While Confident About Investing, Millennials Open to Advice

Sixty-four percent of Millennials say they are confident about making investment decisions—but this soars to 85% when working with an adviser.

Nearly two-thirds, 64%, of Millennials, those between the ages of 25 and 36, say they are very or extremely confident making investment decisions on their own, Schwab Retirement Plan Services found in a nationwide, online survey of 500 workers. This is far higher than the 47% of Gen Xers and 39% of Baby Boomers who feel the same way.

However, 85% of Millennials say that were they to work with a financial adviser, they would be very or extremely confident about making investment decisions. Among Gen Xers working with an adviser, 73% express such confidence, and among Boomers, 72%.

And while Millennials have less saved in a 401(k) than older generations, 64% think they would benefit from financial advice. Eighty-four would like personalized advice for their 401(k) plan, and 93% say that if they were offered a financial wellness program at work, they would take advantage of it.

However, 35% of Millennials say financial stress is affecting their job performance, compared to only 18% of Gen Xers and 11% of Boomers. Although student loans are certainly a source of Millennials’ financial stress, cited by 24%, they are more likely to put any extra money left over at the end of the month into their 401(k) (34% of Millennials, compared to 20% of Gen Xers and 8% of Boomers).

Millennials are also more attuned to the impact of investment fees, with 51% saying they pay attention to fees when selecting an investment for their 401(k) plan. By comparison, only 40% of Gen Xers and 38% of Boomers say the same.

Schwab says these findings indicate that despite the financial challenges they face, Millennials are taking positive steps when it comes to saving and investing—especially with their 401(k)s. Seventy-eight percent say their 401(k) will be their largest—or their only—source of income in retirement.

“It’s heartening to see that saving for retirement has become a priority for so many workers, especially the youngest generation of workers, for whom retirement can seem like a lifetime away,” says Steve Anderson, president of Schwab Retirement Plan Services.

Koski Research conducted the survey for Schwab in June.