The millennial generation seems to constantly get a bad rap. They are perpetually trending online and in the news for one ignorant reason to the next. They are picked on for being lazy, entitled, moochers, they eat laundry detergent, they film their every single move from sun-up to sun-down on their phones, they have a collection of participation awards and trophies gathering dust at their parent's houses, where they supposedly still live, and they are obsessed with avocado toast. So goes the narrative, millennials are drowning in debt and aren't putting anything away for their futures. However, a recent survey released by Bank of America contradicts the most prevalent stereotypes about millennials, the study shows that one in six has at least $100,000 saved!
Bank of America asked people in the U.S about their relationship with money for the bank's Better Money Habits Millennial Report. Those surveyed were split evenly between older millennials, ages 28-37, and younger millennials, ages 23-27. One in six surveyed reported that their total savings, including money in checking and savings accounts, IRAs, 401Ks, and other retirement and investments accounts was $100,000 or greater. The Bank concluded that the survey's results showed that millennials are actually learning to be financially responsible faster than other generations. That is wonderful news and is quite commendable that so many young people are thinking about their futures. There are though, other studies and surveys being done about millennials and their lifestyle choices, that could impact their growing wealth. Marriage rates among this generation are plummeting. They are saying no to traditional marriage in record numbers. The median age for first time marriage is now 27 for women and 29 for men. A recent Urban Institute report predicted an unprecedented number of millennials will stay unmarried through age 40! According to yet another report released by the Pew Research Center, a whopping 25% of millennials are likely to never be married. How do these statistics relate, and how is it relevant to end-of life planning?
Millennials are generally what society would deem "young", and young people tend to want to ignore their own mortality. It's unpleasant, and for the most part, young people like to fantasize that Death reaps the elderly during a peaceful night's sleep. Realistically speaking, however, it's wise to admit that tragedy can strike at any time, and Death is impartial to age. According to a Caring.com survey, a full 64% of people who are taking care of minor children have no end-of-life plans in place. It can be surmised then, that parents of children under the age of 18 are in the millennial generation. While this generation is rapidly saving money, making smart financial investments, and learning fiscal responsibility, they still have a few things to learn in fully planning for their futures. If a young person dies, without having had the foresight to make arrangements for their unexpected demise, there can be serious, severe consequences. In the event of an illness, or an accident, if there is no estate plan in place, minor children will be left in the hands of the state. The state of their residence will decide what happens to their kids, instead of those choices being made by the parents. The fact, too, that so many millennials are opting not to get married can have dire repercussions for live-in partners, if one were to pass away suddenly. Without specifying where their assets are to go, after death, they would be inherited by the next-of-kin. If that is a sister who has always disapproved of the deceased individual's girlfriend, for example, she could choose to leave the surviving life partner with nothing.
While millennials are building wealth, and living untraditional lives with partners, ie: foregoing marriage and trail blazing, like never before, they still seem to be forgetting bad luck happens, and if they fail to plan ahead, the assets they have accrued thus far, and the loved ones they live with, who don't legally have claim to it, can be left literally without a roof over their heads. Layman, D'Atri and Associates, LLC would love to be at the forefront of helping the millennial generation continue to defy the negative stereotypes they've been labeled with and assist with any end-of-life plans they may need. Estate Planning is for everyone, young and old. Perhaps one stereotype about millennials holds up: they seem to like to make their own choices in life, and they live by their own rules. One way or another, after their death, their assets will be distributed, with or without their previously decided upon plans. It will be the court's decision who gets their assets, who will get guardianship of their children and who will take care of the logistics of their estate if they continue to ignore the possibility of their own mortality. Building wealth is important, and millennials are proving they understand that, but protecting it, is just as important, and deciding now, before it's too late, end-of-life plans that reflect their personal choices, is another step towards the financial responsibility they clearly possess.