Millennials All But Paralyzed By Money-Related Stress

When asked about barriers to investing, many admit they don’t know where to start

401k, retirement, financial stress, MillennialsWhat to do, what to do...

Finances are causing stress for many Americans, but Millennials might be freaking out most.

According to a recent study, far more Millennials (40 percent) point to money as a primary source of stress than those who blame work (18 percent), health (10 percent) and even politics (6 percent).

The survey, conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Wealthsimple, defined Millennials as men and women ages 21 to 37.

Among respondents, 92 percent in this age group say they are saving, and the vast majority are doing so in an employer-sponsored retirement plan.

In fact, only a little over a third (35 percent) invest outside of their 401k or similar workplace retirement plan.

A low figure compared to other age groups—around half of Gen Xers (ages 38 to 53) and Boomers (ages 54 to 72) invest elsewhere—the study delved into why that may be the case.

When asked about barriers to investing outside an employer-sponsored retirement plan, 30 percent of Millennials admit they don’t know where to start.

“Money and investing are the cause of so much anxiety for so many people, and as the results show, young people especially,” Michael Katchen, CEO and co-founder, Wealthsimple, said in a statement, adding that many avoid investing “because they feel intimidated by the investment process or don’t meet the high minimums a lot of advisors require.”

A further breakdown of the data reveals that Millennial women are even more stressed out than their male peers about finances. Almost half (47 percent) of females in this cohort cite money as the most stressful thing in their life; just 34 percent of Millennial men feel the same.

Perhaps as a result, perhaps coincidentally, Millennial women are investing outside of their 401k or other workplace retirement account to a lesser degree, as well. A little over a quarter (26 percent) have other investments compared to 43 percent of Millennial men.

“Our goal is to flip these statistics by empowering a new generation of investors to have candid conversations about money and feel confident they’re doing the right thing with their finances,” Katchen concluded.

And findings from the survey imply Millennials do, in fact, care about doing what’s “right.”

However, they just might be prioritizing social good over individual financial security (and inadvertently begging for professional financial guidance).

When thinking about investing, four in five Millennial respondents “say if they were going to select an investment portfolio, it would be important to them to know that the companies they are investing in are socially responsible prior to making their selection,” the report noted.

More specifically, Millennials cite renewable energy (44 percent), fair labor practices (41 percent), gender equality (36 percent) and poverty reduction (36 percent) as the most important issues they’d want companies they were investing in to support.

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