As a data scientist and millennial woman, I take a keen interest in understanding the concerns, trends and behaviors of women in my generation. Fortunately, BlackRock’s latest Global Investor Pulse survey reveals key insights about how millennial women are approaching their financial lives in today’s environment.
Focused on the long term despite declining confidence
In this year’s survey, we saw a 10-point decline in confidence among all Americans compared to what we found in our previous survey. Millennial women’s confidence fell in line with the nation’s, from 42% in 2015 to 32% in 2017. Like most Americans, millennial women are chiefly concerned about the high cost of living (64%), and they are also particularly affected by personal debt.
That said, millennial women are more likely than any other group to prioritize paying off debt (54% versus 42% for all Americans) and more likely to see student debt as a relevant financial topic to them (40% versus 19% for all Americans). Although many grapple with debt and saving for near-term priorities, millennial women haven’t lost focus on their long-term financial goals. In fact, the most relevant financial topic to them is retirement planning.
Investing is for people like me
Despite their concerns, millennial women aren’t letting debt obligations or the high cost of living get in the way of investing for the future. Younger women identify with investing to a greater degree than before: 40% of millennial women agree that “investing is for people like me” compared with just 28% of women in the baby boom generation. In fact, millennial women are more likely than any other generation of women to consider investing more of their cash (54% versus 40% for all American women). As with all generations, understanding risk is a key element to helping them take the final step toward shifting their assets from cash to investments.
Planning for the future
Though they are taking positive steps to take control of their own financial futures, millennial women understand the pressures of living in a time of increasing longevity; 60% are concerned about outliving their savings in retirement and 54% feel they are under greater financial pressure to work longer than their parents did. Fortunately, the use of online tools to monitor retirement savings is gradually increasing among younger generations. About two-thirds of millennial women who use online tools to monitor their retirement savings have taken concrete steps to improve their retirement prospects.
Most millennial women who use online tools to monitor and manage their investments say the tools have made a difference (94%). Using technology to manage finances isn’t uniquely millennial behavior (see the chart below), but millennial women tend to realize the benefits of using online investment tools more than older generations.
All in all, this year’s survey shows us that millennial women are facing short- and long-term financial challenges with realism and proactive steps. Want to know what else we discovered? Learn more about how Americans are approaching their financial lives in our Global Investor Pulse survey.
Nina Duraiswami is a researcher on BlackRock’s Marketing Insights team. She contributed to this article.