NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Kristiana Monterosso only was beginning college when the “Great Recession” hit — but it left a lasting impression on her.
“It seems the horror stories of people losing their retirement scared us into contributing to ours, even if small amounts at a time,” said Monterosso, 24, who works for a startup in New York. “If we could squirrel away enough money each week, month or year, we know that there is a chance we can retire and retire well instead of saying, ‘I'll be working until I'm dead.’"
Monterosso is not alone. A new Bank of America Merrill Lynch study shows an amazing 64% increase in the number of Millennials — those between ages 18 and 34 — contributing to their 401(k) plans compared to 2013. That increase helped push overall participation to nearly 80% among American employees with access to plans — an increase of 18% from 2013.
“One of the formative childhood/young adult experiences of the Millennial generation was the economic recession,” said Megan Gerhardt, an associate professor of management at Miami University. “The heart of the recession hit the families of many Millennials when this generation was approximately 10 to 26 years old.”
Gerhardt said for many, the economic losses within their families may have changed living situations, impacted college decisions and plans and may be continuing to impact when their parents can retire or how their attain financial stability later in life.
Whitney Lee, a financial advisor with Atlanta-based oXYGen Financial, said in working with Millennials daily, she has noticed how younger people are constantly learning from and trying to avoid their parent’s mistakes in many ways — from divorce to investing.