Good News: Millennials are Preparing for Retirement

Photo: Sunset in Northeast Nebraska. Taken July of 2016.


I have heard all of the negative press about millennials. And as I was researching for this article, I ran into a few of those negative comments. Like the following from The Atlantic:

“We can all agree that Millennials are the worst.”
— Phillip Bump, The Atlantic

Those are some pretty tough words right there. Basically, this author believes that the millennials are the worst generation. Since I am a member of the millennial generation, I tend to disagree. I rarely see any lazy millennials. Most of the millennials I work with are hard working and energetic to do a job educating the youth in America. Of course, I understand that I have a small sample size to pull from, but there is another article that supports my claim that not all millennials are lazy, unproductive, and too involved in their phones. This article is titled, "Do Millenials Make for Bad Employees?" I have quoted a small portion of that article below:

“Other managers I spoke with largely echo Olin’s sentiments, especially when it comes to younger Millennial workers, those who are between the ages of 21 and 25. These managers mostly described the set as bright, competent, and hardworking—anything but lazy and entitled. Several noted that they were more impressed with their young twenty-something hires than their workers who were born in an earlier generation.”
— Gillian B. White, The Atlantic

I think that this can go to show you that millennials can get a bad wrap, most of the time. All generations have entitled and lazy people. It just seems like the millennial generation has been hit with story after story of entitled lazy brats. I would say that lots of research shows that these news articles don't tell the whole story, especially after Ramsey Solutions just released their results on Millennials and retirement. The study for Ramsey Solutions showed the following:

58% of Millennials are actively saving for retirement.

38% already know how much money they’ll need to retire.

Four in 10 know how old they’ll be when they retire.

So let me get this straight; people believe that millennials are entitled, but over half of them are actively saving for retirement. And close to 40% know how much they'll need in retirement and when they'll retire. That does not sound like a group of people that are entitled. That sounds like a group of people who are on their game and preparing for retirement. By preparing for retirement, these millennials are making sure that they won't be a burden on society. This study also found out that millennials expect their income source in retirement to be from (1) 401-k, (2) Personal Savings and (3) Social Security.

I am glad to see that social security is number three on the list and I am glad to see that the 401K is first on the list. This means that millennials are planning on the fact that they will be using their money in retirement. This would be my personal suggestion to anyone preparing for retirement:

Don't bank on Government savings for retirement.

Will social security be around for retirement when we, the millennials, retire? The math can be sketchy on that one, and I prefer not to rely on the government for anything. I prefer to take control of my life and live off of my investments. For this reason, my wife and I invest, or save, for retirement in five ways.

1. Roth IRA

2. 401k/403b

3. House

4. Regular Investment Account

5. Investment Properties (We have not started, but eventually) 

5. Personal Savings (Emergency Fund)

As you can see, we don't even want to be stuck counting on social security, so we invest in multiple different accounts which will allow us to have different income streams when we retire. My plan is to save enough so that I don't have to rely on social security. If we do get some social security, then that would just be gravy on the biscuit (extra spending money).

As you will notice, I put personal savings accounts as the last thing on our retirement list. This is because they can be lousy investments, especially for people in their 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s. Cash accounts, such as certificate of deposits, money market accounts and basic saving accounts, don't earn enough in interest long term. The best place to invest for retirement is in the investments listed above. We only use our savings accounts for an emergency fund and keep 3-months of expenses only.

The graph below was created by Ramsey Solutions and can be found in this article. They used the assumption of investing 15% of $32,000 or $4,800 a year. This graph represents the amount in your accounts after 40 years.

 Source: Ramsey Solutions

Source: Ramsey Solutions

As you can see from the image above, keeping your investments in a simple savings account will hurt the value of your nest egg (retirement savings) over the long run. The savings accounts just don't earn enough in the long run to benefit you in retirement. Therefore, we need to make sure to invest all of our money, except for a small emergency fund. The small emergency fund allows you to have liquid money for the unexpected expenses that happen in life (liquid means money that's easy to access).

In conclusion, we can celebrate the fact that millennials are saving for retirement and that they aren't looking at social security as their first source of income. The fastest way to reach financial independence is to save and invest. And as this study showed, millennials are investing. They are planning for their future because they know how much money they will need in retirement. So it sounds like we could give the millennials a new nickname. Instead of the worst generation, let's call them the smartest generation.

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