The more things change, the more they stay the same. It’s true in the fashion world as retro fads cycle in and out quicker than you can say second-hand store. It’s also true when it comes to saving for retirement—even for the Millennial generation.
What’s This New Research?
Recently, Ramsey Solutions hired a third-party research team to survey 1,000 U.S. adults about retirement. Because the research cut across age, gender and location, the findings give us a good picture of the status of retirement planning in every generation, including Millennials (born 1980–2000).
Here are a few facts from the study:
- 58% of Millennials are actively saving for retirement, which is similar to Baby Boomers (55%) but less than Generation X (65%).
- 38% of Millennials know how much money they’ll need to retire—basically the same as Baby Boomers (37%) and Gen Xers (36%).
- While Baby Boomers are the most likely to know their retirement age (some are already there), 40% of Millennials and Generation X know how old they’ll be when they punch the clock for the last time.
- Nearly 60% of Millennials have less than $10,000 saved for retirement. Roughly half of Baby Boomers have tucked away similar amounts, even though they’ve had more time to save for retirement.
The generations may be different in some ways, but when it comes to retirement, the adage "like father, like son" still applies. Even when it comes to the challenges they face.
The Hurdles to Retirement Savings
What keeps Millennials from saving for retirement the way they want to? Two things: cost of living and debt. Talk to this youngest adult generation, and they’d say that taking care of their kids and the costs of everyday life are the biggest obstacles to saving for retirement. Student loans, credit card debt and mortgage debt follow close behind.
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And the Boomers and Gen Xers? They face the same hurdles, minus student loans. But here’s where Millennials are ahead of the game: Time is on their side. And that’s a really big deal. Without debt—at an average of over $30,000 for young adults—Millennials could put away the recommended 15% of their income and retire with more than $1 million in the bank.***
But here’s where Millennials are ahead of the game: Time is on their side.
The Solution? It’s Not a Magic Formula
While the Millennial generation has always lived with cutting-edge technology and the world at their fingertips, the solution to their retirement savings problem is the same as it’s always been—pay off student loans and other debt ASAP, put money into an emergency fund, create a monthly budget (one that includes retirement savings), and stick to it. There’s no magic formula or easy short cuts—just hard work.
There’s no magic formula or easy short cuts—just hard work.
Of all the generations in the workforce, Millennials have the best chance of reaching their retirement goals, but only if they’re willing to make major changes in their spending and saving patterns. If they do, they’ll shake up the retirement landscape in America and leave the next generation with a great example to follow.
Want to learn more about the survey results? Check out our Millennials and Retirement report here.
***15% of $55,200=$8,280=$690 a month
$690/month invested with an 8% return over 30 years= $1,028,347