A survey conducted in January by the consultancy Millennial Branding and media company Elite Daily showed that more than half of Millennials were either "knowledgeable or "very knowledgeable" about financial issues.
They are taking the time to educate themselves about equity markets and other types of investments and are open to different types of opportunities.
In an interview, Patrick Dwyer, private wealth advisor for Merrill Lynch, said millennials will probably live "longer than any generation in history." That will require them to have ample money for their retirement. He said that millennials will have to remain disciplined in their investment strategies and not overreact to changing market conditions.
Dwyer started his career in wealth management via college internships. Last year he ranked among Barron's top 100 financial advisors. It was the ninth consecutive year he has been on this list. Dwyer tries to diversify a portfolio, and he meets regularly with clients to discuss performance and possible changes. He believes this type of personal attention is crucial for building a strong relationship with investors.
Below are his responses to three questions.
TS: Regarding investing, where do you see millennials ten years from now? How might their perspectives change on saving and investing their income?
Dwyer: Millennials will live longer than any generation in history, and they will probably work longer too -- not only because they have greater access to healthcare, but also because they will need to ensure that they have sufficient funds to support their retirement. While they will not have the same types of retirement plans as their parents and grandparents, they will have the same priorities. We've already seen that the traditional way of investing is not enough, and at Merrill Lynch, we help our clients realize that finances are more than markets and returns. Instead, a client's family and their individual priorities should be factored into the equation at every stage of life. That said, as millennials age, their perspectives on saving and investing their income will likely change to match these priorities.
TS: As a wealth manager yourself, any advice you would give to millennials on how to invest their capital?
Dwyer: With today's evolving technologies, there is an expected, immediate gratification. Millennials will likely face the same challenges as the generations before them, but they will have to exercise a new level of discipline to not overact to market changes over time. As mentioned before, this is where advising around one's life priorities becomes useful, because you can remain focused on the goals at hand and not get sidetracked by momentary disruptions. The key is to start planning early and to fully understand how much money will need to be saved to accomplish one's goals.
TS: How did you get into wealth management and what are some of the hurdles you faced in 2008?
Dwyer: Wealth management is a passion that began in college and was fostered through my various internships. Its more than just finances, it's about relationships and helping individuals and their families accomplish their goals. It is highly rewarding to see one of my clients achieve success.
In 2008, we realized that a lot of the assumptions we had about the market were untrue temporarily. One of the biggest hurdles I faced was ensuring my clients did not panic and kept their goals in mind. As you can imagine, this was difficult. That said, we learned a valuable lesson: Those who held their position, waited for the situation to calm down and reassessed after the fact, tended to fair better than those who did not.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held TK positions in the stocks mentioned.