UBS Investor Watch Report Reveals Millennials Are As Financially Conservative As Generation Born During Great Depression

UBS Wealth Management Americas (WMA) today released its quarterly UBS Investor Watch report, that shows Millennials (people ages 21-36) are the most fiscally conservative generation since the Great Depression. While Millennials describe their risk tolerance as either conservative or somewhat conservative (34%), their average asset allocation is extremely conservative, with the average portfolio dedicating 52% to cash, compared to 23% cash for other investors.

The majority of Millennials said saving was the best financial advice they had received, while other generations said investing was the best. This Depression Era mentality combined with advice they get from family is turning Millennials into a generation of savers who are skeptical about long-term investing and market chasing. Only 12% of Millennials said they would invest found money in the market, and only 28% see long-term investing as a pathway to success and are focused on meeting their goals instead of a specific market return.

"Millennials seem to be permanently-scarred by the 2008 financial crisis," said Emily Pachuta, Head of Investor Insights, UBS Wealth Management Americas . "They have a Depression Era mindset largely because they experienced market volatility and job security issues very early in their careers, or watched their parents experience them, and it has had a significant impact on their attitudes and behaviors."

What is success

UBS Investor Watch research insights shatter other stereotypes about the Millennial generation. A large majority believe the road to success requires hard work (69%), saving and living frugally (45%), and a good education (37%). When it comes to defining success, Millennials and other generations have added emotional and relationship factors and life experiences to the traditional financial definition.

But money clearly matters to Millennials, who say financial freedom is the single most important factor of success (48%) and say that a household income of $220,000 defines success, and that increased funds would notably improve their happiness, specifically an additional $1 million. While all generations feel successful, only Millennials are decidedly more optimistic about their own – and their children’s – ability to be successful in the future.

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