Surprise! Millennials Are A Generation Of Savers

It appears that Millennials (those born between 1980 and 2000) are going against stereotype, with more than half of them saving for retirement. As usual, stereotypes can be misleading.

And they're accomplishing this despite the high cost of living, high credit card debt, and an average of $30,580 in student debt.

Contrast that with my generation, baby boomers (born 1946-1964). According to a recent survey, over half of us have less than $50,000 saved for retirement – 30% have no retirement savings at all! And we're pretty much all close to or in retirement, with few years left to add to those savings.

While it's good that Millennials are saving for retirement, 61% of them are using savings accounts as their vehicle of choice. Given today's interest rates and the many years available to smooth out investing returns, this is not the best way to prepare for retirement. Here are five ways to transition from saver to investor, as outlined by Hartford Funds:

  • Market risk should be less important than longevity risk – minimizing the risk of running out of money in retirement should be the goal of your retirement plan

  • Time is your biggest asset – use it. The younger you start investing, the less you have to put into the market on a regular basis, and the smaller the impact of a market correction in those early years

  • Be holistic – invest enough and then some. You should strive to invest 10% of your income each year in order to cover multiple scenarios of inflation risk, market risk, and unexpected expenses in retirement

  • Prioritize – saving for retirement is more important than paying off student loans

  • Value the human touch – with your parents and a financial advisor. Your parents have learned many life lessons the hard way, by making mistakes and then recovering from them. A financial advisor can give you the unemotional feedback that may be keeping you from talking about finances with your parents

To borrow a famous slogan: investing for retirement – just do it (although you may not want to know the genesis of that slogan).