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Millennials vs. Boomers: Investment Trends

Younger generations approach investing with different values, tendencies and goals


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Millennials are flocking to Colorado in droves, putting us on the map as one of the top 10 best places for millennials to live. Since this group makes up approximately 25 percent of the population and 35 percent of the workforce, it’s no wonder their financial habits have become a topic of local and national interest.

Members of the Millennial generation, roughly consisting of individuals born from 1980 to 2000, are blazing new trails in their personal and professional lives, and their decisions about financial matters are no different. Millennials carry a huge economic influence in our state and across the country, representing around 21 percent of consumer discretionary purchases. According to Millennial Marketing, their purchases are “estimated to be over a $1 trillion in direct buying power and [have] a huge influence on older generations.”

Even though the Millennial generation is still early in earning potential, they have a significant impact on emerging investing trends as they align personal values with investment strategies. They are generally more willing to make a purchase from a company that supports a cause they believe in, even if it means paying a bit more. This guiding philosophy goes for investment choices too, with Millennials driving the sustainable investment movement.

According to Morgan Stanley research, 86 percent of Millennials are interested in socially responsible investing. As a generation, they are bringing increased attention to sustainable, socially responsible and impact investing – looking to generate financial returns in the market while supporting positive social and environmental change.

Interestingly, a recent Morgan Stanley Investor Pulse Poll showed roughly two in three Millennials currently leverage the insight of a financial professional—more so than investors overall. Millennials are certainly interested in digital planning tools but they are even more likely to enlist the support of a Certified Financial Planner to create a comprehensive plan and help them achieve their goals. Millennials are establishing new trends - not just with what they are investing in, but also with how they are investing. Millennials are 2.5 times more likely to be early adopters of new technology compared to older generations. They are using digital tools and mobile apps to manage their finances, with the majority of Millennials citing mobile banking as their primary means of banking.

The economic power held by this generation is not to be ignored. More than $30 trillion in assets is about to be transferred to Millennials and Generation X as Baby Boomers, the largest and wealthiest generation this country has ever seen, passes their wealth on to their heirs.

By enlisting the help of younger generations, Baby Boomers could more thoroughly understand what is important to these generations and significantly enhance the success of their wealth transfer planning. They should be thoughtful about the differences in investment values, tendencies and goals of younger generations, and integrate them into their wealth transfer plans accordingly.  This will help to align the aspirations of all generations as Baby Boomers pass the torch to Millennials and Generation X.


Madison Carter is a Financial Advisor with the Wealth Management Division of Morgan Stanley in Denver. She can be reached at 303-316-5169 or Madison.anne.carter@morganstanley.com.

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