Young adults, their attitudes and outlook toward retirement and the future

Insights Report

The Report provides results of a survey of young adults’ (age 24-35) attitudes and perceptions regarding their role in global issues, their financial health and their own financial future.


A new study by the AgingWell Hub at Georgetown University and the TIAA Institute finds many young people struggling financially: many live paycheck-to-paycheck, feel finances control their lives, and doubt they will do as well economically as their parents. This report examines attitudes and perceptions of young adults regarding global issues and their own financial future and highlights substantial differences across demographic lines. The report also provides recommendations to young adults, their employers, financial advisors, and society to help young adults secure their financial future. 

Key Insights

  • Despite being financially stressed, many young adults believe they are securing their financial future.
  • Young adults who are amassing at least some savings feel less financially burdened than those who aren’t saving at all.
  • Young adults list saving for retirement as one of the top three financial goals and prioritize saving over paying down debt.
  • Over half of young adults expect to retire at some point and rely on personal or retirement plan savings as a source of income in retirement.  However, over 2 in 3 young adults believe their retirement plan provides for a guaranteed minimum income. 
  • Black/African American young adults are substantially more optimistic than whites about their financial future despite being more likely to say they’re living paycheck-to-paycheck and finances control their lives Black American young adults are also more likely than whites to say they save on a regular basis.

Most young adults feel empowered to address global issues like climate change and social injustice, but they are less optimistic about their own financial future.


The Survey, conducted by Business for Impact’s AgingWell Hub at the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business and the TIAA Institute, was fielded March 2-7, 2023, using an online panel to produce a nationally representative sample of 1,009 U.S. adults, ages 24 to 35, who are employed full time.

Future Outlook


Jeanne de Cervens

Georgetown University

Surya Kolluri

TIAA Institute

David P. Richardson

TIAA Institute

Anne Ollen

TIAA Institute

Emily Watson

TIAA Institute

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