Reported Gifts to Grads Indicates Millennials Understand Financial Issues Facing Them

Millennials are more likely than Gen Xers or Baby Boomers to give the gift of help with financial obligations, such as student loan payments and bills; financial education tools; and shares of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etc.

StreetWise, the E*TRADE quarterly tracking study of experienced investors, found 72% of survey respondents overall would advise recent graduates to take advantage of employer 401(k) plans. And 64% overall would advise them to start a portfolio, no matter how small.

These were also the top two pieces of advice from Millennials (58% and 59%, respectively), while Generation X and Baby Boomers rated taking advantage of employer 401(k) plans and spending less than they make the highest—77% and 66%, respectively for Gen X, and 86% and 81%, respectively for Boomers. E*TRADE says the study suggests Millennials are more focused on investing for retirement than many think.

Millennials are the only generation most likely to give the gift of a financial account to a recent grad—45%, compared with 27% of Gen X and 22% of Baby Boomers. Gen Xers and Boomers prioritize cash as gifts—48% and 61%, respectively, compared with 31% of Millennials. Millennials’ gifts also indicate that generation understands the financial issues facing recent graduates. Millennials are more likely to give the gift of help with financial obligations, such as student loan payments and bills—39%, vs. 28% of Gen X and 18% of Boomers); financial education tools—36% vs. 24% and 12%, respectively; and shares of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etc.—33% vs. 20% and 14%, respectively.

The survey also found 88% of responding investors overall believe recent grads are not very knowledgeable about saving and investing for retirement. Two-thirds (67%) of Millennials believe this, compared with 95% of Gen X and 99% of Baby Boomers.

The StreetWise survey was conducted from April 1 through April 11 among an online U.S. sample of 947 self-directed active investors who manage at least $10,000 in an online brokerage account. E*TRADE defines Millennials as those ages 25 through 34, Gen Xers as those 35 through 54, and Baby Boomers as those 55 and older.