How Millennials Define Success



Millennials, generally understood to be those Americans who were born between 1980 and 1995, are now in their mid-20s, 30s or even approaching 40. The generation mocked for being mindless and spoiled now has become a generation of influencers, both socially and economically, and are the newest rage of necessary and desired clients among financial advisors and providers.

Spectrem’s new study High Income Millennials canassist advisors and providers in understanding what sparks the youngest generation of investors (although Generation Z is on its way). The study examines the attitudes and behaviors of Millennials toward personal, national and economic concerns which impact their everyday lives.

Millennials have been criticized by older Americans for having a wishful set of priorities, but the Spectrem study determined that Millennials define personal success in much the same way those older Americans did and do.

The Spectrem study of Millennials with an annual income of at least $100,000, or those in a two-income household with a combined income of at least $150,000, asked respondents to select from a list of nine definitions of personal success in life. They were allowed to select all that apply.

The most popular response was “being financially independent’’, selected by 70 percent of Millennials. It was not asked of those investors whether they were already successful in that way, but considering the high percentage of Millennials in the study dealing with education-related debt, it is possible only a small percentage of those Millennials considered themselves currently financially independent.

As the most popular response, this answer is also the one that might be easiest for advisors to help achieve. A careful analysis of a client’s liabilities matched against income levels could create a map by which that client can achieve financial independence.

“Being financially stable’’ was the second-most popular response, selected by 68 percent of Millennials. Financial independence is not the same as financial stability, and Millennials live in an occupational environment where job stability is not assured. Financial stability indicates a level of income consistency, which may be difficult to achieve.

When investors were segmented by age and gender, responses varied. The youngest subset of Millennials (under the age of 30 in the summer of 2019) were less likely to define success by financial terms; 68 percent defined success as “working in a field about which I am passionate” and 51 percent defined success as “job security’’.

Throughout the success questions, female Millennials were more likely to respond to all of the choices offered, with the greatest difference being in a response to “ability to afford leisure activities”, to which 59 percent of females and only 45 percent of males responded positively.

Ask your Millennial clients to define personal success. Do they want to own a home? Do they focus their income concerns on living life well now, or living life well in retirement? Are they currently raising a family, or do they intend to raise a family in the future?



©2019 Spectrem Group



Keywords: millennials, success, wealth creation, investors, advisors, Spectrem