It's no secret Millennials and Baby Boomers are different, but the way they see their financial outlook — as well as the country's — after the 2016 election differs widely a few months removed from Election Day.
After the election, more than 40% of Millennials felt they would be "worse off" than in 2016, and 30% predicted the economy would be "a lot worse off," according to survey numbers from COUNTRY Financial. Compare that with only 31% of Gen X-ers thinking they would be "worse off" and only 27% of Baby Boomers feeling that same way.
"I believe there are a few reasons for why the Millennial generation has a bleaker outlook than those of the Baby Boomer generation," said Earl Schultz, founder of Strategic Wealth Advisory in Reading, Pa. "First of all, it is becoming more and more widely recognized and accepted that social security in the future will probably look much different than it does for today's retirees."
"Many of the Millennial generation are unsure if they will ever see any social security benefits after having paid into the system for years," said Schultz, adding because of the aforementioned problems, tax rates are likely going to have to rise substantially.
Robert Johnson, president and CEO of the non-profit American College of Financial Services, said he sees two reasons for the generational disparities — one psychological factor and another grounded in economics.
"Many Millennials believe President Trump is taking the country in a different direction and one that is inconsistent with their values," Johnson said. "For instance on immigration and climate change, Millennials disagree with Trump. This bleeds over into other areas, such as economics."
He added the second reason is given current valuation levels, many economists are predicting that returns in the capital markets — particularly in the equity markets — won't be as robust in the coming years as they have been historically.
"Since 1926, from data compiled by Ibbotson Associates, large capitalization stocks have returned, on average 10% compounded annually, while corporate and government bonds have returned around 6%," he said.
Johnson said new McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) report, "Diminishing returns: Why investors may need to lower their expectations," finds the forces that have driven exceptional returns are weakening, and in some cases reversing, cautioning that investors should expect lower returns on stocks — perhaps in the 6 to 7% range and returns to government bonds in the 2% range.
"If this is accurate, individuals will have to save a substantially higher portion of their income to secure enough funds for retirement," Johnson said. "Many Millennials are just in the initial stages of investing for retirement and see large headwinds. They also don't trust financial markets, as they witnessed the turmoil caused by the financial crisis in 2007-08."
There also is the question of values, adds Kristin Hull, founder and CEO of Nia Global Solutions, with Millennials often looking for meaningful work even at the expense of a high salary.
"This younger generation is urging for government policies that take care of people and environment — for which they are highly concerned," Hull said. "They are not eager to take on long term debt, like the kind required to make a long term commitment to home ownership. They see the election results as diminishing their chances for meaningful work and environmental stewardship."
Hull adds Baby Boomers are typically less conscious about social and environmental aspects of the economy.
"They have seen and experienced the 'Trump bump' in the stock market in a positive way," she said. "This generation is focused more on their own taxes and the amount they potentially will save in taxes in this new administration."
Editors' pick: Originally published March 15.