If you think every 20-year-old you know on Instagram these days is on a transatlantic vacation, you’re probably right.
That’s according to a recent survey by financial services firm Fidelity, which asked 2,622 adults in mid-February about their retirement habits. The poll found that 55% of 18-35-year-olds have stopped saving for retirement since the Covid-19 outbreak, while 45% of this age group “do not see the point of saving until things return to normal”.
“In the past two years, some people have had more money because they’re not going out or going on vacation,” Rita Assaf, vice president of retirement products at Fidelity. “But especially given the volatile markets and [ With high] inflation, I think this group of people is just thinking, ‘Why should I have a retirement plan now?'”
Part of this trend is due to the current high cost of living for young Americans: Student debt, rising housing demand and 8.6 percent inflation are weighing on people’s heads and wallets, Assaf said.
For example, if you don’t want to invest in an unpredictable market, you might want to wait until the market stabilizes — even if billionaires like Warren Buffett and Elon Musk advise against it. If you’re concerned about inflation overtaking your savings rate, you may be more inclined to spend.
In February, a Bankrate survey found that 54% of young millennials and 46% of Gen Z respondents said their emergency savings had decreased since 2020. The survey also found that millennials are more likely to have higher credit card debt than savings compared to other generations.
Fidelity’s survey found that the decision to stop saving may be temporary: 39% of 18-35-year-olds expect to retire later than they did before the pandemic, reflecting their decision to delay saving plans for a few years.
In other words, at least some young people are now planning to work a few more years towards the end of their careers to ease the financial pain they’ve suffered during the pandemic. “This generation is more conscious than previous generations of their age,” Assaf said. “Younger investors see the lessons they’ve learned from previous generations and want more control [over their money].”
Assaf attributes financial literacy tips on social media, as well as previous exposure to corporate pension plans, to the “more aggressive approach” young people today – especially young women – are taking to improve their finances. She also noted that the poll results showed “general optimism” – if not now, then in the future.
“65% of our total population say 2022 is the year they come out of the pandemic … If we just look at the younger generation, that number goes up to 74%,” Assaf said. “It makes sense: They have a longer time horizon, and they think, ‘I’ve gotten through the pandemic and I’m ready to focus on the future.'”