Fidelity Investments released a reportafter surveying 152 Millennials earlier this year regarding their feelings toward financial advice and their future. As a Millennial myself, I felt compelled to dig more into this topic with some anecdotal evidence as well as some surprising numbers revealed in Fidelity’s case study.

Who are Millennials?

Most sources will describe Millennials as those born between 1980-1989, “Generation Y”. However, the spectrum is can be broadened among those born from 1980-2000.

This age group has experienced the technology boom. I have seen the phone Zack Morris used in Save By the Bell turn into this small, hand-held computer that I can’t leave the house without. I have access to everything I could ever want to know via the internet, or inexpensive travel. There is a downside to growing up in this age group though, and that is the financial downturn many of us experienced starting in 2007…right as we were entering or finishing college (for those that attended).

Our parents:

What is the one generation that we never stop hearing about? Who “built this country” and who is going to “use up all the social security funding” before Generation Y gets to retirement? The Baby Boomers.

These are my parents. 76 million people were born post World War II when the economy was “booming” – since we all know war somehow creates wealth, *blech*. This generation was seen as the privileged, but truth be told, this generation was given a lot of responsibility for the future, and on a macro level began one of the worst habits of our country: accepting easy credit.

While I don’t have the exact numbers, I can say that my parents didn’t go to college. Student loans weren’t at their height of popularity in the 70’s and 80’s. More than likely if you went to an undergraduate program, you were paying along the way or taking smaller loans because the cost was “reasonable”. Since the expansion of credit and the money supply, prices for higher education have soared – yet the Baby Boomers couldn’t see the trouble this would cause with their own children…at least mine didn’t.

Baby Boomers make up the largest amount of bankruptcies from 2002-2007. Many of which are contributed to rising medical costs but overspending and credit card debt play a role as well. Responsible money management was overshadowed by easy to come by luxuries. Credit card companies were all there to help people find the things they always wanted, but may not have needed.

The Y’er’s Influence.

As I stated before, the new cultural norm of credit cards and easy credit boomed while we were teenagers entering early adulthood. The housing market flourished, the job market not doing so bad either – however, while we, Y’ers, were planning our high school graduations and college courses for the coming year, our parents were about to experience the hardest shake to the US economy since the Great Depression. Jobs, investments, and savings were lost.

I believe, this experience alone spurred the majority of sentiment that is growing in the Y-er crowd. So many of my peers watched their parents lose their jobs (including my father), and saw the Federal Reserve unleash the infamous attempts to save the economy, called “Bailouts”. Because of the wealth of information available for everyone, truth quickly leaked out on who benefited from these government rescue missions: big banks and corporations…as well as the government themselves.

I was a sophomore in college when the news came out that 700 billion dollars – remember the TARP program – was going to be created (through credit provided by the Federal Reserve who has an infinite supply of money to loan). It was shortly after news came out that these same businesses that were “too big to fail” had execs receiving the biggest bonuses they had ever recorded. It was then, my blood boiled and I knew this financial system was not looking out for me.

This same sentiment grew among my generation. This is one of those issues that crossed ideological lines. The Left and the Right on campuses could all agree they were getting the short end of the stick, but the finger was always pointed in different directions.

Fidelity’s survey found that 1 in 4 Millennials do not trust anyone at the moment when it comes to their financial future. Around 33% said they could trust their parents. Wouldn’t it be interesting to compare the number of skeptical young adults from the Great Depression? Did they feel cheated out of a promising financial future because of their parents’ financial mistakes and government’s big business policies.

The Good News:

With crisis comes a great opportunity to learn. Very seldom when things are going great do we question the systematic structure of our lives. It is only when problems and obstacles arise that we tend to examine the way we do things.

Because of the massive bailouts in 2008 and continued exposition of the Federal Reserve’s enabling of crony capitalism, Y’ers do not feel comfortable looking to government or any authority figures on financial advice. Instead, they seem to be doing what is logical: saving.

A month or so ago, the news painted an evil picture of those Americans who were “hoarding” cash – but it’s safe to say that the natural instinct to protect yourself by creating a financial safety net has been reinstated (if the practice was in fact lost for a bit). Almost half of Millennials surveyed by Fidelity were saving specifically for retirement. Some through 401K’s and IRA’s – while I’m curious how many use gold and silver as savings accounts?  My guess is there is still so much education needed in that space to explain the difference between gold and silver as an investment and gold and silver as a tool to store wealth.

Conclusion:

While many families now have to plan on who is taking care of who down the line, the number of Y’ers that are saving for retirement can put future generations at ease. Much like the Senior Vice President of Fidelity pointed out, “…this generation fortunately has a big advantage — the luxury of time, as nothing is more powerful than the impact of saving early and often.

There is no guarantee of a financial safety net from government nor from Baby Boomers. This message is resonating to Millennials and motivating the generation to take financial freedom and responsibility into our own hands.

I look forward to hearing this number of savers grow, and hope that the wool will stay above our eyes when free money, that sounds too good to be true, appears at our finger tips. Keep smartening up and saving!

For questions about saving for retirement with gold and silver, feel free to reach out to Amagi Metals. An entire staff of Millenials! Shoot us an email at support@amagimetals.com