Investing and Saving by Millennials

Scottrade Survey: Millennials Make Investing a Regular Thing

A global recession, shaky job market and ever-increasing student loan debt may have gotten many Millennials off to a slow financial start in their careers. But a rough economy isn’t keeping them from investing on a consistent basis.

A whopping 82% of Millennials (ages 18-34) are investing money regularly toward their financial goals, according to Scottrade’s 2016 American Investor Report, which asked more than 1,000 investors (including 199 Millennials) about their attitudes regarding investing, finance and retirement. 

Sixty-four percent of Generation X (ages 35-49) indicated they invest on a regular basis, while just 40% of Baby Boomers (ages 50-69) do the same. A mere 20% of Seniors (ages 70+) invest regularly, which isn’t surprising given the vast majority of them are no longer in the workforce.

“These habits of Millennials will serve them well, especially when it comes to retirement,” said Joe Correnti, senior vice president of brokerage product at Scottrade. “By investing early and investing regularly, Millennials have the advantage of compounding on their side.”

This discipline toward investing may be explained by a number of factors. Millennials have grown up in a world where 401(k) plans have become ubiquitous, so investing money with each paycheck has become routine.

“In addition, many Millennials might be concerned about the future of Social Security and believe they will have to shoulder a larger share of their retirement income,” Correnti said. 

Financial Regrets

Millennials may also be investing early and often in order to not repeat the same mistakes of older generations. When asked what they would change about their investment past, 38% of all study participants said they would have invested more regularly. Only “save earlier” was more popular, at 46%.

Just 23% of all respondents said they wouldn’t change anything about their investment past. Seniors are most at peace with their financial decisions, with 41% of them indicating they wouldn’t change a thing. But many Seniors have some regrets; 39% indicated they would have started saving earlier, 23% would have sought financial advice earlier and 21% would have invested more regularly.

As for other regrets, 21% of all respondents would have spent less when they were younger, 17% would have sought financial advice earlier in life and 12% would have eschewed credit cards.

“Sometimes, the best way to learn about money is from people who have been in their situations before and to learn from older generations’ successes and missteps,” Correnti said. “Millennials should build good financial habits early and continue them throughout their life.”


The 2016 American Investor Report survey was conducted September 14-22, 2015, in collaboration with Harris Poll, an independent third-party research firm not affiliated with Scottrade, Inc., its business units or subsidiaries. The online survey was conducted among a nationally representative sample of 1,001 adults, 18+ in the U.S. who are involved in investment decisions for their household and have $2,500 or more in investments with a full service brokerage company, online brokerage company or independent financial advisor under management. This online survey is not based on a probability sample, and therefore, no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

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