Are baby boomers self-absorbed?

Millennials are a more sharing and caring generation than baby boomers, according to a survey by global investment services company UBS.

UBS surveyed 3750 investors across 15 countries, including the US, the UK, Germany and Hong Kong, in May. The respondents comprised three age groups: 25 to 30-year-olds with at least $250,000 in investable assets, 31 to 39-year-olds with at least $500,000 in investable assets, and those aged 40 or older with at least $1 million in investable assets.

The younger investors were found to have borne the brunt of the financial impact of the pandemic. Nearly three-quarters said they were financially affected by the virus – compared with 66 per cent of baby boomers – and they rated concerns about job security, declining income and potentially delayed retirement more highly. But at the same time, 69 per cent of millennials said they were ‘highly interested’ in sustainable investing (defined by UBS as investment strategies that ‘aim to incorporate environmental, social and governance considerations into investment process and portfolio construction’) because of the pandemic, compared with less than half of baby boomers.

And 60 per cent of millennials said they wanted to get involved in philanthropy, compared with 35 per cent of boomers.

More than a third of millennials revealed they had increased their financial support of family members and friends during the pandemic, compared to just 17 per cent of boomers.

That sentiment was echoed in YourLifeChoices’ 2020 Life In A Post-Pandemic World survey, which received 4575 responses in just under thee weeks in May. Asked if they would consider using equity in their home to financially assist family members struggling as a result of COVID-19, 53 per cent said no, while another 24.5 per cent were unsure or said maybe.

Half of those surveyed by UBS said they were more aware of their retirement savings balance now than before the crisis, with 57 per cent saying they needed to review their investments.

UBS reports that seven in 10 respondents said they had been burnt by the virus, with 25 per cent rating the impact as ‘significant’. Eighty-one per cent feared a second market decline before COVID-19 was contained and just over half said they doubted whether they had enough cash to ride out a second wave infection.

A total of 67 per cent said the pandemic had changed how they think about their money, and 86 per cent said they wanted more guidance than usual from their financial advisers.

“As investors navigate the COVID-19 crisis, they are seeking the latest insights and more tailored advice on how to achieve their financial goals,” Tom Naratil, co-president of UBS Global Wealth Management, told Business Insider. “The pandemic is causing many of them to rethink how they will fund their liquidity, longevity and legacy needs.”

Amid the threats to their lives and livelihoods, most respondents reported they had rediscovered the joy of family, the importance of feeling safe and secure and the value of health.

“The pandemic and its aftermath inspired investors to focus on the things that truly matter to them: spending more time with family, protecting loved ones and safeguarding their health,” the survey report said. “What’s more, many investors expect to change fundamental ways of living – travelling less, working remotely, decamping to new locations.”

A heightened awareness of super was also a feature of a consumer survey by accounting firm KPMG. It found Australians were more engaged with their super than ever before. Half of respondents said they were more aware of their retirement savings balance now than before the crisis and 57 per cent said they needed to review their investments.

Are baby boomers a miserly lot compared with millennials?

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Written by Janelle Ward

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