Gen Y Gets it About Retirement Savings

September 14, 2005 ( - They may be young, but Americans between 18 and 26 years old have apparently gotten the message in a big way about the importance of saving for their retirement years.

That was a key finding in a new Diversified Investment Advisors survey, according to a Diversified press release.

The announcement found that virtually all of the Gen Y adults (18 to 26 years old) surveyed (94%) acknowledge the value of retirement savings with 80% at least somewhat motivated to save. Almost half (48%) admitted they were very or extremely motivated to save for their Golden Years.

While salary (79%) and health benefits (73%) ranked the highest among the factors considered when making a job choice, 49% of Gen Y respondents said that they also considered retirement benefits a very important factor. In addition, nearly one-fourth of those respondents who consider retirement benefits to be very important expected a tenure with their chosen employer of more than a decade compared to 10% of those who did not consider retirement benefits to be very important.

“When you consider that retirement benefits ranked higher than vacation time, the prestige of the employer and job training, this generation appears to take their financial future seriously, perhaps even more so than previous generations,” Eric Henon, a vice president of Diversified said in the news release. “Young adults have learned some difficult lessons early on, having watched their parents grapple with a downturn in the stock market, as well as the questionable future of Social Security and corporate pension plans that previous generations took for granted. These survey results underscore their heightened awareness and take-charge approach toward their own retirement.”

More Findings

Other survey findings include:

  • among those eligible, 70% of the Gen Y respondents contribute to their 401(k) plan
  • nearly one quarter of Gen Y’ers motivated to save for retirement have more than $10,000 already put aside versus just 11% of those that are not motivated to save for retirement
  • thirty-seven percent of Gen Y adults expect to start saving for retirement before they reach age 25, with nearly half (46%) of those that are already working indicating so
  • men were more likely to feel they have enough time to save for retirement, with 71% of men indicating so versus 57% of women. Men were also more apt to take financial risks, have a good sense of their investment goals, and have more money saved.
  • sixty-two percent believe that Social Security will not be around when they retire.
  • many young adults regard themselves as risk averse and do not consider themselves investors: given a sum of $10,000, eight in 10 would put the money in a savings account rather than invest it.

Diversified conducted the survey in August 2005 among 401 young adults between 18 and 26 to assess views and behaviors related to retirement planning and saving.