The Millennial generation (born 1981-1996) is the largest in U.S. history, with a population of approximately 72 million, according to a 2020 population estimate from the Pew Research Center.1 The Brookings Institution projects that this group will account for more than 30% of all adult Americans by 2020 and as much as 75% of the workforce by 2025.2 By all accounts, as they reach their prime working and spending years, their impact on the economy will be huge.
Millennials have come of age during technological change, globalization, and economic disruption, giving them different experiences than their parents and grandparents.3 They are the first generation to be considered “digital natives,” as technology has always been a part of their everyday lives.4 And this affinity for technology helps shape how they shop since they are used to instant access to price comparisons, product information, and peer reviews.5
Debt And Market Volatility
For the past decade, though, many Millennials have had a tough time entering the workforce and have faced high student loan debt as they finish college. According to The Institute for College Access & Success, 62% of new college graduates (at both public and private schools) carried an average of $28,950 in student debt in 2019.6 This high debt, along with the fear of investing in a volatile stock market, are some of the reasons that Millennials tend to be conservative about saving and investing their money and has led to an increasing wealth gap that has been hard to overcome.7
No Time To Wait
Furthermore, Millennials often see their career trajectories and retirement differently from the way that their parents and grandparents did. They tend to want to follow their ambitions now, while they are still young, and not wait to travel, create a non‐profit, or pursue other hobbies.8 Additionally, they are dedicated to wellness, devoting time and money to exercising and eating right. This active lifestyle influences trends in everything from food and drink to fashion.9
While Millennials can sometimes be wary about investing, the availability of social media tools and mobile apps makes it easier and more comfortable for this age group to learn and do everything needed to help them manage their investment portfolios. They are also more likely to take advantage of online tools for monitoring their investments, and factors such as social and environmental responsibility play a crucial role in their decision‐making process.10
Shaping The Future
With a backdrop of climate change, global social unrest, and a renewed emphasis on justice, equality, and inclusion, many Millennials seek personal ways to make a difference in the world by volunteering at a non‐profit, becoming more actively engaged in their communities, or by re‐evaluating their career choices. And more and more of them are making a difference with their dollars—both in how they spend and invest them.
Whereas philanthropy was once the primary outlet for those passionate about social causes, ESG investing has moved into the mainstream as another notable way for Millennials to influence those causes they care about. ESG investing is no longer just a buzzword, as Millennials have begun to demand that companies take a much more holistic view of their businesses than they have in the past.11 This is most apparent when investing in a company‐sponsored retirement plan, like a 401(k) plan.
I hope you enjoyed the sixth post in a seven-week series on Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investing. Check out other posts in the series here:
An Introduction To ESG Investing
The Theory Of Sustainable Investing
What Is The Triple Bottom Line?
The Popularity of ESG Investing
(1, 2, 6) RBC Wealth Management. (2022). "Five Ways Millennials Can Get Started With Investing". Retrieved from rbcwealthmanagement.com: https://www.rbcwealthmanagement.com/en‐us/insights/advice‐to‐millennials‐start‐investing‐now.
(3, 5, 9) Goldman Sachs. (2022). "Millennials Coming of Age". Retrieved from goldmansachs.com/insights: https://www.goldmansachs.com/insights/archive/millennials/.
(4, 7, 8, 10) Chen, J. (2022, March 16). "Millennials: Finances, Investing, and Retirement". Retrieved from investopedia.com: https://www.investopedia.com/terms/m/millennial.asp.
(11) RBC Wealth Management. (2021). "Money Matters for Young Professionals". Retrieved from rbcwealthmanagement.com: https://www.rbcwealthmanagement.com/_assets/documents/wealth‐insights‐money‐matters‐for‐young‐professionals.pdf.
The views expressed within this newsletter are subject to change at any time without notice and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual or on any specific security or strategy. This material has been distributed for informational purposes only. All investments carry certain risk and there is no assurance that an investment will provide positive performance over any period of time. Because ESG criteria excludes some investments, ESG strategies may not be able to take advantage of the same opportunities or market trends as those that do not use such criteria. John Chichester is an Investment Advisor Representative with Dynamic Wealth Advisors dba Chichester Financial Group LLC. All investment advisory services are offered through Dynamic Wealth Advisors.