working on becoming financially successful but may not succeed,” and 12% said they are “far behind where they want to be and will unlikely achieve financial success.” Twenty percent and 13% of Gen X felt that way, and 15% and 11% of Gen Y shared that bleak outlook.

Boomers apparently had the short end of the stick when it comes to financial stress, the survey found. Fifty percent agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, “I have more financial stress than my parents and their generation.”  Thirty-seven percent of Matures felt that way, 44% of Gen X, and 30% of Gen Y.
The survey asked respondents to name their biggest financial regret. The largest percentage of Matures (50%) said “not doing all I could to educate myself on personal finance and investing” as their biggest regret, while “not saving enough for the future” was the top response for the other generations.

And in terms of trusted sources of news and information about financial matters, advisers have their most untrusting customers in Gen Y. Only 10% of Gen Y respondents said they trust “professional investment advisers” the most, with “friends, relatives, or colleagues” and “TV or radio talk shows” each being most trusted by 21% of Gen Y respondents.

The Matures were almost evenly split on their most trusted source of financial news. Twenty-three percent said “TV or radio talk shows” were most trusted, 21% said professional advisers, and 20% said friends, relatives, or colleagues.   

The survey was conducted by phone from November 16 to December 7, 2010; 963 adults between the ages of 21 and 80 participated.

-Nicole Bliman