New York, December 12, 2013 – A majority of young adults surveyed change their savings and spending habits after seeking financial advice, despite the competing pressures of student loan debt and under-employment, according to a recent survey from TIAA-CREF. The survey was conducted by an independent research firm and polled a random sample of 1,000 adults nationwide on their attitudes, preferences and behaviors about receiving financial advice.1
Known as Millennials or Gen Y, American adults younger than age 34 are most likely to monitor savings more closely (71 percent) or change their spending habits (66 percent) after getting financial advice, compared with their older cohorts as well as surveyed Americans overall.
“Most of us struggle with the question of how to spend less than you earn and save for the future,” said Amy Podzius, a financial consultant at TIAA-CREF. “Professional advice can help you create a budget and strategy to gain financial independence and build security.
“It’s important to remember that an early start can significantly help you save more over the long term,” added Podzius. For example, for every 10 years you delay saving, you’ll need to save three times as much to catch up. If you contribute $1,000 per year into an IRA every year from age 20 to age 30, and contribute no more, at a 7% average annual return, your account will be worth $168,515 at age 65. Starting at age 30, you would need to contribute $1,000 per year for 35 years at the same average return to reach an account value of $147,914 at age 65.2 If money is tight, setting aside even small amounts now will likely reap large rewards over time.
When it comes to financial planning, Gen Y is most interested in interacting with an advisor online (61 percent), as well as attending webinars (59 percent) and live seminars (58 percent), compared with surveyed Americans overall (45 percent, 47 percent and 46 percent, respectively). Gen Y members also are most likely to want financial advice designed specifically for their needs (76 percent), with relevant tools and calculators that break down complex advice principals (72 percent).
The survey results demonstrates that Gen Y adapts to broad technology changes but places trust more narrowly: Seventy percent of Gen Y advice seekers rely on friends and family for financial advice, while Gen X advice seekers rely more on financial service provider websites or online tools (55 percent).
“When we talk about the top 10 mistakes people make, running up debt is only part of the picture. There also is a tendency to leave money on the table by not taking full advantage of retirement plan contribution matches offered by many employers,” Podzius said. “TIAA-CREF provides personalized advice on the plan’s investment options and financial planning tools for every stage of life, which can empower young adults to take charge on their own terms, whether it’s building a five-figure savings account or changing the repayment terms for student loans.”3
In addition to in-person retirement plan advice, TIAA-CREF offers Gen Y members online budgeting and savings calculators to help them reach their financial goals. For example, the TIAA-CREF Savings Simplifier iPhone App provides fast money tips, tracks investments, calculates the benefits of cutting specific expenses and projects different retirement scenarios.
TIAA-CREF has been offering personalized retirement plan financial advice since 2005 at no additional cost to clients of all income brackets and life stages. The company currently offers in-person financial services at more than 65 offices across the country, in addition to phone representatives who are licensed and trained to provide advice. These services provide individuals with a suggested asset class mix and investment recommendations on retirement plan assets, to support their success in reaching their retirement income goals.
For details on the study, read the TIAA-CREF Financial Advice Survey Executive Summary . For more information about retirement planning, visit the TIAA-CREF Advice and Guidance Center.
The survey was conducted by KRC Research by phone among a national random sample of 1,000 adults, age 18 years and older, between August 28, 2013, and September 2, 2013. The margin of error for the entire sample is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.
TIAA-CREF (www.tiaa.org) is a national financial services organization with $542 billion in assets under management (as of 9.30.13) and is the leading provider of retirement services in the academic, research, medical and cultural fields.