I’m not just picking on Millennials. Well, maybe I am. We have all read about the financial plight of Millennials, who are not only drowning in student loan debt, but other loans and expenses as well. These loans and expenses include car payments, rents or mortgages, and credit card bills. As a Baby Boomer, who has “been there, done that,” I feel your pain; However, it is time for Millennials to focus on the road ahead and find ways to secure their financial futures.
Undoubtedly, the ability of Millennials to save and invest will be met by challenges. According to a study by the National Endowment for Financial Education , “Two-thirds of Millennials have at least one long-term debt (student loan, home mortgage, car loan) Of those [Millennials] with checking accounts had overdrawn their account in the prior 12 months … [and] … nearly 20 percent of those with a self-directed retirement account either took a loan or made a hardship withdrawal … ”
The financial strain you feel today will become a real pain as you move into your golden years, which are expected to last longer than your Baby Boomer parents. Millennials must focus on both the immediate and the future. Baby Boomers like me constantly lecture about financial planning because we know what your future will look like; We’re living it and you may be headed for a rude awakening. We also have firsthand experience about the pitfalls of not planning. Let’s face it, we blew it. As I said before, Baby Boomers “have been there, done that,” and we even got the T-shirt.
Millennials Do not Trust Wall Street
Why should they? The CNN put it, “Wall Street welcomed millennials to the world of investing by showing them the scariest financial crisis since the Great Depression.” This generation saw their parents financial futures devastated. Many parents lost their job, their home and their hope. Millennials also graduated from college, with debt, and often faced work options of being “underemployed.” It’s not just Millennials who distrust Wall Street. Capital One ShareBuilder’s “Financial Freedom Survey” found that “A majority (58 percent) of investors indicated that distrust of the markets and / or financial services industry is negatively impacting their confidence about investing.”
I spoke with Robert (Bob) Stammers, Director of Investor Engagement at CFA Institute . CFA Institute conducted a survey called, ” From Trust to Loyalty .” The survey sought to gauge the trust within the investment community, garnering results from both the retail and institutional communities. Bob indicated that trust and transparency were big issues for Millennials and their survey results supported their comments.
“Millennials lack trust in financial institutions because they have them down with the financial crisis. The recession, and the housing crisis they witnessed had devastating effects on many of their friends and family, “says Stammers.
I believe that many Millennials are ready to move forward, but are just not sure how to go about investing. They are the social generation and get their advice from friends. This is fine for a restaurant, but I’m not comfortable with investing advice from peers who have little knowledge of financial markets.