Millennials – Planning for the Future

June 04, 2014
By Glen J. Buco, CFP®

In general terms, Millennials are the segment of the population born between 1980 and 2000, ranging in age from 18 to 33. They are sometimes referred to as “Generation Y,” and are the children of the baby boom generation. By 2020, Millenials are expected to number 100 million and represent 75% of the U.S. workforce.

There are many similarities between Millenials and prior generations. However, according to polling and research by the Pew Research Center, Millenials are linked by social media, burdened by debt, distrustful of people, relatively unattached to organized politics and religion and in no rush to marry. Yet, they are optimistic about the future.

When it comes to their ability to find employment and save for their future, Millenials have not had it easy. The recent market declines and recessions of 2001, most recently from December 2007 to June 2009, have made it difficult for Millenials to find full-time work. In addition, escalating college and housing costs and other bills have left many with a heavy debt load. Realistically, retirement planning and long-term financial security is not foremost on the mind of Millenials. However, their youth and the advantage of compounding interest make it imperative that financial planning start early. In a presentation by Meg Jay, PhD at the Fidelity Executive Forum, Ms. Jay noted that “this age is a period of rapid development and approximately 70% of lifetime wage growth takes place in the first ten years of work.”

One advantage that Millenials do have is the vast growth and range of technology. Growing up with the internet and associated devices allows for stock market news, banking and budgeting almost anywhere and at any time.

Basic financial planning remains essential, as for older generations:

  • Establish goals and priorities. Obtain a job, negotiate a salary and benefits, purchase a home, and start thinking about long-term financial security. A well thought out plan will meet the needs of today, as well as tomorrow.
  • Develop a saving and spending plan. Figure out how much money you can save each pay period after you pay your base living expenses. Allocate that amount between specific short-term goals, such as a vacation or car, and contributions for retirement. Even though your budget may be tight, every dollar you can save now will be worth much more over time.
  • Use technology to keep your plan on track. Technology can be extremely useful with direct deposit, automated budgets, bill paying and contributions to savings and retirement plans. Automation can reduce temptation and help you to stick with your plan.
  • Contribute to a retirement plan. If your employer does not offer a plan, look into contributing to an IRA or a Roth IRA for retirement.
    Find an advisor. Look for an advisor who you trust, that understands your life goals, communicates in a way that you understand and with whom you can connect.

In the words of Leonard Bernstein, “To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time.”


Referrals of family, friends and colleagues who may benefit from financial planning and investment management guidance are always welcome. Thank you for recommending our firm.

This report has been prepared by West Financial Services, Inc. from original sources and data we believe to be reliable. This report is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as investment, legal or tax advice. Analysis of past market conditions may not predict future market activity.