Millennials don’t necessarily take a long view on life and finances, but that’s not always due to short-term thinking, a new survey says.
Millennials, aged 20-36, are less interested in the traditional, linear “school-work-retirement” life path and would rather take chances earlier in their lives, but can't due to financial constraints, according to a recent study from Allianz Life in Minneapolis.
According to Allianz’s “The Gift of Time” study, 69 percent of millennial respondents said they would prefer to explore, experiment and travel prior to retirement and follow a different path in terms of how they learn, work, partner and raise families. While almost as many Generation X respondents aged 37-51, 68 percent, felt the same, fewer baby boomer respondents aged 52-70, 58 percent, desired a nontraditional life path.
“Looking at longevity alone, millennials are in a great position to do this,” says Katie Libbe, Allianz Life vice president of consumer insights. “Nobody is saying they want to spend more of their longevity in retirement. They feel the need to pursue their passions and have adventures, and they don’t want to wait for retirement, and they’re young enough to accomplish these goals.”
When asked to map our their ideal longer life, 52 percent of millennials said they would prefer to take a life path unique to their interests, where they might take breaks from work to volunteer and try different things in no set order.
Millennial respondents reported having a greater interest in living adventurously than Gen Xers and boomers. Fifty-eight percent of millennials wanted to travel extensively, versus 56 percent of Gen Xers and 54 percent of boomers.
“There’s a lot of truth to the idea that every generation, when they’re young, wants to try an alternative path or live more adventurously,” Libbe says. “We think millennials are behaving a lot differently, though, because they have the benefits of technology and longevity. They’re the ones who tend to say very quickly that they’re not fulfilled in their current career, or that they want to attach themselves to companies and brands that stand for something and care about social issues. They’re almost biding their time so they can find a position or career that’s going to fulfill them.”
Millennials were also more entrepreneurial than older respondents: 36 percent of millennials wanted to start their own businesses, versus 30 percent of Gen Xers and 21 percent of boomers.
Younger generations were also more tolerant of risk-taking, 29 percent of millennial respondents said they wanted to take more risks in life, versus 23 percent of Gen Xers and 19 percent of boomers.
Millennials were more likely than other generations to regret not taking more chances in their past, with 38 percent saying they already wish they had been more gutsy in their choices.