Gen Y Most Attentive to Financial Advice

A majority of younger employees will change saving and spending habits after seeking financial advice, a survey finds.

According to the Financial Advice Survey from TIAA-CREF, despite the competing pressures of student loan debt and underemployment, Generation Y or Millennial employees—those age 34 and younger—are most likely to monitor their savings more closely (71%) or change spending habits (66%) after getting financial advice, compared with their older counterparts.

The survey results show Gen Y employees are most interested in interacting with an adviser online (61%), as well as attending webinars (59%) and in-person seminars (58%), compared with Americans overall (at 45%, 47% and 46%, respectively). Gen Y employees also are most likely to want financial advice designed specifically for their needs (76%), with relevant tools and calculators that break down complex advice principals (72%).

Despite this preference for receiving information electronically, 70% of Gen Y employees rely on friends and family for advice to make financial planning decisions. Their older counterparts from Generation X, however, rely more on financial service provider websites or online tools (55%) to make such decisions.

Amy Podzius, a financial consultant at TIAA-CREF, says an early start can significantly help employees save more over the long term. She points out that for every 10 years an employee delays saving, they will need to save three times as much later in order to catch up. Setting aside even small amounts now, she says, could generate large savings over time.

In addition to receiving financial advice, Podzius recommends Gen Y employees avoid or pay down debt, as well as take full advantage of employer-sponsored retirement plans. “There is a tendency to leave money on the table by not taking full advantage of retirement plan contribution matches offered by many employers.”

The survey was conducted by KRC Research, on behalf of TIAA-CREF, by phone, among a national random sample of 1,000 adults, age 18 years and older, between August 28 and September 2.

An executive summary of the survey results can be downloaded here.