AUGUST 29, 2017

Millennials Demand More From Employers and Investments

When comparing generations, new Capital Group survey finds that Millennials:

  • Prioritize investing and saving for retirement
  • Expect “new workforce” benefits that align with their lifestyles and values
  • Look to employers for assistance on the cost of education
  • Prefer investments that drive social impact

LOS ANGELES, August 29, 2017 — Nine out of 10 Millennials are saving for retirement, according to a survey of 1,200 investors issued today by Capital Group, home of American Funds® and one of the world’s leading investment management firms. When it comes to their choices of employers and investments, compared to Baby Boomers, Millennials are looking for new workforce benefits and companies that deliver financial and social value.

“Millennials are now the largest generation of working Americans, and their attitudes on work, investing and retirement will shape our future,” said Heather Lord, senior vice president and head of strategy and innovation at Capital Group. “Millennials grew up as digital natives, and they are now the new workforce natives — exploring a very different labor market than generations before them and seeking benefits that align with their lifestyles and values. A 401(k) is table stakes for a Millennial jobseeker; they want new and advanced job benefits from employers like tuition reimbursement and a 529 college savings plan.”

Millennials Challenge Workplace and Investing Norms

Eighty percent of Millennials believe that all employers should be expected to provide a retirement savings option, compared to 71% of Boomers. All three generations surveyed (Millennial, Baby Boomer and Generation X) agree on the top three “must-have” benefits: health insurance, a matching 401(k) plan and vacation time. Where employers can differentiate themselves is by helping with the cost of education. One in three Millennials (34%) say a 529 or college savings plan is a benefit they want employers to offer. Even more want tuition reimbursement (37%). This aligns with a key worry for Millennials: 31% say not having enough money to pay for their children’s education keeps them up at night.

Ninety-one percent of Millennial investors surveyed are contributing to a 401(k) or IRA, and 83% say it’s easy to transfer retirement savings from their prior plan. That’s good news since they change jobs often and embrace nontraditional career paths. Two-thirds of Millennials have held at least two jobs in the past five years — including 30% who have held three jobs or more, compared to 10% of Generation Xers and 6% of Boomers. Twenty-one percent of Millennials say they work primarily in the gig or sharing economy, and 14% earn extra income through a website or app.

Millennials want their investments to do well and expect companies they invest in to drive financial performance. They also rate social impact factors 13 percentage points higher than Baby Boomers on average, saying that it’s important for companies to promote health and wellness of consumers and employees, help disadvantaged communities, include more women in senior management and boards of directors, and promote economic opportunity for women, minorities and LGBT individuals.

“By the time Millennials entered the labor market, long-term job security and traditional pensions were ancient history,” said Lord. “Millennial investors understand they need to take charge of saving for their retirement early in life, and they also demand more than older generations when it comes to their choices of employers and investments.”

Key findings from the Wisdom of Experience investor survey series, include:

Millennials expect new workforce benefits that align with their lifestyles and values.

  • Millennials, Generation Xers and Boomers agree on the top three “must-have” benefits: health insurance, vacation time and matching 401(k) plan
  • Eighty percent of Millennials believe that all employers should be expected to provide a retirement savings option, compared to 71% of Boomers
  • Sixty percent of Millennials say the ability to have a flexible schedule is very important, and, more than previous generations, they want paid time off to volunteer, a mentoring program, free lunches and snacks, and other perks such as pet-friendly offices
  • One in three Millennials (34%) say a 529 or college savings plan is a very important benefit for new employers to offer

Millennial workers keep on the move but think loyalty to their employer is important.

  • Twenty-one percent of Millennials describe themselves as working primarily in the gig or sharing economy, and 14% earn extra income through a website or app
  • Thirty percent of Millennials have held three jobs or more over the past five years, compared to 10% of Gen Xers and 6% of Boomers
  • Two-thirds (67%) of Millennials say being loyal to their employer is important to them — about equal to Baby Boomers and Gen Xers

Millennials are very engaged in saving and investing for retirement.

  • Nine out of 10 Millennials (91%) contribute to a 401(k) or IRA account
  • Retirement saving ranks second only to paying rent or mortgage as a financial priority; one in five Millennials (22%) rank retirement saving as their number one priority
  • Seventy-two percent of Millennial investors say they know specifically or are somewhat confident about the types of mutual funds and investments they have in their retirement accounts
  • Nearly seven out of 10 Millennials (69%) believe that individuals have primary responsibility for taking steps to ensure they have a secure retirement

Millennials look at investing success as helping family and making changes in their lives.

  • Only 10% of Millennials say they would stay in the same career and current lifestyle if they knew they would have enough money to retire
  • Twenty-three percent say more investing success would help them a great deal to take time off to care for aging or ill family members (9 percentage points higher than for Boomers)
  • Millennials tend to worry more about near-term finances such as current income (34%), paying off their loans (34%) and paying for their children’s education (31%) than Generation Xers and Boomers

Millennials expect companies they invest in to deliver financial and social impact.

  • Eighty-two percent of Millennials say it’s important for companies in their investment portfolio to promote the health and wellness of consumers and employees ─ 10 percentage points higher than Boomers
  • Differences between Millennials and Boomers are even greater when it comes to helping disadvantaged communities (+13 percentage points), including more women in senior management and boards of directors (+14 percentage points) and promoting economic opportunity for women, minorities and LGBT persons (+14 percentage points)


Investors of All Ages Agree: Five Factors Lead to a Better Retirement

All generations of investors in the survey — from Baby Boomer to Generation X to Millennial — agree on the top five factors that create a safe path to a better retirement:

  1. Saving a portion of monthly income toward retirement
  2. Building a diversified portfolio
  3. Pursuing a consistent investment strategy based on long-term objectives
  4. Protecting savings and investment gains from market downturns
  5. Investing in funds that do better than the stock market over the long term

Additional findings from this survey will be released throughout the year as part of Capital Group’s Wisdom of Experience investor survey series.

For additional information and the full report, click here

About Capital Group
Since 1931, Capital Group, home of the American Funds, has been singularly focused on delivering superior results for long-term investors using high-conviction portfolios, rigorous research and individual accountability. Today, Capital Group manages more than $1.4 trillion in equity and fixed income assets for millions of individual and institutional investors around the world.*

The Capital Group companies manage equity assets through three investment groups. These groups make investment and proxy voting decisions independently. Fixed income investment professionals provide fixed income research and investment management across the Capital organization; however, for securities with equity characteristics, they act solely on behalf of one of the three equity investment groups.

*As of December 31, 2016


The survey was conducted by APCO Insight, a global opinion research firm, in March 2017. The research consisted of an online quantitative survey of 1,200 American adults — 400 Millennials (ages 21–37), 400 Generation Xers (ages 38–52) and 400 Baby Boomers (ages 53–71) — of varying income levels, who have investment assets and also who have some responsibility for making investment decisions for their families. This sample reflects national representation on key demographic measures according to the U.S. Census Bureau.


Hannah Coan (Los Angeles)
(213) 615-5199

Dana Schwartz
(646) 218-8742 

Investments are not FDIC-insured, nor are they deposits of or guaranteed by a bank or any other entity, so they may lose value.

Investors should carefully consider investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses. This and other important information is contained in the fund prospectuses and summary prospectuses, which can be obtained from a financial professional and should be read carefully before investing. 

This content, developed by Capital Group, home of American Funds, should not be used as a primary basis for investment decisions and is not intended to serve as impartial investment or fiduciary advice.

Statements attributed to an individual represent the opinions of that individual as of the date published and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Capital Group or its affiliates. This information is intended to highlight issues and should not be considered advice, an endorsement or a recommendation.

All Capital Group trademarks are registered trademarks owned by The Capital Group Companies, Inc. or an affiliated company. All other company and product names mentioned are the trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.

Use of this website is intended for U.S. residents only.

American Funds Distributors, Inc., member FINRA.